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The Daring Cooks’ Challenge: Gyoza aka Potstickers June 14, 2009

daring-bakersThis months Daring Cooks’ Challenge is brought to you by Jen from use real butter.  She chose Gyoza/Chinese Dumplings/Potstickers.  The rules for this challenge were that we had to make our own dough (no store bought wonton wrappers), make a filling, and chose a cooking method.  YAY!!!

I was so excited to make these because I love gyoza or whatever you want to call it and I have never made my own dough for them before.  For the filling I decided to stick with just the plain pork filling and for the cooking method I decided to do two: steaming and pan frying.  The dough was easy to make the only thing I needed to remember was to flour each round so that they don’t stick together.  I had this problem when I would roll/cut out all the rounds and stack them and when I started filling and I was on a roll 🙂 I would get to the bottom of the stack and the last 5 would be stuck to each other :/ Grrr

The filling  was very straight forward to make.  I didn’t really have a problem, but I need to work on my knife skills a little so that I can actually do a true mince.  I use to be able to do it awhile ago, back in college, but i have recent become a little rusty 🙂  I made the filling a day ahead so that when I was ready to eat some potstickers, it wouldn’t take so long.  I also made the dipping sauce ahead of time.  I used the recipe that Jen gave us then added a few drops of sesame oil and a teaspoon of chili sauce.  The sauce was perfect.

For the cooking method, I knew I wanted to steam most of them because it is less calories.  However, I wanted to try my hand at pan frying because I have tried before and they always stuck horribly.  This time they came out great, except for the fact that while I was putting them in the pan I  dipped my finger in the oil.

OUCH!!!

Then the steamed dumplings were ready to come out.  So as Dane Cook would say, “The steam made me angry.” 🙂 I am sure every line cook, chef, and home cook has experienced the burn yourself and then have to deal with steam.  It isn’t fun.  Especially if it is a fresh burn.   With a little help, I was able to finish cooking the dumplings.

The dumplings turned out great.  I loved the flavors and I thought they were a lot better than the local Chinese restaurant and Japanese restaurants.  I loved the thinness of the dough because some places the dough is crazy thick.  The recipe made a lot of filling so I decided to freeze half of the filling to use it at a later date.

Steamed Dumplings

Steamed Dumplings

Chinese Dumplings/Potstickers

pork filling:
1 lb (450g) ground pork
4 large napa cabbage leaves, minced
3 stalks green onions, minced
7 shitake mushrooms, minced (if dried – rehydrated and rinsed carefully)
1/2 cup (75g) bamboo shoots, minced
1/4 (55g) cup ginger root, minced
3 tbsp (40g) soy sauce
2 tbsp (28g) sesame oil
2 tbsp (16g) corn starch

OR

shrimp filling:
1/2 lb (225g) raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
1/2 lb (225g) ground pork
3 stalks green onions, minced
1/4 cup (55g) ginger root, minced
1 cup (142g) water chestnuts, minced
1 tsp (5g) salt
3 tbsp (40g) sesame oil
2 tbsp (16g) corn starch

Potstickers

Potstickers

dough: (double this for the amount of filling, but easier to make it in 2 batches – or just halve the filling recipe)
2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (113g) warm water
flour for worksurface

dipping sauce:
2 parts soy sauce
1 part vinegar (red wine or black)
a few drops of sesame oil
chili garlic paste (optional)
minced ginger (optional)
minced garlic (optional)
minced green onion (optional)
sugar (optional)

Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly (I mix by clean hand). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to a day, but preferably within an hour or two).

Make the dough, Method 1: Place the flour in the work bowl of a food processor with the dough blade. Run the processor and pour the warm water in until incorporated. Pour the contents into a sturdy bowl or onto a work surface and knead until uniform and smooth. The dough should be firm and silky to the touch and not sticky.[Note: it’s better to have a moist dough and have to incorporate more flour than to have a dry and pilling dough and have to incorporate more water).

Make the dough, Method 2 (my mom’s instructions): In a large bowl mix flour with 1/4 cup of water and stir until water is absorbed. Continue adding water one teaspoon at a time and mixing thoroughly until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. We want a firm dough that is barely sticky to the touch.

[EDIT: 5/26/09] There have been two complaints posted about a dry dough and I realize that this rests in the problem of measuring flour which has a different density and hence weight for 2 cups depending on how you scoop it. That is why I also list the weight: 250g. Flour tends to settle over time, so when I scoop it out, I shake several cups’ worth back into the container before taking a final scoop of soft, fluffy, flour and I get 250g for 2 cups. When you knead the dough, if it feels hard and dry, then you can add more water. [Warning: it will NOT be a soft bread dough, so don’t expect it to be, but it shouldn’t be a brick either.] It is perfectly fine to use more than the 1/2 cup listed in the recipe as everyone’s climate and flours vary. Use your judgment – this is what being a Daring Cook is about. We are trying to cultivate a sense of intuition so that recipes are general guidelines from which you can expand your own style.

Both dough methods: Knead the dough about twenty strokes then cover with a damp towel for 15 minutes. Take the dough and form a flattened dome. Cut into strips about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. Shape the strips into rounded long cylinders. On a floured surface, cut the strips into 3/4 inch pieces. Press palm down on each piece to form a flat circle (you can shape the corners in with your fingers). With a rolling pin, roll out a circular wrapper from each flat disc. Take care not to roll out too thin or the dumplings will break during cooking – about 1/16th inch. Leave the centers slightly thicker than the edges. Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper and fold the dough in half, pleating the edges along one side.  Keep all unused dough under damp cloth.

To boil: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add dumplings to pot. Boil the dumplings until they float.

To steam: Place dumplings on a single layer of napa cabbage leaves or on a well-greased surface in a steamer basket with lid. Steam covered for about 6 minutes.

To pan fry (potstickers): Place dumplings in a frying pan with 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil. Heat on high and fry for a few minutes until bottoms are golden. Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Cook until the water has boiled away and then uncover and reduce heat to medium or medium low. Let the dumplings cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat and serve.

To freeze: Assemble dumplings on a baking sheet so they are not touching. It helps to rub the base of the dumpling in a little flour before setting on the baking sheet for ease of release. Freeze for 20-30 minutes until dumplings are no longer soft. Place in ziploc bag and freeze for up to a couple of months. Prepare per the above instructions, but allow extra time to ensure the filling is thoroughly cooked.

To serve: Serve dumplings or potstickers hot with your choice of dipping sauce combinations.

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One Response to “The Daring Cooks’ Challenge: Gyoza aka Potstickers”

  1. Jen Yu Says:

    Beautiful! Very nicely executed and I’m sorry about your injuries. *sigh* Seems to be the requisite badge of honor – to get hurt during a Daring Bakers/Cooks challenge 🙂 More power to ya. Great job!


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