If you can’t choose between steamed dumplings or fried dumplings, why not have both?
If you tasted them, you wouldn’t care, either.
In texture and flavor, a potsticker is close to a perfect bite: crisp, chewy, salty, acidic, with a hint of warmth at the finish.
Two things to worry about: the moisture content of the filling. You want it to be comparatively dry. As you get to the bottom of the bowl, just give it a squeeze with your hand before you fill a dumpling. The other thing to worry about is in the cooking–if you see a dumpling inflating, you have three choices: take it off the heat, puncture it with a skewer to let the steam out, or let it burst and leak dumpling guts everywhere. None of these are tragedies, but I suggest the first option.
Don’t worry about the fact that you’ll have more filling than you will wrappers; you’d have to make 2 or 3 times this amount of wrapper to use it all. (You should get about a dozen large-size wrappers out of the amount on the card.) The filling freezes well and you can actually eat it cold in spring rolls. It also makes a perfect lettuce wrap filling, with some toasted peanuts.
While this may not be quite the way it’s done traditionally (and you know my feelings on authenticity: that only personal authenticity matters), there is a nod to Chinese cooking philosophy in the textures achieved by steaming and frying. In texture and flavor, a vegetable potsticker is close to a perfect bite: crisp, chewy, salty, acidic, with a hint of warmth at the finish.
If you’re not opposed to animal products, you could add oyster sauce or Worcestershire sauce to the filling; if you’re vegan or vegetarian, you’re good to go as written, I think. I used a dipping sauce of half soy, half ponzu, with some sriracha and sesame added (like I said, personal authenticity).
From Yesterdish’s recipe box.
Yesterdish’s Vegetable Potstickers
1 lb. block extra firm tofu, dried, pressed and diced
6 heads baby bok choy, chopped and microwaved 2:30, then drained
1 3.75 oz. pkg. cellophane noodles, cooked 3 min, drained and chopped
1 cup (after soaking) dried black mushrooms, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. ginger, grated
1 jalapeno, chopped
1 bunch green onions, greens and whites, chopped
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup ponzu
rind of two lemons, shredded
juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
3 Tbsp. sesame seed
Mix 3/4 c. bread dough with 1/4 cup hot water–knead;
Mix 3/4 c. bread dough with 1/4 cup cold water–knead;
Knead both together. Cut off and roll out golf-ball sized pieces, or half that for smaller.
Mix and marinate filling ingredients overnight, or for 2 hours in fridge. Put 3 Tbsp. filling in center of wrapper; run fingers around edge of wrapper with water. Fold over, seal and crimp.
Heat 1 Tbsp. veg. oil and 1 Tbsp. chili oil in nonstick skillet [over medium heat]. Fry dumplings on bottom. Add 1/4 c. water and cover lightly to steam. Fry dumplings [uncovered] on other sides when water evaporates, if crispier dumplings are desired.
A. Goldstein 2-18-2013