Monday, April 22, 2013

Vegetable pot stickers

Vegetable pot stickers, originally uploaded by riptideredsf.
This was a first for the little kitchen: Pot stickahzzz!  I spent the entire afternoon making pot stickers.  Why? when my favorite Asian market, New May Wah sells a ginormous bag of 'em for something ridiculous, like 8.99, and Trader Joes are pretty darned good too. I loves to have them in freezer for those nights when I'm just too worn out to make anything and too broke to go out. Pull the bag out of the freezer and toss a handful into hot skillet with some peanut oil and 10 minutes later( providing you've got some left-over rice in the fridge) , dinner is served.
Is it worth the labor involved you may ask? Yes and no. If they taste brilliant then hell yah! This first attempt is not quite there yet but has potential and I'm seeing the dumpling assembly as theraputic, along the lines of garbanzo bean peeling.
I've had this recipe from 101 Cookbooks for Golden Potstickers, a vegetable pot sticker starring yellow lentils, on my to do list for months (prompted by a pantry purge of all the jars of lentils I had decorating my shelf). I used red lentils  and a bunch of excess cabbage I'd shredded up for a slaw that was juuusst about to find its way into the compost bin-thus another refrigerator rescue was born!
Make the lentil pot stickers and the dipping sauce just the way Heidi explains it and they'll be wonderful. But, if you're me and your fridge is always on spoil alert, this lentil base is a great host for a sauteed veggie mash-up. The lentils are cooked and then pulsed in the food processor. The texture is up to you.  If you have a lot of veg to add just make sure it's diced small and perhaps you'll need an extra package of wrappers lest your bowl of filling gets a little whack once you add the vegetables. These freeze perfectly so make as many as you can handle.
The cabbage (or any veg or green that needs to find a greater purpose) goes into a hot skillet with 1-2 tablespoons of peanut oil (I'd gauge it thusly: 1 tablespoon for every 2 cups of veg) , red pepper flakes, chinese 5 spice ( 1 teaspoon for every 2 cups of veg)  and salt (to taste~taste often). Toss the pan to get the cabbage coated and when it's almost soft, (and this is totally optional) dash in some Sriracha, taste it and dash some more if you want...and then  fold the sauteed vegetables into the lentil mix.
Smitten Kitchen just posted a Spring Vegetable Pot Sticker recipe that is definitely going on my to do list.  In addition to the great recipe, she's got some great process pics for folding technique.
Un-wrap the won-ton/pot sticker wrappers and place them into an airtight container or get a damp tea towel to cover the package while you work. I use two spoons to form the filling and have a small bowl of water the moisten the edges of the wrappers. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper to place your formed pot stickers on. Sit down at your kitchen table or your coffee table and pop in a French Chef DVD and commence to wrapping. Keep a damp towel over the formed pot-stickers as you work and make sure they aren't touching. When the baking sheet is full put it in the freezer (without the towel) for about an hour. Transfer them into a freezer bag and draw out as much air as you can. Keep the bag in the freezer and when your ready to cook some off, have a half cup of cold water standing by.
Heat up a non-stick skillet (make sure it has a lid to fit) on medium heat with a tablespoon of peanut oil and when the oil starts to shimmer, place the pot stickers flat side down and cook until the bottom just starts to brown. with the lid in one hand pour in the water and place the lid on the pan firmly and cook until the water has reduced by half (about 7 minutes). Remove the lid and continue cooking until the water has evaporated and the bottoms are browned (about more 3 minutes).


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