Yesterday, my husband and I had a friend over for Mexican food. We got to talking about food. What else do you talk about when you’re eating after all? My husband attempted to explain about all the ethnic foods I am introducing him to, but he got stuck on “Tzatziki.” I don’t really blame him. Finally, he abandoned searching for the word and instead brought up the potstickers we enjoyed a few days prior. But our friend was baffled at our considering potstickers ethnic, because to him, they are a “Utah thing!” Potstickers, as it turns out, are a Chinese thing. I am happy they are accessible here though!
Most people eat these at Chinese food restaurants (My mum, for one, loves them). If people do attempt to make them at home, they generally use the store-bought wrappers. I made mine from scratch, using a recipe from “Dim Sum: The Art of Chinese Tea Lunch” and they are so easy (and CHEAP) that I will never buy them again.
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/3 cup water
Combine flour and water in a medium bowl. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Knead the dough for 3-4 minutes until it appears smooth. Form the dough into a 9 inch cylinder with your palms. Cut the dough in half lengthwise. Dust both pieces with flour and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let them rest at room temperature for 20 minutes. Meanwhile make the filling.
There are a million fillings that you can use for potstickers. I used the traditional ginger pork filling adapted from “Dim Sum: The Art of Chinese Tea Lunch”
- 8 oz finely shredded napa cabbage (or regular cabbage)
- 1 tbsp salt
- 8 oz ground pork
- 2 tbsp minced ginger
- 1 scallion (green onion) finely sliced
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp rice wine (apple juice)
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil (you NEED this to make it taste Chinese!)
Toss the cabbage with the salt in a large bowl and let it stand 30 minutes to remove excess water. Rinse the cabbage, and squeeze out all the water you can. Preheat the oven to 200F (this is so you can keep batches of cooked potstickers warm while you cook the rest). Mix the pork, ginger, scallion, soy sauce, apple juice, sugar and sesame oil in a large bowl. Mix in the cabbage. Refrigerate anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours.
To assemble the dumplings, roll the cylinders out to 12 inches each (one at a time). Cut out 3-3 1/4 inch circles. Put a tsp of filling in the center of the dough. Bring the top and bottom of the dough to the center of the filling and pinch shut forming a lip. On one side of the dumpling, pinch 4 1/4 inch pleats in the dough along the lip. When you have 10 or so ready, heat 1 tsp of oil in a skillet over medium heat. When the oil is almost smoking, drop in the dumpling. Fry for 2 minutes (only on one side). Add 1/2 cup of water to the skillet. Cover and let the dumplings cook for 5 minutes. When the water is just about gone, remove the lid and let the potstickers cook until they are light brown and stuck. Repeat until all the dumplings are cooked. Serve hot with Soy Vinegar Dip.
Soy Vinegar Dip
- 1/8 cup soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
Heat ingredients with 1 tbsp water over low heat for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat and spoon into small dishes. Top with a scallion sliced paper-thin if desired.
ps. The Spring Rolls were mediocre so I will not give you the recipe here. Do you have a delicious spring roll recipe?
Lately, Orem has found itself in the midst of a week-long thunder storm. One night, the storm got so loud and the lightening got so near, I confess I fell asleep to visions of our apartment burning down. In addition to this electrical storm, it felt like we were living inside a waterfall. It rained sheets. I think it was this sudden down-pour that got me craving Chinese food.
Let me explain, in Victoria, we ate authentic Chinese food all the time. It also rained all the time. So there you go. I decided to attempt Sweet and Sour Pork. The last recipe I used for sweet and sour chicken was very disappointing. It wasn’t really sweet, it wasn’t really sour, and it wasn’t red. It was a letdown. This recipe however, from a cookbook I got second hand for fifty cents, is deliciously sweet, sour and red. It was a success.
- 1 lb pork tenderloin (cut into 1 inch pieces)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp five-flavor spice (optional, this gave the meat a kind of cinnamon-flavor)
- 4 tbsp cornstarch
- Oil for deep frying
- 3 tbsp garlic, minced
- 1 med onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 green bell peppers, cut into 1 inch pieces (you can use red peppers too, I just don’t like them!)
- 5 tbsp sugar
- 5 tbsp ketchup
- 5 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1/2 cup water
- 3 slices pineapple, cut into 1 inch pieces
Put the pork in boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove and pat dry. Mix the egg yolk, salt, soy sauce and five-flavor spice. Marinate the meat in this mixture for at least 15 minutes. Coat the pork in cornstarch. Heat oil to med-high in a skillet. Deep fry pork until light brown. Remove and drain on paper towel. Heat 3 tbsp oil and stir-fry garlic, onion, and green peppers, on high heat for a few minutes. Add sugar, ketchup and vinegar. When just boiling, add the cornstarch mixture and stir until thickened. Add pork and pineapple. Stir. Serve with white rice.
I have a t-shirt that says “Hecho en Mexico.” While some Mexicans are pasty white and have ocean blue eyes, I am not one of them, at least not by birth. Growing up, Tex-Mex Tacos constituted my repertoire of Mexican food. After a year and a half in Southern California, my culinary and cultural boundaries were blown to pieces.
I loved the traditional sopes, enchiladas, burritos, taquitos, tostadas, arroz con leche, horchata, carne asada, pozole, etc. I lived those 18 months in bliss, food heaven. However, when I came home, I was in shock. I initially tried to survive by dosing everything in Tapatio (Hot Sauce). Eventually, I realized that I was going to have to learn how to cook authentic Mexican food or suffer for the rest of my life.
A few days ago I found a recipe for Pozole for a crock pot (two of my favourite things! Yipee!) It was delicious! The husband’s response says it all: “You should keep that recipe!” Before we get to the recipe part, let me share with you some disgusting history of the soup/ stew Pozole.
Apparently, “pozole was made to be consumed on special events. The conjunction of corn (usually whole hominy kernels) and meat in a single dish is of particular interest to scholars because the ancient Mexicans believed that the gods made humans out of cornmeal dough. According to research by the National Institute of Anthropology and History and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, on these special occasions, the meat used in the pozole was human. After the prisoners were killed by having their hearts torn out in a ritual sacrifice, the rest of the body was chopped and cooked with corn. The meal was shared among the whole community as an act of religious communion. After the conquest, when cannibalism was banned, pork became the staple meat, as it “tasted very similar”, according to a Spanish priest.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posole)
While that little tidbit of information might be unappealing, Pozole certainly is not.
- – 2 lbs shoulder chuck pork, fat trimmed, and chopped in 1/2″ pieces
- 2 tbsp oil olive
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 can oven roasted chilies (7 oz)
- 2 cans white hominy (15 oz)
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 cup minced chopped cilantro
Heat oil in a skillet on medium-high. Brown meat in portions. Add to the slow cooker. Add all ingredients through cumin. Stir. Heat on low for 5-6 hours. Add salt, pepper and cilantro. Cook for another hour. Laddle soup into bowls. Serve with shredded lettuce, chopped onions, cilantro, lime wedges and heated corn tortillas. (Sometimes it is served with radishes too, but I don’t like radishes.)
(It is red or green depending on whether you use red or green chilies)