I meant to take a picture of these...honest. They just disappeared too fast.
After making potstickers all the time awhile back I had gone into a drought. All that changed when I was on my Asian kick this week. What can I say? I was inspired. On Monday, after meeting a friend at the park and some "pay by the ounce" frozen yogurt (ohhh...these places are genius! love, love, love it!), we were in the neighborhood of "H Mart," an Asian superstore. You need dried octopus? They have it. Durian fruit? Have that, too! How about a rice cooker, a kimono or a 50 pound bag of rice? Check. Check and check (BTW, we didn't need any of those things, nor did we buy them...things with lots of legs kind of make me a bit squeamish).
What I did pick up, however, was a couple of packages of dumpling wrappers. And while I was in the checkout, an Asian woman eyed me curiously asking what I was planning to do with those. I told her "make potstickers," and she seemed really surprised. What proceeded was a bit of an inquiry on how I make them. After she found out I was legit (I was taught by my dear former neighbor, YaLi, who came from the Szechuan province of China), she was very sweet and told me some of her secrets (she likes to crumble tofu in with ground beef to stretch the filling).
Anyway, for small group on Thursday, I made more spring rolls and potstickers. The beauty of these things is that you really can put just about anything you have on hand into them. Also, I will assure you, (despite what Mystery Asian Woman at H Mart may have had you believe) potstickers are incredibly simple to make! Pick up a couple packages of the wrappers to keep in the freezer and you'll be ready for your very own party, too!
makes about 30
1 lb. ground meat (I usually use chicken, but substitute turkey, pork or beef as desired)
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped green onion
1/2 cup finely chopped green leafy vegetable (bok choi, romaine lettuce, coleslaw mix, etc.)
1 16 oz. package of circular dumpling wrappers (found in refrigerated produce section)
vegetable oil for pan frying
In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients except wrappers and oil until thoroughly combined. To fill, take wrapper and place a scant teaspoon full of filling in the center. Then, brush water on the edge around half of the wrapper. Then, fold wrapper in half and press to seal. You can also fold in a decorative pattern by making pleats in top half of wrapper and pressing to seal. Once dumplings are filled, place in a single layer in a wide shallow pan (nonstick is nice!) that is coated with a couple Tablespoons of vegetable oil and is on highest heat. Pour 1 1/2 cups warm water over dumplings (be careful of spatters) and cover pan. Let cook covered on high for about 10 minutes or until water is just about evaporated. Then, remove lid and lift dumplings with a spatula to prevent sticking. Continue to cook over high heat until bottom of dumplings are crispy brown. De-glaze pan and wipe out before starting next batch. Continue to cook in batches until all are cooked. Serve immediately, crispy side up, with favorite Asian dipping sauce (traditional is mix of soy sauce, vinegar and chili to taste).
If you are unable to find dumpling wrappers, you can substitute the more commonly found wonton wrappers. I find I like to paste two wonton wrappers together by brushing with water and pressing to seal to equal thickness of dumpling wrappers. Then, just fold in half on the diagonal to form triangles as opposed to half-moons.
An easy way variation on cooking the potstickers (less traditional, more foolproof!), bring a large pot of water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook dumplings in simmering water in batches, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom for about 8-10 minutes (the dumplings will float). Then remove, drain well and brown in an oil coated skillet for a couple minutes on one side until crispy.