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POTSTICKERS

2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c water

1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 small Chinese (Napa) cabbage, cored and chopped
1 green onion, coarsely chopped
2 thumb-sized slices fresh ginger, minced
2 water chestnuts, chopped
1 t salt
1/2 t sugar
pinch white pepper
1 t sesame oil

5 T vegetable oil
1 c water

Hot chili oil
Red rice vinegar
Soy sauce

In a bowl, combine flour and water, mixing to form a ball. Remove
to a floured board and knead with your palm for about 3 minutes.
Shape into a ball, cover with a damp towel, and let stand for about
10 minutes.

Make the filling by combining the Filling ingredients above.
Refrigerate until ready to use.

To shape and assemble, knead dough for about 3 minutes. Roll into
a cylinder that is about 1 inch in diameter. Cut off the ends,
then cut into about 24 pieces, each about 3/4-inch wide. With the
cut side up, press the dough down with your palm to flatten. Use
a rolling pin to make pancakes about 2 1/2-3 inches in diameter.
(They get quite thin; that's what you want.)

Spoon 1 tablespoon of filling into the center of each pancake.
Fold the dough over to make a half circle and pleat the edges firmly
together.

To pan-fry, heat cast-iron or other heavy-bottom skillet over
moderate heat. Add 3 Tbsp oil, swirling to coat bottom. When oil
is hot, place potstickers, seam side up, in skillet and shake for
30 seconds. Pour in water, cover, and gently boil over moderate
heat for 7 to 8 minutes. When oil and water start to sizzle, add
remaining 2 Tbsp oil. Tip skillet to distribute oil evenly; watch
carefully (uncovered) to prevent sticking. When bottoms are brown
(usually several minutes later), remove from heat and carefully
lift out potstickers with spatula.

To serve, turn potstickers over (dark side up) and arrange on
serving platter. Combine chili oil, vinegar, and soy sauce in
proportions to suit your taste and offer sauce for dipping.
Alternatively, cut up a hot chili pepper into red rice vinegar.


You can freeze uncooked potstickers for later use, if you squeeze
out the water from the cabbage during preparation (in a colander
or cheesecloth). Freeze potstickers separately on cookie sheets
until firm, then put them in plastic bags.

When rolling out the pancakes, leave the centers slightly thicker
than the edges. A thicker center will hold up better during the
browning.

If you prefer, steam potstickers for about 12 minutes over boiling
water instead of pan-frying.

There are also now commercially available potsticker presses that
take care of folding and pleating; they're cheap and plastic and
work rather well.

The perfect potsticker is uniformly brown with a thick brown area
on the bottom (where it sticks to the pot); it seems that achieving
this only comes with practice. I tend to fry both sides a bit
before adding the water; this helps. Beware of too much heat; the
bottom will bubble and crack. This doesn't taste any different,
but doesn't look as nice.

If you don't cook the whole batch at once, store the potstickers
so that they don't touch; the dough tends to stick to itself, so
the potstickers may tear as you remove them.

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