17 Jan 2013

Potstickers - Pan Fried Dumpling

Dumplings, crunchy golden bottomed, juicy cute little parcels of joy.
I didn't know what crossed my mind when I decided I wanted to make dumplings from scratch when there's an abundance quantity of frozen dumplings in the freezer section of every supermarkets and Asian stores across Melbourne.

Maybe it was because of the heat, that my brain wasn't functioning well at that time.
Or maybe I just needed something to get my mind out of the self-doubting, manipulative thoughts of my dim and uncertain future when I finish my study this June.
Yup, yup. Probably the second one.
Or maybe a mix of both.

So yeah, Pinka and I went to an Asian grocery store in Victoria Market and got all the ingredients for our dumplings (I suppose also known as potstickers to my American friends). 
Had an bit of an argument with her on some aspects of the recipe.
What kind of meat are we going to use? What other ingredients to put in the filling?
Which wrappers is the right one? Gyoza or wonton?
In the end, we used mince beef with some tofu for the filling.
Which is nice, but will be A LOT better if we use pork instead *teampork

I used HoneysuckleCatering's Potstickers recipe with some adjusments. The original recipe is very simple and easy. Except for the folding part but that's mostly because I have a really bad origami skill.
Infact, I screwed the first 10 or 15 dumplings and made them look all wrinkly, unevenly filled and crocked. Not to worry though, I got a lot better afterwards. Thanks to Pinka who was patient enough to teach and guide these short stubby fingers of mine.

Pan Fried Dumplings / Potstickers with Beef and Tofu Filling
(makes around 78 pieces)

Ingredients (filling):

  • 500 gr mince beef 
  • 1/4 wombok / napa cabbage, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 thumb-sized ginger, finely minced
  • 1 medium shallot, finely minced
  • 1/2 packaged firm tofu, drained well and mashed 
  • 2 tbsp chinese cooking wine
  • 1 1/2 sesame oil
  • 2 1/2 soy sauce
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 1 package of round wonton/gyoza wrappers
  • water (for frying + for glue)
  • vegetable oil (for frying)
1. In a big bowl, mix all the filling ingredients together. Use hands for easier mixing process. Heat up a little bit of oil on a pan and cook a few small dollops of the filling mixture to check on the seasoning, adjust according to your taste. 
2. When the seasoning's perfect, prepare some water in a small bowl/glass, and a big tray/plate and it's time to assemble the dumplings!
3. Take a wrapper, and fill it with about a teaspoon of the filling mixture. Put the mixture in the middle of the wrapper. Dip your finger in the water and lightly brush the edge of the wrappers, fold it in half, press it so it's completely closed and then create the creases (watch Honeysuckles's video for demonstration)
Repeat the process until there's no more filling mixture left.
4. To cook the dumplings, pour about 1/4 cup of water & a teaspoon of vegetable oil into a non-stick frying pan and arrange the dumplings on the pan. give them some space so they don't stick to each other. Put the pan on medium heat with the lid on for 3 minutes to steam the dumplings. 
After 3 minutes, take off the lid and let the water evaporates and the dumpling will be fried with the leftover oil on the pan. Fry it until the bottom is golden brown (Pinka likes the dumplings to be more crunchy so we fry it for a little longer and occasionally flipping the dumplings to get the other sides fried too).

This is such a labor intensive cooking experience!
Pinka and I sat on the table for a good hour or so, talking and gossiping while our hands are busy folding all the dumplings until we ran out of the filling. 
By the end of "dumpling-origami-session", we were so hungry we ate 20 dumplings! 
We still got heaps of leftover dumplings and they freezes well for later use.

army of fresh dumplings!
When I got more time (and of course, effort), I will try to make the wrappers by myself.
My friend at work, who's a really good cook said they're very easy to make. She always makes her own wrappers whenever she's making dumplings. 
But until next time, storebought wrappers wont bother me that much. 
And next time, I'll make sure it's pork. 

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