Japanese Pork and Shrimp Pot Stickers Recipe
Reprinted with permission from Asian Dumplings: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More by Andrea Nguyen, copyright © 2009. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Photo credit: Penny De Los Santos © 2009
Makes 32 dumplings, serving 4 as a main course, 6 to 8 as a snack or starter
2 cups lightly packed, finely chopped napa cabbage, cut from whole leaves (about 7 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced and crushed into a paste
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, or 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons chopped Chinese chives or scallions (white and green parts)
6 ounces ground pork, fattier kind preferred, coarsely chopped to loosen
1/3 pound medium shrimp, shelled, deveined, and chopped (41/2 ounces net weight)
Scant 1/4 teaspoon sugar
Generous 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
11/2 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce or light (regular) soy sauce
1 tablespoon sake
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 pound Basic Dumpling Dough (page 22)
Canola oil or sesame oil or a combination of both, for panfrying
5 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce or light (regular) soy sauce
21/2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chile oil (page 216) (optional)
Japanese hot mustard (see Note)
1. To make the filling, in a large bowl, toss the cabbage with the 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside for about 15 minutes to draw excess moisture from the cabbage. Drain in a fine-mesh strainer (the cabbage may fall through the large holes of a colander), rinse with water, and drain again. To remove more moisture, squeeze the cabbage in your hands over the sink, or put into a cotton (not terry cloth) kitchen towel and wring out the moisture over the sink. You should have about 1/2 cup firmly packed cabbage.
2. Transfer the cabbage to a bowl and add the garlic, ginger, Chinese chives, pork, and shrimp. Stir and lightly mash the ingredients so that they start coming together.
3. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, the sugar, pepper, soy sauce, sake, and sesame oil. Pour these seasonings over the meat and cabbage mixture, and then stir and fold the ingredients together. Once you have broken up the large chunks of pork so none are visible, briskly stir to blend the ingredients into a cohesive, thick mixture. To develop the flavors, cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes. You should have about 2 cups of filling. (The filling can be prepared 1 day ahead and refrigerated. Bring it to room temperature before assembling the dumplings.)
4. Meanwhile, form 16 wrappers from half of the dough. Aim for wrappers that are about 31/4 inches in diameter (see page 24).
5. Before assembling the dumplings, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (If you plan to refrigerate the dumplings for several hours, or freeze them, lightly dust the paper with flour to avoid sticking.) For each dumpling, hold a wrapper in a slightly cupped hand. Scoop up about 1 tablespoon of filling with a bamboo dumpling spatula, dinner knife, or fork and position it slightly off-center toward the upper half of the wrapper, pressing and shaping it into a flat mound and keeping about 1/2 to 3/4 inch of wrapper clear on all sides. Fold, pleat, and press to enclose the filling and create a half-moon, pea pod, or pleated crescent shape (see pages 26 to 29 for instructions). Place the finished dumpling on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining wrappers, spacing them a good 1/2 inch apart. Keep the finished dumplings covered with a dry kitchen towel as you make wrappers with the remaining dough and fill with the remaining filling.
6. Once all the dumplings are assembled, they can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for several hours; they can be cooked straight from the refrigerator. For longer storage, freeze them on their tray until hard (about 1 hour), transfer them to a zip-top freezer bag, seal well, and keep them frozen for up to 1 month; partially thaw, using your finger to smooth over any cracks that may have formed during freezing, before cooking.
7. To panfry the dumplings, use a medium or large nonstick skillet; if both sizes are handy, cook two batches at the same time. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat and add 11/2 tablespoons canola oil for a medium skillet and 2 tablespoons for a large one. (If you are combining oils, use 2 parts canola oil and 1 part sesame oil.) Add the dumplings one at a time, placing them sealed edges up in a winding circle pattern or several straight rows. The dumplings may touch. (In general, medium skillets will fit 12 to 14 dumplings, large skillets will fit 16 to 18 dumplings.) Fry the dumplings for 1 to 2 minutes, until they’re golden or light brown at the bottom.
8. Holding the lid close to the skillet to lessen the dramatic effect of water hitting hot oil, use a kettle or measuring cup to add water to a depth of about 1/4 inch; expect to use about 1/3 cup water for each skillet. The water will immediately sputter and boil vigorously.
Cover each skillet with a lid or aluminum foil, lower the heat to medium, and let the water bubble away until it is mostly gone, 8 to 10 minutes. After 6 to 8 minutes, move the lid or foil so that it is slightly ajar to allow steam to shoot out from underneath. This lessens the drama of condensation dripping down onto the hot oil when you remove the lid.
9. While the dumplings cook, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, and chile oil in a small bowl to create a dipping sauce. Taste and make any flavor adjustments.
10. When the bubbling noise in the skillet turns into a gentle frying sound (a sign that most of the water is gone), remove the lid. Allow the dumplings to fry for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until the bottoms are brown and crisp. Turn off the heat and wait until the sizzling stops before transferring the dumplings to a serving plate, using a spatula to lift up a few of them at a time. Display them with their bottoms up so that they remain crisp.
11. Serve immediately with the dipping sauce in a communal bowl for people to help themselves or divided up among individual rice bowls or large dipping bowls. Pass the mustard at the table. Eat these with chopsticks in one hand and a spoon or rice bowl in the other.
Note: Punchy Japanese mustard (karashi) is sold in prepared and powdered forms at Japanese and sometimes Chinese markets. Chinese hot mustard and Colman’s English mustard are fine substitutes. When using powdered mustard, add a few drops of cold water and stir to make a thick, smooth paste.
variation: gyo¯za in smoky chicken soup
Instead of panfrying these dumplings, poach and serve them in smoky chicken broth for satisfying sui gyōza (Japanese dumplings in soup).
In a large pot, combine 4 cups of chicken stock (page 222), 1 tablespoon of sake, and 2 pieces of kombu (dried Japanese kelp), each the size of a playing card. Let the kombu soak for 15 minutes to develop flavor, then bring to
a simmer, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and scatter in 1/ 2 loosely packed cup of katsuo-bushi (Japanese dried bonito flakes, available along with the kombu at Asian markets and specialty grocers). Let sit for 3 to 4 minutes, then strain through a mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth or paper towel; save the kombu for another use, if you wish. Transfer the stock to a pot, cover, and reheat to a low simmer.
Parboil 16 uncooked gyōza dumplings in a large pot of water (see Pork and Napa Cabbage Water Dumplings, step 7, for guidance), until they float to the top, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cut 11/ 2 to 2 inches of carrot into fine shreds and set aside. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to scoop up dumplings from the pot, then add them to the hot stock; keep the water boiling. Add the carrot to the stock, and adjust the heat to maintain a simmer and finish cooking the dumplings, about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, wilt 2 lightly packed cups
of spinach leaves in the boiling water. Drain the spinach, rinse with cold water, and drain again. Divide among 4 individual bowls.
When the dumplings are puffy, glossy, and a bit translucent, scoop them from the stock and divide among the soup bowls. Taste and add salt as needed, then bring the stock to a boil. Ladle the stock and carrot into the bowls. Serve immediately.