Cardio and Cooking: Stick it to 'em good!

I've been really getting in touch with my roots lately. This week, my workload wasn't as heavy, so I had a bit of downtime to relax yesterday. I decided to use that time to make some potstickers or Chinese dumplings from scratch.

Things that I learned yesterday about potstickers:
- Dumplings don't actually take as long to make by hand as you think. I accomplished making 68 of them within less than an hour and a half, and I hadn't made them for at least a few years when I helped my mom.
- They are so versatile! You can steam them, boil them, pan fry them, grill them, bake them, or deep fry them!
- I usually eat them with Chinese red vinegar and ginger, but there are a lot of choices, because it will depend on the cuisine. Southern Chinese will differ from Northern Chinese, Japanese, or Korean!
- Usually, Chinese potstickers are filled with pork and leek and/or Chinese black mushrooms with some sort of cabbage, but there are a lot of other kinds with other meats like beef or chicken. I personally prefer using pork over other kinds of meat, because I think it tastes the best, but that's just me.
- Pleating dumplings becomes easier with practice. For me, I got better after making maybe 20 of them last night.
- If you buy the store-bought dumpling wrappers/skins, you do need to be sure of what kind it is. Wonton dumpling wrappers are much thinner, and taste different from those for potstickers.
- To make potstickers, you basically just need dumpling wrappers, some water, and your preferred filling. Easy peasy!

All of my filling ingredients - ground beef (worms), sui choy leaves and stems, white mushroom, soy sauce, and canola oil.
Dumpling filling! 

Stuffing the dumplings. I tended to put too much filling in, but I squished it in with my fingers to make it stay.

Voila! My masterpiece! This is just 60 of them. I went to play badminton after making these, and came back to do the remaining 8, after deciding that potstickers would make a good post-workout night "snack". 
They fit quite nicely in sets of 20 per Ziploc bag!
Homemade Potstickers (taught to me by my mom)
*Makes 34* (I don't know why, but the store-bought dumpling wrappers that I got because I'm too lazy to roll out a bizillion neat little dough circles came in a package of 2 sets of 34.)

Half of a 454g/1 lb package of dumpling wrappers
Half of a 0.688 kg package of lean ground beef
3 napa cabbage/sui choy leaves
1 white mushroom
Soy sauce
Vegetable oil
A small dish of water (better if it's either cold or room temperature)

1. Remove the leafy portion of the sui choy, and slice it into shreds. Add into a medium sized bowl. Dice the stem part into small cubes, and add them to the leaves. Dice the mushroom, and add them to the sui choy. 
2. Add ground beef, about 1 Tbsp of soy sauce, and 1 Tbsp of oil into the vegetable mixture, and stir until combined. 
3. Have a large plate or cookie sheet handy to put your finished dumplings on.
4. Make sure your hands are dry. Place one dumpling wrapper in your hand (better if it's your non-dominant, mine being my left), and add a small spoonful of the filling into the centre of the circle. Try to leave about an inch of space between the filling and the edge of the circle.
5. With your finger, smear some water along the edge of one half of the dough circle. Be careful not to get too much water on the wrapper or it will become quite sticky.
6. Fold the dumpling over the filling, and pinch it closed in the center on the edge. From one end towards the centre, make a couple of pleats, and then make a couple more pleats towards the other end. This gets better with practice. At first, I kept putting way too many pleats, so they didn't look quite right. After reducing to about 4 pleats across, they started looking a lot better. 
7. Place the dumpling with the fold flat on the cookie sheet or plate so that it can stand on its own. This makes it easier for when you pan fry them. 
8. Repeat steps 4-7 until all of your filling and wrappers are gone. At this point, you can either freeze them in Ziploc bags or cook them right away.

Pan-frying dumplings:
1. Add some oil to the bottom of your pot or pan. Arrange your dumplings on the bottom of the pan with the pleats facing upwards. 
2. Cook on high heat for about 1 minute so that the bottoms start to brown.
3. Add water to come halfway up your dumplings, and cover with a lid to steam for about 6 minutes or until most of the water has been steamed away. 
4. Remove the lid, and continue to cook until all of the water is gone. The bottoms should be crispy, and there shouldn't be any white spots on the wrapper. This could indicate that there are parts that are still frozen.
5. Remove from heat, serve on a plate, and enjoy with a sauce of your choice!

These were the 8 I made when I came back after badminton. I put too much oil on the bottom of my pot. Don't do that. (I used a pot because I felt it was easier to steam them in it. I also didn't need to use my big frying pan just for that.)

All puffed up after being steamed. The water is all gone, but so much oil... Sigh. 

My finished panfried potstickers with sauce. I have yet to buy some Chinese red vinegar, so P gave me a recipe for another kind of sauce to make with what I had on hand - 3 parts soy sauce, 1 part sriracha, and 0.5 parts sesame oil. It was pretty good, but I think I've grown accustomed to the nice vinegary taste to complement fried dumplings.
I wonder what other fried night snacks I'll come up with. Maybe I'll actually venture into the world of deepfrying for once?


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