I've been thinking about starting another blog about experimenting with making foods you usually buy, for all my bread and sausage and also otherwise non-whole meal recipes... But considering I can barely find the time for this one, I'll just post those recipes here. Documented experiment, the first: potstickers!
I just had a hankering. I'm sure everyone's bought a bag of frozen MSG-coated potstickers from the grocery store at one time or another, and they do cure a craving, but I always wonder what's actually inside the ground mystery centers. Pig tails? Chicken feet? (My mother's mouth is watering somewhere). Yeah... gross.
These are crazy easy. I made a huge platter of them and as he sat down, Allan said "Woah, there is no way I'm going to be able to eat all of these." Less than 10 minutes later, nary a potsticker remained. The ones I didn't cook I just froze standing up on a baking sheet, slipped into a Zip-loc and threw back in the freezer.
Obviously, you can customize these any hundreds of ways. I used this recipe as a jumping-off point for the postickers, and Ming Tsai's dim sum dipper for sauce.
~1/2 lb of ground chicken
~8 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed in warm water and then squeezed completely dry
1 bunch scallions, sliced thinly
handful of cilantro, minced (these are the green flecks all over my pretty potstickers above)
thumb sized piece of ginger, minced or microplaned
2 cloves garlic, minced or microplaned
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp chili-garlic sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
zest of one lemon
potsticker wrappers (I found them in the frozen section with the wonton and eggroll skins)
1 egg, beaten with a little water
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp chili-garlic sauce
drizzle of sesame oil
Combine all of the ingredients for the filling in a bowl. Season with a little kosher salt (not too much, since the soy sauce has plenty) and freshly ground black pepper.
Flop out one of the potsticker wrappers on your board. Put about a tablespoon of your filling in the center. Dip a finger into your egg wash and trace it around the perimeter of the wrapper. Fold it in half, pinching the sides together to seal into a half-moon shape and bending the edges into wavy little fans. It took me a while to get the hang of it but by the end I was cranking these suckers out pretty fast. Freeze whatever you don't plan on cooking by the method I mentioned above.
Pour a little oil into a pan and when it's hot, fry your potstickers in it standing-up. Because I'm a fraidy cat who had just watched the "Mythbusters" where they generated a 30 foot fireball from a grease fire, I just let them brown on the bottoms for 6 or 7 minutes and then instead of pouring water into the skillet and applying a lid (as would be traditional), I loaded them into my bamboo steamer and steamed them for 10 minutes. I think if you use very little oil it should be fine, that's the method by which you get them to "stick" to the "pot". At any rate, I'll probably continue doing it this way because I like my bamboo steamer and will always be a fraidy cat when it comes to pouring liquid into hot skillets. While they're steaming, stir together your dipping sauce. Load onto a platter and consume!
Takes under an hour, makes about 24 potstickers.