February 3rd is the start of the new Chinese New Year - The Year of the Rabbit! Being housebound in a snowstorm, as many others were yesterday, dinner was a matter of food on hand. Knowing it was the Lunar New Year, I had recently seen many Asian-inpired recipes and had decided to try making Chinese dumplings for the first time. I didn't have wonton or dumpling wrappers so took to the internet to find out how to make them myself.
Many sites and videos later, I had a plan. I found they were very similar to making gnocchi only rolled into discs! I used the dough recipe I found at Use Real Butter and mixed the dough in my food processor. I rolled the dough with both a regular rolling pin and my chinois strainer paddle (for the finer work of thinning the edges). Here's a good video on how to cut and roll the dough. Click here for a tutorial on folding a pleated Chinese Dumpling. I actually found the process fun and relaxing but next time I make potstickers I'm sure I'll buy dumpling wrappers to save time.
I also didn't have ground pork in the house, which many potsticker recipes call for, so I substituted some chicken thighs that I had in the freezer which I minced in the food processor. I would definitely use chicken thighs again, as they tasted great!.
One tip that I learned, is that you have to get as much moisture out of the vegetables so that the pot stickers won't be soggy. I sprinkled the cabbage and carrots with a little salt and let them to rest for about 10 minutes to draw out the moisture. I then used my potato ricer, to squeeze out the excess moisture from the vegetables.
Tonight, my husband and I enjoyed delicious pot stickers with soy dipping sauce as we looked out on cold snow. We both thoroughly enjoyed them!
Do you want to find out what your Chinese Zodiac sign is? Look here.
Potstickers with Ground ChickenAdapted from Use Real Butter and Mijo Recipes
1/2 pound ground chicken thigh meat (the meat of two large thighs, cut into large chunks and minced in a food processor)
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated (I always keep frozen ginger root on hand)
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 dried shiitaki mushrooms, rehydrated for 30 minutes and chopped
2 tablespoons green onions, chopped
1 medium carrot, grated
1 cup Napa or Savoy cabbage, sliced thin
2 teaspoons cornstarch
24 round dumpling wrappers
Place the thinly sliced cabbage and grated carrots in a small bowl. Sprinkle with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and toss. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Squeeze dry with a potato ricer or in a piece of cheesecloth or muslin. Place all of the filling ingredients into a large bowl and stir until well blended. Place in refrigerator until ready to stuff dumplings. (See the recipe for Homemade Dumpling Wrappers below for directions on filling dumplings.) For a tutorial on how to pleat Chinese dumplings look here.*
Heat a frying pan with 2-3 tablespoons of canola oil over medium-high heat. Place the dumplings with pleated side up into the frying pan and fry for a few minutes or until the bottoms are golden rotating the fry pan several times. When the bottoms are golden, add 1/2 cup water and cover the pan. Cook until the water has boiled away and then uncover . Reduce the heat to medium low and let the dumplings cook for another 2 minutes. Serve with dipping sauce.
The uncooked dumplings can frozen for 1-2 months. Place on a baking sheet making sure they do not touch and freeze for about 1 hour. Remove and place in zipper bags and return to freezer. Prepare per the above instructions, but allow extra time to ensure the filling is thoroughly cooked or make sure they are thoroughly defrosted before cooking.
Dipping Sauce for Two
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup rice wine vinegar (or red wine or black)
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 small clove minced garlic
1 minced green onion
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Stir until blended and serve with hot dumplings.
Recipe for Homemade Dumpling Wrappers
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup warm water
Place the flour in the work bowl of a food processor with the dough blade. Turn on the processor and pour the warm water in the feed tube until incorporated (it should pull away from the sides of the bowl. Pour the contents onto a work surface and knead until uniform and smooth. The dough should be firm and silky and not sticky but it’s better to have a moist dough and incorporate more flour than have to incorporate more water.
Knead the dough about twenty times then cover with a damp towel for 15 minutes to rest. Flattened the dough and cut into strips about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide.
Shape the strips into rounded long cylinders. On a floured surface, cut the strips into 3/4 inch pieces. Press palm down on each piece to form a flat circle With a rolling pin, roll out a flat disc. Take care not to roll out too thin or the dumplings will break. Leave the centers slightly thicker than the edges. Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper and fold the dough in half, pleating the edges along one side and press together. Here's a good video on how to cut and roll the dough. Click here for a tutorial on folding a pleated Chinese Dumpling.