Now that I’ve gotten over my brief infatuation of gardening (the honeymoon phase is over; weeds galore have dampened my enthusiasm a little 🙁 ), I will be sitting down at the computer to write more. Thanks, reader MLee for leaving me a kind comment that reminds me why I started this blog in the first place 🙂
As I might have said before in the dumplings post and have been learning, you use hot water dough for foods like steamed dumplings, (zheng jiao) potstickers(guo tie) or chive boxes (jiu cai he zi) to make the dough nice and tender for crisping up. The hot water kills some of the gluten formation. For chewy stuff like noodles or boiled dumplings, use cold water for a chewier, stretchier dough.
Did you know that you can make these with whole wheat flour and they can still taste good, and in my opinion, even tastier? What’s even better is that the dough is nutritious and also more filling than if you were to use all-purpose flour, thanks to the fiber. Whole wheat also makes foods more jie shi (結實), or solid/sturdy/filling. I won’t be going back to all-purpose anytime soon. Read past the recipe for my favorite aspects of whole wheat flour, but first, the recipe and some pictures.
Makes around 60 (Fat!) potstickers
510 grams whole wheat or all-purpose flour (about 4 1/4 cups flour)
400 grams hot water (about 1.7 cups water) @ 149-158 deg F (65-70 C)
220 grams cabbage (~2 1/2 cups)
188 grams jiu cai (2 heaping cups)
524 grams ground pork (1.15 lb)
2 tsp fish sauce (optional, but if you omit it, add more salt)
1 Tbsp Shaoxing wine
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
Minimal oil for cooking potstickers
1) Slowly drizzle all but about 1/4 cup of the hot water into the flour, all the while stirring vigorously to prevent the hot water from targeting a big clump of flour.
2) After mixing, check to see if there are residual flour specks that have not joined any dough clumps; if so, add some more water, a little bit at a time, until all the flour can find some doughy friends.
3) Knead very gently until the dough comes together into a ball. For hot water dough, you don’t want to overwork; it won’t be a smooth and homogeneous dough right now, but that’s okay. See step 4!
4) Let the dough rest, covered and in a lightly greased bowl for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight. If you are resting the dough overnight, it is helpful to put it in a lightly greased plastic ziptop bag.
5) In the meantime, prepare the filling by mixing all the filling ingredients together. Like for any good filling, cook a smallll portion of the filling (or taste raw if you dare) and adjust the seasonings. Also like for any good filling, mix and mix (in one direction only, says my mom) until the filling comes together in a big clump and the bits of pork fat are no longer dots, but streaks embedded within. Alternatively, you can also pick the filling up with your hands and slap the ingredients on the side of the bowl, being careful not to toss any outside the bowl!
6) Portion and roll the dough into skins, following steps 6 and beyond from Traditional Chinese Dumpling Skin 餃子皮.
7) Wrap potstickers by placing some filling in the middle third of the round, then pinch the ends together to make a little clutch purse with open ends.
8) Put a little bit of oil in a cast-iron pan (or your choice of pan), just enough to cover the entire bottom of the pan.
9) While the oil is still cold, add the potstickers (crowding is fine!) to the pan. On medium heat, pan-fry until the bottoms of the potstickers are golden brown. Add enough water to come up 1/2 way up the side of the pan, cover with a lid, and cook on low until the water is mostly evaporated. Check for doneness- the dough will be much more translucent once it is cooked. If necessary, add a little more water, cover, and cook on low again, if necessary. If the potstickers are done, then remove the lid and let the potstickers cook on low until they are completely dry and crisp on the bottom.
10) Turn the potstickers onto a plate, crunchy side facing you, and eat!
Here are just some perks of freshly ground whole wheat flour:
1) Smells amazing out of the mill.
2) You get all parts of the berry in one: the endosperm, wheat bran, and wheat germ, and all naturally-occurring oils. The flour is naturally packed with nutrients, versus versus all-purpose flour where they take the bran and germ away, then add nutrients and goodies back in.
3) The taste is superior to store-bought whole wheat flour; there’s no need to use orange juice or sweeteners to mask any off-flavors.
Your mileage may vary with store-bought flour, but I mill my own berries and love the smell and taste of freshly ground flour. Instead of trying to cover up the taste of the whole wheat flour, I get to work with fragrant whole wheat flour. If you are looking to switch over to baking or cooking with whole wheat, I strongly recommend that you look into milling your own berries- I am glad I did, both for the nutrition and taste aspect!
-For an untraditional or super-crisp approach, you can brown both sides of the potstickers instead of just one. Tim reaaaaally likes them this way, so perhaps you will, too?
-Use any filling that you like, such as pork and chinese leek, and if you are pressed for time, you cooouuullddd use store-bought dough………
-Yes, these freeze beautifully! Freeze before cooking. You will need to go easy on the heat setting when you brown the bottoms, however, otherwise you will have to use more oil and it will get greasier.
-As with any filling-in-carb goodie, don’t fret if you have foresee extra filling or dough.
Extra dough: Either make an impromptu scallion pancake with the leftover dough or make some frisbees (use two rounds of dough and put filling in middle; then pleat on the edges). Check out the frisbee in the picture above ;D
Extra filling can be cooked on a frying pan; makes for a tasty snack with rice or just as is.