Last summer we had a 14 year old Chinese exchange student (Ying Hong) staying with our family for a few weeks. One night we made a Chinese dinner together. She made most of the dishes, and they were delicious...nothing like you'd order from an American Chinese restaurant. We also invited two Chinese college students to the dinner. MY contribution to the dinner was Potstickers, which were just as popular as the dishes Ying Hong made.
When I make these, I usually make a couple recipes and freeze them. If you flash freeze them they won't stick together when you take them out of the freezer. It makes it really easy to cook up a small amount, saving the rest for later. To flash freeze, place a single layer of uncooked dumplings (potstickers) on a jelly roll pan. Freeze them until hard, and then transfer to a freezer bag.
(San Francisco A La Carte)
2 packages (100 total) round potsticker wrappers
Core and chop finely:
1 pound Chinese cabbage*
Sprinkle over cabbage:
2 t salt (Let this sit out for one hour, then press through a strainer to drain any extra water.)
Let the cabbage sit for one hour. Place it in a strainer, and press out the water. (Hands work best for this.)
Mix together and set aside:
1 ½ pounds ground pork
3/8 C soy sauce
6 green onions, minced
1 TB sesame oil
2 TB peanut oil
½ tsp fresh grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
When the cabbage is ready, add it to the mixture above.
To assemble: Fill a small bowl with water. Place a potsticker wrapper on your work surface. Place about 1 tsp of the filling in the center of the wrapper. Dip your (clean!) finger in the water, and run it along the edges of the wrapper. Fold in half, and pinch it closed. Make sure you don't leave any little spaces for the filling to escape. Keep going until all of the meat mixture has been used. (You can freeze any left-over wrappers.)
Heat in a skillet:
2 TB peanut oil**
Line up the potstickers around the edge of the pan, with the seam side up. Saute them for about 2-3 minutes (medium heat), keeping them from burning.***
Add to the pan:
1/2 C water
Cover the pan, and let them steam for about 20 minutes.
Serve hot with Potsticker Sauce.
*I've used "regular" cabbage in a pinch, when I couldn't find Chinese cabbage. It works just fine!
**I do recommend using peanut oil instead of canola (which I usually use for things like this) as it has a much higher burning point....meaning you can cook with it at higher temperatures than other oils. Our sautee pan was splattering because it was so hot! I wanted to turn it down, but Ying Hong said that's how it was supposed to be done.
***Instead of sauteeing/steaming them like the recipe called for, Ying Hong told me to steam them first (she boiled them until they were firm, but done) and then sautee them. She said you could eat them steamed or sauteed. Just don't steam them so long that they break apart and lose the filling.
Now for the sauce. My favorite potsticker sauce came from a Chinese restaurant in Bloomington, Indiana. Since then, I haven't found anything close that I like. Until, I combined a couple recipes to come up with this unique recipe:
In a small bowl, microwave for 30 seconds:
1/4 C jalapeno jelly (Safeway sells this in a gourmet jelly display)
2 TB soy sauce
2 TB water
½ tsp rice vinegar
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
This recipe is a sweet Asian dipping sauce with a spicy kick!