Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pot Stickers



Traditional pot stickers are basically a (round or square) wonton-type wrapper filled with a bit of stuffing and  folded into a half-moon shape, then steam-fried.  They are served as appetizers in most Asian restaurants and a few chains.  I love them so much that I have introduced all my clients to them.  They are now one of my most requested items.  In fact, one customer who claims not to like Asian food or spicy meals devoured an entire plateful and used the spicy peanut sauce as a dressing for his salad.

I find that most restaurant pot stickers are too heavy and greasy.  Making your own healthy version at home is quiet easy. The best part is that they freeze well so you can have healthy pot stickers whenever the craving strikes.

Earlier this week I made a batch for dinner and the rest are waiting for us in the freezer. I made these dumplings from leftover veggies I had in my crisper.  I had pre-shredded cabbage (from a cole-slaw recipe that I tested a while back), a couple of unhealthy looking scallions, a knob of ginger, wonton wrappers left over from "Nutella Wontons" that T loves.  I realized that it's not exactly a romantic way to bring a recipe together, but I'm a firm believer that the best meals are made from ingredients you already have. 

Ginger Chicken Wontons

Ingredients

3/4 cup green cabbage, shredded - you can use bagged angel hair cabbage or coleslaw mix
3-4 scallions, chopped
2  tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
1  tablespoon  low-sodium soy sauce
3  teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
2  teaspoons sesame oil
1/2  teaspoon salt
1/2  pound ground chicken (or pork)
Dash of chile paste with garlic (such as sambal oelek)
24  wonton wrappers
2  tablespoons  cornstarch
1  tablespoon canola or grape seed oil, divided
1  cup  water, divided

Method

In a medium bowl, combine the first 8 ingredients.


 Working with 1 wonton wrapper at a time (cover remaining wrappers with a damp towel to prevent drying), spoon about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the mixture into center of each wrapper.



 Moisten edges of dough with water; bring 2 opposite corners to center, pinching points to seal.


Bring remaining 2 corners to center, pinching points to seal.



Pinch 4 edges together to seal. Place pot stickers on a large baking sheet or cutting board sprinkled with cornstarch.



Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 12 pot stickers to pan; cook 2 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Slowly add 1/2 cup water to pan; cover and cook 4 minutes. Uncover and cook 3 minutes or until liquid evaporates.  If you are cooking the entire batch, then you will need to repeat this step to cook the remaining pot stickers.


There are two basic dipping sauces that I use for these stickers.  I prefer the spicy one, but the other is great if you are serving a large crowd with varied tastes.

Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

1/4  cup water
1/4  cup peanut butter
2  tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (creamy or crunchy)
1/2  tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 1/2  tablespoons chile paste with garlic (such as sambal oelek)
1/2  teaspoon  sugar

In a jar with a tight fitting lid, place all you ingredients and shake vigorously.  Pour into a small bowl.  Garnish with chopped green onions, if desired.

 Sesame Soy Dipping Sauce
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 scallions (white and tender green parts), thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, oil, vinegar, ginger, garlic, and scallions, whisk to blend. This sauce can be made ahead of time.  Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.  Stir in the sesame seeds before serving.

**Cooking Tip: To freeze pot stickers- place them on a large baking sheet or cutting board sprinkled with cornstarch.  Place the entire sheet into the freezer so the pot stickers freeze individually.  After an hour or so you can place them in a large zip top bag and freeze up to three months.

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