I love Chinese food but I can probably count on two hands the number of dishes I’ve made myself. It’s not something I’m particularly proud of, but it’s just something that has never come up before. My father has worked in the restaurant business since he was in college and even owned his own restaurant for awhile. Growing up, cooking dinner fell firmly in his camp and I just sort of let him do it every night. And now that I live 3,000 miles from them, I am starting to miss some of my old favorites.
Every now and then, I’ll call him and ask for his recipe and the conversation will consist of a list of ingredients that he says to mix to taste. The first time I make something, I need exact measurements so I can figure out where to go from there. So this usually means I nod my head at what he says and then never make the dish.
One of my favorite things to eat are pot stickers. We actually don’t make them – my parents buy them 5 for $1 at our favorite dumpling vendor in NYC and freeze them. At Sunday brunches, my dad pulls them out and pan fries them. There is nothing better than dipping the dumplings into hoisin sauce, my spread of choice, and then biting into a meaty dumpling with a crispy skin. I am literally salivating now just thinking about it.
The reason we like this particular dumpling vendor is because he doesn’t use cabbage filler in his mixture, like many other places do. It’s all ground pork, crunchy water chestnuts, green onion and shitake mushrooms. So I decided I was going to try making my own dumplings and follow this recipe for success.
Mixing the filling and stuffing the won ton wrappers was easy. The hard part, I found out, is pan frying them to create the crispy skin. I know you’re supposed to boil them for water part of the time and pan fry them for part of the time. One way created crispy skins that stuck to the pan. The other way created soggy skins that stayed in tact. My plan is to call my dad and find his secret to success. Hopefully, he will say something more specific than “Fry and boil!”
1 small can water chestnuts
2 stems green onion
1 lb. ground pork
10 – 12 Shitake mushrooms
Ginger chunk, size of garlic clove, peeled
1 tbsp. Soy sauce
1 tbsp. Sesame oil
2 – 3 garlic cloves
Won ton wrappers
1- In food processor, combine water chestnuts, green onion, mushrooms, garlic cloves and ginger. Pulse until finely minced. Everything can be to taste – for more crunch, add more water chestnuts. For a spicier kick, add more ginger.
2- In medium mixing bowl, combine with pork, soy sauce, sesame oil and salt and pepper. Mix until well blended and chill for 1/2 hour.
3- Place one small spoonful of filling into middle of won ton wrapper and form into dumpling by folding over and moistening edge to keep shape. Either fold in half completely or fold in half and then fold remaining corners up to create a square shape.
4- Chill briefly.
5- In a large skillet, pour small amount of canola oil and heat until hot. Disregard any and all advice from me until future notice because I have not yet talked to my dad.
6- Serve with hoisin sauce and enjoy!
Servings: 24 dumpling
Wow, this looks like something gross but if I name it I might never be able to eat it again. And it is good when cooked. Oh so deliciously wonderfully good.
This is actually probably too much. But it’ll help you get the picture.
Wet edges and stick top together. Looks like cannoli now.
Stick ’em together and get ready for some dumpling action. Sweet dumpling action.
So many dumplings, just waiting to be eaten.