Thursday, September 8, 2011

With Six You Get...Deconstructed Potstickers?

OK, it's a big stretch to reference the movie "With Six You Get Eggroll" in a post about potstickers but it popped into my head. I love Doris Day and even more I adore how so many movies in the 1960s had an almost obligatory nightclub scene with groovy kids doing groovy dances to groovy music. In this one we get the Grass Roots!

But on to the real purpose of this post, food; specifically my take on making an appetizer into a meal. I crave potstickers; I love everything about them from the chewy/crunchy/soft outside to the juicy little ball of highly seasoned pork on the inside to the perfect umami flavor of the dipping sauce. However, I have seldom had any sort of luck making filled pastas. My little packets, though they might have the right flavors, rarely survive boiling or whatever cooking method I inflict on them. I think I just don't enjoy that sort of labor-intensive preparation so I get sloppy on my sealing methods. I have never attempted potstickers, knowing I had no patience for the careful pleating of the dough around the filling, particularly important since the dumplings have a somewhat complicated cooking process.

So, when wandering around the grocery store the other day, I came upon packages of ground pork on sale. I immediately thought of potstickers and just as immediately dismissed the idea. In the past I've made ground pork kebabs or meatballs with Asian seasoning combinations so I figured I would do something like that again. Upon further wandering, though, it suddenly occurred to me I could deconstruct the dumplings and make instead a pasta dish. I made a beeline back to the produce section to grab a package of wonton wrappers and started getting really excited (I told you, I LOVE potstickers!)

To start, I mixed about a pound of ground pork with about an inch or so of finely grated fresh ginger, two cloves of garlic, some soy sauce, pepper and two or three sliced green onions. I formed smallish meatballs and put them in a splash of hot oil to brown. In the meantime, I heated another frying pan with a bit of canola oil. I took the package of wonton wrappers and sliced the stack into approximately 1/2 inch strips. It's a little tiresome to separate all those layers of thin pasta, but it helps to get them [mostly] separated when putting them into the pan. By the time I got all the piles of strips into the pan, the bottom layer had browned and crisped up nicely. Keep the heat high and rotate the pasta, making sure to get some browning on most of the noodles. Once I got the noodles browned how I wanted them I added about 1/3 cup of water mixed with a bit of chicken bullion to the noodles and let them simmer until the liquid was cooked up.

To make the signature potsticker sauce I mixed up soy sauce, a bit of water, rice vinegar, a splash of sesame oil and garlic powder (I wanted the flavor not the heft of minced garlic). After tasting, having used up all the rice vinegar I had, I added a splash of lime juice for a bit more tartness. That ended up leaving things a bit too tart so I added about a teaspoon of brown sugar to mellow it all out.

At this point I added the noodles to the pan with the meatballs, poured the sauce over all and sprinkled on another thinly sliced green onion. I let it all simmer together for a few more minutes, until the noodles had soaked up a bit of the sauce.
I will definitely be making this again. The photos kind of suck because I was too eager to eat!

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