On a whim, I decided that potstickers would be a great thing to make for dinner last night. Of course I’ve never made them before, but thinking about potstickers makes me really, really want to eat them, so I found a few recipes and ran out to get the ingredients. None of the recipes I found appealed to me in particular, so I made up my own filling recipe and used the recipes as templates for potsticker technique. I of course wanted the traditional pork filling, but I couldn’t possibly allow myself to only eat pork for dinner, so I included quite a few veggies to balance out the meal.
Now, you can’t have potstickers without a side of sticky rice. This is fortunately very easy to make:
Put 2 cups of long grain white rice in a sieve and rinse the rice until the runoff is mostly clear. This step washes away the starchy residue that usually gelatinizes and keeps grains of rice gooey and separated.
Pour the rice into a sauce pan with 3 cups of water and a dash of salt or- my secret- two bouillon cubes. Bring the water to a boil, not stirring, until the water level sinks below the level of the rice. You’ll see holes in the surface of the rice where water was bubbling through. Without stirring, cover the pot and turn the heat to low for about 15 minutes or until the rice is just tender. That’s it! There will be a slightly burnt layer at the bottom of the pan, but I think that’s the best part.
This technique works surprisingly well with brown rice as well, but it may require more time and/or more liquid. To speed up cooking, soak the brown rice in water for about half an hour before the rinsing step.
For the bulk of the filling, I used ground pork (about 1 lb), frozen spinach (8-10 oz), and baby portabello mushrooms (1 pack).
I also used 4 cloves of garlic, about 1/2 inch of fresh ginger, a handful of scallions, parsley, and basil, all chopped fine.
I began by sauteing the scallions and garlic in canola oil. Chop the mushrooms up into teeny tiny pieces (they don’t have to be even- just hack at the slices until the pieces are tiny) and add to the pan. Toss in some soy sauce and salt and saute on high-ish until the mushroom pieces have given up most of their water and it boils off. Meanwhile, chop the frozen spinach (trust me, it’s easier while it’s frozen) into small pieces, then microwave until more or less thawed, add to a sieve, and squeeze until the water is drained. This is easier with a spatula than with your hand because the spinach is hot. (You could use the traditional cabbage and carrots, but ew, or you could go crazy and use whatever veggies you’d like as long as the water is drained off before adding to the dumplings.) Add the spinach to the mushrooms with a bit more soy sauce and salt and saute until the mixture is fairly dry. You’ll see at this point that what started out as about 10 cups of vegetables is now about 2 (but most of the nutrients are still there!).
Add the ginger and herbs and stir to heat through. Remove to a plate.
Next, cook the pork (in the same pan) with the seasonings of your choice. The most complicated thing about making potstickers is getting the seasoning right. Fortunately, I already had all of these ingredients from other things I’ve made recently, but you can add and subtract herbs and spices according to what you like and have. In order from most to least, this is what I used to season the meat:
- Low sodium soy sauce
- Hoisin sauce
Now, this looks like a ton of filling, but dumpling wrappers usually come in packs of 50 and they freeze fantastically in ziploc bags, so make a lot and save them for later. At some point during prep, you’ll want to spread out all the wrappers on a flat surface. Mine came frozen and were defrosting too slowly for my taste, so I microwaved them, wrapped in a damp paper towel, for 10 seconds at a time until they peeled apart easily. After spreading them out, place damp paper towels on top of them until you are ready to fill them. You could also use wonton wrappers, but these seemed more appropriate.
Mix together 1 T cornstarch with 1/2 c warm water. Use your fingers or a pastry brush to brush half of each wrapper (I do about 6 at a time to prevent them from drying up) with the mixture. Add 2 teaspoons or so of the filling to the center of each wrapper. (The Harpoon IPA is unnecessary but recommended.)
Fold the wrapper in half around the filling and pinch the edges together. The cool little folds aren’t technically necessary, but they do help the edges seal and they just look really cute.
Heat a few tablespoons of oil over high heat in a saute pan, preferably one with high sides to prevent splashing. While the oil is heating, mix 1 T soy sauce with 1 T rice wine vinegar and a dash of chopped scallions for each person eating. I served this dipping sauce in cute little mise en place bowls, but that’s not really necessary.
Serve with a side of rice and the dipping sauce- Yum!!
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- Handful of scallions, minced
- 10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
- 1/2 inch of fresh ginger, minced
- Parsley, and basil, chopped fine
- 8 oz portabello mushrooms, minced fine
- 1 lb ground pork
- Low sodium soy sauce, sriracha, hoisin sauce, salt, pepper, to taste
- 1 package dumpling wrappers (about 50 wrappers)
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch with 1/2 cup warm water for brushing
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce with 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar and a dash of chopped scallions (per person)
- Saute the scallions and garlic in canola oil. Add the mushrooms and a splash of soy sauce and saute until dehydrated. Add the drained spinach to the mushrooms with a bit more soy sauce and salt and saute until the mixture is fairly dry.
- Add the ginger and herbs and stir to heat through. Remove to a plate.
- Next, cook the pork (in the same pan) with the soy sauce, sriracha, hoisin sauce, salt, pepper, to taste.
- Cook the pork until just barely cooked through, stirring often to break up the meat into very fine pieces. Add the vegetables back in and stir.
- Spread out all the wrappers on a flat surface. After spreading them out, place damp paper towels on top of them until you are ready to fill them.
- Mix together 1 T cornstarch with 1/2 c warm water. Use your fingers or a pastry brush to brush half of each wrapper with the mixture. Add 2 teaspoons or so of the filling to the center of each wrapper.
- Fold the wrapper in half around the filling and pinch the edges together.
- Heat canola oil over high heat in a saute pan, preferably one with high sides to prevent splashing.
- While the oil is heating, make the dipping sauces.
- When the oil is hot, add dumplings to the pan in a single, spaced out layer. Allow to fry until light brown (1-2 minutes), then flip and repeat until all sides are browned.