Goes to Chinatown Once

June 2, 2018

Goes to Chinatown Once

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Makes homemade potstickers.

Last weekend was my first time visiting (and staying in) Chinatown in New York City. I’ve been to NYC a bunch of times and somehow never visited this charming (sort of) little (not really) neighborhood. Some hot takes:

  • It’s authentic. I know people say the actual Chinese food is trash and I didn’t have any so I can’t speak on that, but the local scene is a great cultural experience.
  • It’s REAL busy during the day. I’m a sensitive little baby when it comes to crowds but this should come as no surprise to anyone who lives in New York.
  • Doyers Street is everything and nothing like New York.
  • The Chinatown bus goes EVERYWHERE. Need a bus from NYC to Spartansburg, SC?  They got you. (Ima take a pass on that, but nice to know it’s a thing!)
  • Many kinds of sandals for purchase
  • Very cheap haircuts!
  • For being so far south, it’s actually a wildly convenient location to get just about anywhere in Manhattan and the other boroughs

So yeah, Chinatown is neat!

Now, to the food. I have a deep love for potstickers. I didn’t get to have any while in New York, so I decided to give ’em a go at home.

They are so easy! Not gonna lie, they a little tedious, which is my own fault because I wanted to learn how to fold them the pretty way instead of just pinching them together. A few Youtube videos and several ugly dumplings later, I got the hang of it. The filling is super simple to make and uses ingredients you likely already have, or wouldn’t have a hard time finding.

You just chop up some napa cabbage, carrots, garlic, & ginger. Throw it in with some ground pork shoulder. Add some soy sauce, sesame oil, and egg. Mix it all together. Boom. Potsticker filling.

I cheated a little and used store-bought dumpling wrappers. It doesn’t seem like the dough is difficult to make, but I didn’t have time for all that. I used a tablespoon of filling for each dumpling and it was the perfect amount.

Look how cute!!!!!

Chinese potstickers are traditionally cooked by frying them on one side, and steaming them on the other. Fun fact: potstickers were invented by a Chinese imperial court chef who was making dumplings and accidentally burnt the bottoms. The royals were like “OH SHIT THIS IS GOOD” and he was like, “Yes, just trying out a new recipe, I did this totally on purpose.” And so the potsticker was born.

So you fry them first until the bottoms are pale golden, and then add water to steam them. The bottoms will continue to crisp up while the inside cooks though from the steam. You gotta kinda of move them around in the pan a little bit so they don’t STICK to the POT.

Take ’em off the heat, put ’em on a paper towel to get rid of the excess oil, and you done! I made a little dipping sauce to go with it – a combo of soy, rice vinegar, sriracha, red pepper flake, and brown sugar.

Yay! They tasted delightful. It would be totally fun to make them with shrimp, too.

Here’s the recipe, adapted from Epicurious:

  • 2 cups Napa cabbage, shredded
  • 3/4 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 pound ground pork shoulder
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp carrot, finely chopped (from a pretty small carrot)
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 24-30 dumpling wrappers (I used Shanghai style, but you can also use Hong Kong, Shanghai is a little thicker)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

Directions:

  1. Chop up the cabbage super finely. Mix in the 3/4 tbsp of salt and let it sit in a bowl for 30 mins. After 30 mins, put the cabbage in a clean dish cloth and ring out as much water as possible.
  2. Add the pork, ginger, carrot, scallions, and garlic and mix until combined
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce & egg. Pour over the pork/cabbage mixture and mix until combined
  4. Watch this video and learn how to fold potstickers 8 different ways
  5. Add a tablespoon of mixture into the center of each wrapper, fold them the way of your choosing. I did the 4-pleat method!
  6. Heat canola oil in a lidded nonstick skillet until hot but not smoking. Add the dumplings – they can be touching but don’t overcrowd the pan. You can cook them in batches if needed! Fry them until the bottoms are a pale golden color. Add 1/4 cup of water and place a lid tightly over the top so the dumplings can steam for 7-10 minutes, or until the water is evaporated. Tilt the skillet around a couple times so the water can distribute evenly.
  7. Once the water is evaporated, use a spatula to release the potstickers from the bottom of the pan. Place the postickers on a paper towel lined plate to absorb the excess oil.
  8. Serve hot with dipping sauce!

For the dipping sauce: (proportions are estimate, add more or less of ingredients according to your tastes!)

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp sriracha
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

Directions:

Add all ingredients together in a small bowl, whisk together until the brown sugar is dissolved. Dip ya dumplings.

Let me know if you give these a go!

Cheers!


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