I made some pot stickers using Alton’s recipe as a, well, general guideline :) They turned out pretty OK.
I made a few substitutions, because I didn’t have scallions or bell pepper on hand. I replaced scallions with minced onion, left out bell pepper completely, and instead of mustard I added 1/2 tsp of McDonalds Barbeque sauce. The filling turned out a little on the sweet-ish side but tasted great.
Figuring out how to wrap them was interesting, since I deleted the episode already and the recipe doesn’t exactly say how to shape them I used square wonton wraps instead of round but after a bit of experimentation they seemed to to OK.
I went with 1/2 lb. of ground pork as the base, which I wasn’t sure was going to be enough, but it turned out great; in fact I ran out of wonton wraps with a bit of filling to spare.
1: 2: 3: 4: 5:
(click for larger pics, though it may not help much, the full size pics are kind of blurry)
I took a snapshot of my setup for wrapping (1) including: plate with wrappers covered by damp paper towel, brush for water, cup of water with 1/2 tsp measure, sheet pan for finished items covered with damp paper towel, and a small cutting board as working surface.
I found it extremely time-consuming to make the wonton/potstickers themselves, but it seemed to go much faster if I made two at a time. Pic (2) shows two wraps and two rounded-teaspoon balls of filling. Scooping out the filling seemed to work best if I dipped the measuring spoon in water before scooping.
The actual shape that I chose was a triangle with the left and right corners folded over a bit. To actually press them closed, I wet the top-left and top-right edges (not too wet – I would only dip the brush about once every 4 and tapped the edges of the damp paper towels before brushing the food). Then I brought the bottom corner up to the top (offset a little). (The wraps aren’t completely square, so after some experimentation, I found that the shape comes out better if I stagger the top corners a bit. Instead of bringing the bottom corner up to meet the top corner exactly, I offset it a little bit so that the long ends of the rectangle would hang over the resulting triangle a little – see 3). Then with my two index fingers touching to form an upside-down V, I pressed the wrapper along the edges of the filling, starting at the top and going down slowly, pushing the air out at the bottoms and making the filling into a small triangle too. Then I folded up the left and right corners to make it a little more compact. (see 4) (On a couple of them I actually folded the top corner down too, which made them a little nicer.)
The batch of filling made about 50 potstickers. I probably could have gone with a tiny bit more filling in each, but making more units was OK too. (5) shows the sheet pan with the completed items. Note that covering them with a damp paper towel caused white spots on the tops where water from the paper towel soaked into the wrapper. No harm was done, but there were a couple close calls — because I had made so many, the sheet pan got crowded and I stacked some on top of others, and the wet spots on top made them naturally stick to whatever others touched them. In a couple cases I had to pull off the edges of one to save the wrapper over the filling on another.
For the cooking, I went with a potsticker style. I brushed on just barely enough oil to coat the pan, placed 10 units down, cooked on Med-Hi for 2 min, then put in chicken broth and sizzled/steamed for 3 min. (Alton calls for 2 min and 2 min but I was dealing with pork and wanted to be on the safe side.) The first batch (2 min med-hi, 3 min low) weren’t quite browned much at all. The second batch (3 min med-hi, 2 min med-low) were nicely browned. (I probably would have gone longer if they had been frozen. A type of frozen potstickers I sometimes buy had slightly different cooking method, which was small amount of oil, small amount of water, cook med-hi until steam stops coming out, then 1 min more, or something… next time I will try somehing closer to that. Finishing with the broth/steaming at the end makes them end kind of wet and floppy instead of being crispy or crunchy).
I didn’t have special potsticker sauce, but a mixture of soy sauce and rice vinegar seemed to work great. I cooked up 20 and put the other 30 in the freezer (on a sheet pan with parchment paper, then once they reached 0 degrees F I transferred them to baggies). I think when cooking the other two batches of 15 I will try the steam-to-fry or just fry them like wontons.
I am sure they would have looked more like potstickers if I had used round wrappers. The shape I used was serviceable but I will experiment with other shapes next time. I’m interested in feedback on other shapes to try :)
Mmmm, those sound so good. (Would you believe the only meat I miss is potstickers/fried wontons?) Interesting use of McDonalds sauce, too! :)
Believe me, it takes years of practice to get speed at won-tons — I once sat in a restaurant in Chinatown and watched some of the staff make them. They were unbelievably fast. -blot-swipe-fold-fold-toss!-