Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chinese New Year Chicken Potstickers

Warning:  this food is ugly.  But very tasty.  Honestly, I haven't ever seen much Chinese food that is terribly visually appealing, so I suppose this fits right in.  My oldest daughter is in a Chinese Immersion program at school, meaning that half of her school day is taught entirely in Chinese.  She is loving it, and has picked up on stuff amazingly fast.  Tomorrow is Chinese New Year, so we celebrated a day early and I gave potstickers a try for the first time.  They came out quite well, though I will have to tinker with my gas stove and how fast it heats the oil up.
 First, I sauteed diced chicken and mushrooms in a little olive oil (to be more authentic, I should have used sesame oil but I didn't have any on hand).  Then I added in some freshly grated ginger root, minced garlic, and seasoned it with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, a bit of brown sugar and salt and pepper to taste.  Then I transferred the mixture to my new zippy little food processor (Christmas gift - hooray!).
 A few quick pulses and it was finely chopped, perfect for filling the potstickers.  I like chunks and discernable veggies in my egg rolls, but not potstickers.  They need to be smooth.
Use small round wrappers, found with the egg roll wrappers, usually in the produce section.  Lay out 8-10 on a work surface.  Meanwhile, in a large lidded skillet, heat up a thin layer of vegetable oil.

 Plop a scant tablespoon full of filling in the center of each one.  Dip your fingers into a little bowl of water and moisten the wrapper half way around the rim.
 Pinch each closed, squeezing excess air out.  Now you're ready to cook!
 I took a picture of my first batch, which turned out to brown a bit too quickly.  I still haven't gotten used to the remarkable power of a gas range.  I had it at medium for these, and it was too hot - they browned within seconds of being put into the oil.  I cooked the rest of them much closer to low.  Anyway, fry for 1-2 minutes on each side, until lightly browned, then add 1/4 cup of water to the pan.  I learned the hard way that it spatters like CRAZY.  I suggest having the lid nearly in place, and just sneak the water in and immediately close the lid the rest of the way.  Allow them to steam until all of the water evaporates, about 5-6 minutes, and remove to a serving plate.
 Yep, ugly.  But delicious.  I like the soft-but-chewy-in-places exterior, and the savory, flavorful filling.  I dipped some of mine in orange sauce, but mostly just enjoyed them plain.  These got universal thumbs up from the peanut gallery except for my 3 1/2 year old who was suspicious of the filling.

Chinese New Year Chicken Potstickers

1 raw chicken breast, diced into 1/2" chunks
6 large mushrooms, quartered
1 T. olive oil (or sesame oil)
1 t. freshly grated ginger root
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. low sodium soy sauce
1 T. rice wine vinegar
1 T. brown sugar
freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

Potsticker wrappers
canola oil

In a medium skillet, saute the chicken and mushrooms over medium heat until the juices run clear from the chicken.  Stir in the remaining ingredients down to the salt and pepper and saute for another 2-3 minutes until the flavors are well mixed.  Scoop the mixture into a food processor and pulse a few times until everything is finely chopped.

Lay out 8-10 potsticker wrappers on a work surface.  Meanwhile, pour a thin layer of oil in a large lidded skillet and let it heat up over medium low heat.  Scoop a scant tablespoon of filling onto each wrapper, moisten half way around with your finger dipped in water, and pinch to close, squeezing out the excess air.  Lay the potstickers down in an even layer in the hot oil and let them cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, until lightly golden.

Then, position the pan lid so that it's almost closed and pour 1/4 cup water in.  Immediately close the lid the rest of the way and let the potstickers steam for 5-6 minutes, until all of the water has evaporated.  Remove with tongs.  You may allow them to drain some of the oil off on a paper towel, then serve immediately either plain or with your favorite dipping sauce.  This will yield about 24.

1 comment:

whiting family said...

yum! I will have to explore and see if I can find any wraps here. I have been experimenting a lot with "Chinese" food here, since we love it so much and just can't find a restaurant that makes it the way we like (yuck! They put tons of vinegar in everything!)