pork potstickers in portland (day 2: 11/14/08: kathy’s kitchen)

gyoza-kale-color-adjustAt long last, here it is: the potstickers post I have been referring to for weeks now!  I have no excuse, as Kathy has already so kindly typed up the recipe for me.  So, as those of you who have been reading know, I visited Portland and Seattle about a month ago, staying 2 1/2 days in each city (see posts on Portland, day 1 & day 2).  My second day in Portland, Kathy taught me how to make guo tieh (literally, “pot stick”; also known in English/ Japanese as gyoza).  She invited her friend Rhonda over to help out, and the three of us had a great time learning and assembling together (not to mention consuming prodigious quantities of wine).   I also made a pot of my “Chinese-style” kale to go alongside, since the gyoza were our main dish. (Since this post is going to be rather long, I’ll post the kale recipe in a seperate blog entry, along with alternate versions of the potstickers.)

I just want to say that when you read this recipe it may seem like a lot of work, but if you have a friend or two over, it actually goes very quickly.  We made a batch of pork and a batch of seafood potstickers, and with three of us wrapping it only took about half an hour.  It’s a fun and impressive dish to make for a party if you have helpers… or you can offer to let people take some home for their labor!  They also freeze well, so it’s worthwhile to make extra as long as you’re taking the trouble.

Guo Tieh (Potstickers) with Pork (recipe courtesy Kathy Lee, with ever-so-minor tweaks by Noëlle)gyoza-on-tray-color-adjust

1 1/4 lbs unseasoned ground pork
1 bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed in a strainer and squeezed dry
4-5 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, very finely minced or put through a garlic press
3 tbs cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
soy sauce to taste- about 4 tbs recommended
sesame oil to taste- about 2 tbsp recommended
2 packages round gyoza wrappers, thawed if frozen
vegetable oil for frying (2 tbs per pan of potstickers)

gyoza-filling-crop

 Directions:  Place the pork in a large mixing bowl.  Adding water a little at a time, stir pork in one direction.  Continue adding water until the pork stirs easily and is sticky.  Stir in the spinach.  Put the cornstarch and baking soda in a small dish and add just enough water to dissolve; stir this mixture into the pork along with the soy sauce and garlic.  At this point, you can put the filling in the fridge if you’re not going to assemble the pot stickers right away.  

When you’re ready to do the assembly, stir in the scallions and sesame oil.  (Noëlle suggests frying up a small ball of the meat mixture to taste if it is seasoned to your liking before filling the gyoza; adjust seasonings as needed.) 

gyoza-in-hand-color-adjust

To wrap the potstickers:  Line a couple cookie sheets with wax paper.  Put a small dish or glass of water at your “work-station”.  Place a wrapper in your hand and put a spoonful of filling in the center (better too little than too much; you don’t want the potstickers to break open).  As you go, you’ll get a feel for how much filling your wrappers can accomodate without being overstuffed.  With your free hand, dip a finger into the water and moisten the edge of the wrapper. 

gyoza-fold-color-adjust

fig. 1: "pleating" the gyoza wrapper

 Now, there are two ways to seal the potstickers, the easy way and the “fancier” way.  For the simple method, just fold in half, press the edges together to seal, and indent the bottom (the “fat” part).  To seal them the way we did, fold in half but don’t seal the edges; grasp the wrapper as if it was a taco that you were holding shut at the top.  Basically you are going to pleat one side of the “taco”, leaving the other side smooth.  Fold over a little flap of wrapper towards the center, making a little “pleat” (see fig. 1).  You can either do two or 
gyoza-finished-in-hand
fig. 2: the finished product

three pleats on each side of the center.  You should end up with this (see fig. 2):  the top is pleated while the bottom is not; this gives them a nice shape for nesting them in the pan.  

*Note: if you have made extra potstickers and want to freeze them, leave them on the wax paper and put them in the freezer until they are frozen enough not to stick together; you can then put them in a freezer bag.

Frying the potstickers (go here for boiling instructions):  Put 2 tbs vegetable oil in a cold non-stick skillet.  Add potstickers to the pan in a circle, nesting them snugly against each other, until the pan is full (see below).

gyoza-nestinggyoza-nesting-2

Place the pan on the stove over medium heat.  Do not use more heat or the wrappers will burn!  Let sizzle.  After about 5-7 minutes, gently lift a gyoza and peek at the underside to check for browning.  Total browning time will be between 8-12 minutes, depgyoza-flip-cropending on your stove, skillet, etc.  Once the gyoza are nicely browned, fill a glass with cold water and add to skillet.  Stand back, as this may cause oil to splatter.  You want the water to cover the potstickers about 3/4 of the way.  Cover the skillet to steam (ideally your skillet will have a lid, but use a plate if necessary).  After a few minutes, check the water level.  When all the water has cooked off, remove from heat.  Cover the skillet with an inverted plate the same size or larger than the skillet.  Put an oven mitt on.  Put the oven-mitt hand on the plate and, holding the skillet with the other hand, invert skillet.  Voilà a beautiful plate of golden brown potstickers!

gyoza-platter

gyoza-sauces-crop

Dipping Sauces for Potstickers 
For dipping sauce, Kathy uses a mixture of soy sauce, rice vinegar, and chili sauce; combine to taste.  I make a similar sauce but sometimes add a dash of sesame oil.  The Lee family uses another dipping sauce comprised of nothing but soy sauce and copious amounts of minced garlic!  I also like sweet chili sauce, a thick, syrupy bottled sauce (you can make your own by cooking down sugar syrup and chili sauce; sometimes the bottled kind has high fructose corn syrup).

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3 responses to “pork potstickers in portland (day 2: 11/14/08: kathy’s kitchen)

  1. Your blog is fabulous. Great photos and details. I follow it every day now. Great work!

  2. I’m Kathy’s work pal, and I was able to eat some today. The potstickers are fantastic. Great blog. Great photos. I shall be following the blog now.

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