Thursday, March 31, 2011

Potstickers with Curried Skins

Potstickers are comforting and timeless.  They can be made in minutes with packaged skins, add a few minutes more for homemade skins.  Although good packaged skins certainly make acceptable dumplings, fresh skins elevate the potsticker to another level.  Making your own skin allows you to vary the thickness of the wrapper according to your own tastes.  Some people prefer thinner, gyoza-like skins, whereas others like a more substantial wrapper.  Either way, you can make a couple of dozen skins quicker than you could run over to the store to pick up a package.  The taste and texture are also superior to what you might purchase.

As much as I like a traditional potsticker, these curried skins make a nice change of pace.  They also produce a lovely, saffron hued dumpling.  I'm not sure that I'd include them as part of a Chinese dinner, but as a stand alone appetizer with cocktails they are outstanding.

I used a pork, shrimp, and mushroom filling for these, but you could certainly adapt the filling to your own particular tastes or dietary restrictions.  The curry taste from the skins is prominent, but not overpowering.  Paired with a gin and tonic, what's not to like?

Curried Potsticker Skins
(recipe adapted from Dim Sum by Ellen Leong Blonder)

1 cup all purpose flour (plus extra for dusting the board)
2 tsp curry powder
pinch of salt
approximately 7 TBS lukewarm water

In a medium-sized bowl mix together ingredients until combined.  Turn the dough out on a well-flour board and knead until smooth. You want a fairly stiff, yet still pliable dough.  Roll into a 12-inch cylinder; then cut in half, giving you two 6-inch cylinders.  Dust with flour, cover with plastic, and allow the dough to rest for about 20 minutes at room temperature.

When ready to make the skins, cut each cylinder into 12--15 equal sized slices.  On a well floured surface roll each slice to form a 3-inch circle.  Fill with the filling of your choice.  Crimp the edges of the formed dumplings tight.  Note that when making your own skins, you don't need to moisten the edges of the dumplings with water to seal them as you do when using purchased skins.  Set filled dumplings on a well floured board or plate while you fill the remaining skins.

To cook the filled potstickers, heat a skillet and add 1 tablespoon of oil.  When it is almost smoking, arrange potstickers in the pan as close to each other as possible without touching.  Fry for 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat being careful not to burn them.  

When the bottoms are browned, pour in a half cup of water, cover the pan, and reduce the heat to low.  Simmer for about 5 minutes, until most of the water has evaporated.  Uncover, raise the heat to medium/medium-high and cook for another couple of minutes until all the water has evaporated and the potstickers are brown and crispy.  Serve warm with a soy and vinegar dip.

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