Pork and Shrimp Potstickers
These pan-fried dumplings are traditionally eaten to celebrate Chinese New Year. The trickiest part of making potstickers is, of course, the folding and pleating of the dumpling wrapper around the filling. However, if you gather your friends and family for a potsticker-making party in honor of the Year of the Ram, you'll be eating dumplings in no time!
Makes about 30 dumplings
1½ teaspoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1½ teaspoons sesame oil
¾ pound ground pork
¼ pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, then chopped
¼ cup chopped garlic chives*
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced garlic
30 (3½-inch) dumpling wrappers
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
To make a dipping sauce, stir together the rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, and ½ teaspoon of the sesame oil in a small bowl.
In a medium bowl, combine the pork, shrimp, ¼ cup chives, ginger, garlic, the remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, and the remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Mix well.
Place a dumpling wrapper in the palm of your non-dominant hand. Spoon a rounded teaspoon of filling into the center of the wrapper. Dip your finger in a small bowl of water and use it to moisten the edge of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half, around the filling, and pinch the edges closed. Make 3 pleats on the right side of the dumpling, pinching each pleat firmly to seal, then make 3 pleats on the left side. The pleats should all point toward the center in order to give the dumpling a crescent shape. Set the dumpling on a platter lined with parchment or wax paper, and continue to form the remaining dumplings.
(At this point, the dumplings can be chilled in the refrigerator, loosely covered with plastic, for up to 4 hours. Or, they can be frozen in a single layer, then transferred to a plastic bag and kept frozen for months.)
Heat a wide pan with a tight-fitting lid -- nonstick works wonders for cooking potstickers, though any good, heavy pan will do -- over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Swirl in the vegetable oil and let it heat up for another minute or so. Carefully place one layer of dumplings into the pan, arranging them so that they don't touch one another. Cook, uncovered for 1 - 2 minutes, until the undersides of the potstickers are nicely browned. Reduce the heat to medium-low, pour in a couple tablespoons of water, cover the pan, and steam the potstickers for about 3 minutes. Remove the lid and let the water evaporate. Try shaking the pan to see if the potstickers will loosen themselves from the bottom. If they remain stuck, turn off the heat and allow them to cool in the pan for a minute or two. Lift the potstickers out of the pan and place them on a warm plate. Serve immediately, with the dipping sauce on the side.
To cook a second batch of potstickers, thoroughly wipe the pan dry and then heat it up once again and proceed from there. (Leftover water in the pan can cause the next batch of potstickers to get really stuck.)
*Note: Look for garlic chives at Asian grocery stores or, if you happen to live near the Wednesday farmers market in Santa Monica, pick up a bunch from the Coleman Family Farm stand. You can also substitute onion chives or scallions for the garlic chives.