Friday, December 11, 2009

CSA week two - potsticker redux

When I set out looking for recipes, I wanted to find a pork and garlic chive recipe distinct from all the other sorts of Chinese dumplings. Not only didn't I find one, I can't even find a name for them distinct from the rest. Pork and chive seems to be the basic default from which those variations stem.

Given that discovery, there wasn't anything stopping me from winging it. Not that there ever really is, but if there is a traditional recipe for what I'm making, I feel obliged to at least try it. Since there is only a continuum of options, I just looked at what I had around and tossed some ingredients together.

1/4 cup pork
1/4 cup beef
1 bunch garlic chives, finely chopped (~1/2 cup)
1 inch ginger finely grated (with a microplane is ideal)
6 small dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated
2-3 ounces firm tofu
1 Tablespoon rice wine
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 drizzle sesame oil
salt and white pepper to taste
no garlic
no scallion
no cabbage (so the chives are really the star of the show)

1. Grind beef and pork, until it doesn't quite form a paste.

2. Grind together mushrooms and tofu. The broken down tofu had an unexpectly sticky texture which let me do without the egg I was going to add as a binder.

3. Add everything else and mix well together. Chill for a whle to make it easier to work with.

I had a little trouble filling my wrappers. They've been in and out of the freezer a few times now and the edges are getting dried out and difficult to make stick together. I ended up bundling some of the dumplings up in burrito-style wraps just to get them to hold together. I had more trouble just with my lack of facility with the dumpling filling-process. I underfilled the dumplings and didn't get all the air out, so these aren't very elegant.

But, pretty or otherwise, the cooked up just fine. Surprisingly, despite the wrapping problem, the batch I made were all sealed air tight so they blew up like balloons during cooking and then collapsed back down.

The filling's a little dry, so maybe the egg would have been a good idea after all. Or maybe a little more of the rice wine and soy sauce as a boost in those flavors wouldn't hurt. Then again, I'm not using a dipping sauce which solve both those problems.

The beef isn't bad, but the combination of beef and chives brings thoughts of beef stew topped with chive dumplings or steak and baked potato--neither of which are helping me enjoy these dumplings. But that's my brain's fault, not the dumplings'. I tried something different and something different is what I got. There are some plusses here even if beef may not have been the best choice. The tofu binder is pretty interesting and the chive flavor is coming through nicely.

No comments: