Bitten blog so worth it if you don't know it already.
This is the one about the pot stickers, but I didn't include photo or the comments, which can sometimes be as good as the article. And the video link
is there, I think.
September 9, 2008, 2:11 PM
Pot-Stickers, Meet Swiss Chard
I doubt you will find a more lucid or enlightened discussion of making pot-stickers than this one provided by Ed. "MB
One recent weekend, Jackie had a yen for pot-sticker dumplings and for the pleasant repetitive task of wrapping them. Since I always have at least a latent yen for pot-stickers and don’t actually mind the job of making them, I signed up right away. What I would not sign up for, however, was leaving the house to go shopping, so for some ingredients we had to improvise. In the past we’d often made pork dumplings under the watchful eye of a Chinese friend who, besides being a wonderful cook, was a little skeptical about innovation. But now we were on our own and could go mildly crazy if we wanted to.
A fairly typical basic recipe for the filling might include pork, napa or other Chinese cabbage, scallion tops or garlic chives, ginger, Shaoxing wine (or sherry), soy sauce and sesame oil. Pork we had (nice fatty butt " a good cut for this as for so many other things in life). Likewise ginger, soy, sesame oil and sherry. But there was no napa, bok choi or anything else in the cabbage family. There were no garlic chives either. There was, however, some nice Swiss chard and a bunch of particularly fresh spring onions. Chard has nothing to do with cabbage " botanically, it is the same plant as beets, but bred for its leaves rather than its root " but on the “I say it’s spinach and I say the hell with it” theory, that’s what was going into these dumplings. Anyway, it’s a favorite of ours and it was bound to lend a likable if distinctive flavor to our filling. There were other things in the fridge too, and some of them seemed like good candidates.
Here’s what I came up with; these quantities made exactly three dozen dumplings, though I defy them to make such a round number the next time.
Dough (one of the world’s easiest both to make and to work with): put 2 cups flour into a food processor, set it spinning and pour in 1 cup boiling " yes, boiling " water. Run until it comes together. Knead into a ball and set aside, wrapped up, to cool.
Filling: a generous quarter pound of Swiss chard, finely chopped (I did all of the chopping in the food processor), then placed in a strainer, tossed with a teaspoon of salt and left to drain for ten or fifteen minutes (it will exude lots of green liquid). Three quarters of a pound of pork butt, finely chopped but not turned to a paste. Also finely chopped: six fresh shiitake mushrooms; the greens from half a bunch of spring onions or a whole bunch of scallions; 1 inch of ginger; a big handful of cilantro, both leaves and stems; and a small poblano chili (poblano was chosen for its good vegetable flavor " hand-chop this).
Squeeze the salted chard fairly dry and combine it with all the other ingredients, plus a tablespoon each sherry, soy sauce and sesame oil; one heaping tablespoon cornstarch; an egg white; salt and white pepper. Use your hands to make sure everything is thoroughly mixed. Sauté a little of the filling and taste it for seasoning. It will probably need more salt; most things do. Let the filling sit in the fridge, covered, for half an hour or so.
You can either get someone to teach you how to roll out the perfect wrapper with a doll-sized rolling pin, tapered edges and all, or you can use that hand-cranked pasta machine that you bought fifteen years ago, which is what I did, except that mine is twice that age. Breaking off handball sized pieces, roll the dough to the third-from-thinnest setting (at least that was the setting on my machine) and use a 3-1/2-inch cookie cutter to produce circles. This hot-water dough is very rollable (but not very stretchable), and scraps can be combined and re-rolled without getting strange, so there will be no waste.
Each dumpling will accommodate a tablespoonful of filling. Here is a YouTube video that shows a dead-simple method for a beautiful wrap yielding the requisite flattish bottom, though your wrappers should be a little thicker than those in the video, I wish we’d looked at it before we started. More complicated classic techniques are also scattered around YouTube, and indeed in cookbooks, so feel free to poke around if you want to make more work for yourself. Whatever wrap you use, note that this hot-water dough will stick to itself without being moistened " another advantage.
The way pot-stickers are cooked is one of history’s genius inventions, surely ranking with the steam engine or Velcro. To cook eighteen, put just two teaspoons of oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet that has a lid. Arrange the dumplings flat side down with the plump back of one overlapping the crimped edge of the next. Add about a quarter inch of water, cover the skillet and bring to the boil; now turn the heat to low. By the time the water has evaporated, about seven or eight minutes, the dumplings will have steamed to doneness, so you can remove the lid; the dumplings’ bottom surfaces will now commence to browning in their own fat and the little bit of oil. When they’re good and crunchy, remove from the skillet and serve browned side up, with a dipping sauce made of soy sauce, grated fresh ginger, sesame oil, chopped cilantro and a little balsamic or sherry vinegar (unless you happen upon a brand of Chinese black vinegar that doesn’t taste awful).
Even with all the Asian seasonings, you can still taste the Swiss chard. And you know what? It may just be an improvement over bok choi.