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Monday, April 2, 2012

Pork Pot-stickers

I don't really have a lot of experience cooking Asian cuisine.  Oh, I've made the occasional stir-fry, and I've flavoured some dishes with such staples as ginger and lemongrass, but I don't really do it all that often.

For some reason, I got excited to make some pork pot-stickers though, when I saw a recipe for them.  It looked fun... particularly the homemade dough part.

So, I gave it a try... despite absolutely loathing cabbage.

The dough was really simple.  2 parts flour to 1 part water.  Nothing else.

Mix, knead for a few minutes, and then let rest for a while.

The 'filling' was also pretty darned easy.

I drained, and dried, some shredded cabbage, and finely chopped some garlic and green onions.

Then I mixed it into a whole package of ground pork, and added about a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of pepper, a dash of ginger, a drop of sesame oil (don't need much of this fragrant stuff), a splash of wine (white wine would be best, and although I had some white cooking wine on-hand, I chose to throw in a splash of the pale rosĂ© I was drinking at the time) and a spoonful of cornstarch to hold the whole thing together.

Once the filling was ready, I formed the dough into a long roll, and sliced it into tiny pieces no more than 1/2 inch thick.

Now is when this dish started to become a little bothersome.  Not difficult, mind you, just tedious and time-consuming.  I rolled out each little piece of dough into a flat square, circle, or miscellaneous polygon, and placed roughly a tablespoon of filling inside.  It took me a few minutes to get a decently good-looking dumpling "look" to them, which basically just involved some creative folds and pinches.

After assembling a bunch of these babies, I heated up my medium skillet (wok would do if I had one) to medium-high, and with a small spoonful of vegetable oil, I placed them in batches of about 6 to 8, uniformly-distanced, and fried them for about 3 or 4 minutes.  Basically until the bottoms become golden brown.

Once they are browned, flip them over on to their 'tops', and carefully add about a cup of water.  Quickly cover and effectively steam or poach them for another 8-10 minutes.


Doing these in batches took me close to an hour... not just the cooking times, but the rolling-out of the dough.  I might try using won ton wrappers some time, but I think the homemade dough makes a difference.

So, while doing that, I whipped up a dipping sauce.

About a cup of soy sauce, a teaspoon of sesame oil, and then a handful of green onion tops, some dried chili seeds, and a dash of sesame seeds.

It worked out very nicely, and went extremely well with the pot-stickers!

I also baked some fresh green beans (just for about 15 minutes on a baking sheet, in a small coating of sesame oil) which were also perfect for dipping in this soy sauce.

All told, this was an effective, if time-consuming, foray into some pot-sticking fun.  Although I detest cabbage, and its permeating smell, the cabbage in these was almost unnoticed, and certainly palatable. 

The only issue was that I made *quite* a few too many.  They should do fine as left-overs, however, so I'm not worried.

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