Saturday, October 07, 2006

Shrimp Potstickers

Our guests arrive tonight and I've been doing some cooking to get things ready in advance. They are not arriving until about 9 or 10 tonight, so I have plenty of time to squeeze in some advance prep, and a little blogging.

Dinner tomorrow revolves around a Korean Beef BBQ recipe that my friend shared with me. We liked it so much that she offered to bring the special cut of meat that is traditionally used for this recipe.

To go along with the beef, I'll be making Shrimp Potstickers, a side of grilled veggies tossed in an Asian-style dressing and some rice in the rice cooker. I'm not a big fan of Asian desserts, so I'll be breaking with the Asian theme with a pumpkin cheesecake that is chilling in the fridge.

Shrimp PotstickersPhoto from Martha Stewart

Shrimp Potstickers
First, the potstickers. This is a Martha Stewart recipe that is top-notch. If I had to pick the best appetizer that's come out of my kitchen, it would probably be this one. It's better than some I've eaten in Asian restaurants. They are time-intensive and messy to cook, so I don't make them very often. This time around, I decided to try preparing them a day in advance and then warming them in the oven. I'm sure they are best fresh from the pan, but I don't like doing time-intensive, messy cooking when I have guests I'd rather be spending time with.

I've made these potstickers quite a few times, and each time it's been a learning experience. Since I have learned the hard way, maybe I can share some tips to make it easier if you decide to give these a try.

There is a difference between gyoza wrappers and wonton wrappers other than that one is round (gyoza) and the othe square (wonton). If you can find gyoza wrappers, I've had much better luck with these than with wonton wrappers. The gyoza wrappers that I have used in the past have been thicker and sturdier than wonton wrappers. They hold up better to the frying process and they respond better to the pleating - both in flexibility and in being better suited to pleating because they are round.

If all you can find is wonton wrappers, you can still make these work nicely. However, I have found that to make wonton wrappers work, I had to make a few changes. First, I found that wonton wrappers, because they are more delicate, tend to stick more - I had several disasters trying to do wonton wrappers in the cast iron skillet (but had very good luck with the gyoza wrappers). So, I now do them in a nonstick skillet. You don't need as much oil - maybe a teaspoon or so versus over a tablespoon - another plus if you want to cut down the oil.

The wonton wrappers I found were not quite square. On the back they show how you can fold them over and make a little triangle - kind of hard to do with a rectangle. So, the first thing I did was to trim off a bit of each wonton.

Gyoza Wrapper
Then I put a teaspoon of filling in the middle of each square.

Next, moisten the outer edge of the wrapper with water and fold over, pressing along the edges to seal.

I found that the wonton wrappers I was using did not respond well to pleating - they kept cracking - so I modified my design. I then set the dumpling upright and curved the corners up:

Now they were ready to fry/steam. To make potstickers, you really fry and steam. Frying gives it the nice crispy bottom - which is what makes a posticker a potsticker - without the crunchy bottom, it's just a dumpling - still very good, but not a potsticker. The steaming cooks the filling and tenderizes the wrapper. From this point on, you can follow the recipe instructions pretty much to the letter. Although, as I said, you won't need as much oil if you're using a nonstick skillet.

These are sooooo good. I'll let you know how the day ahead prepartion works out. I'm really hoping it works! They do take some work and it does take some practice to get adept at pleating them (unless you use the wontons and don't pleat) and exactly how to cook them according to what kind of wrapper and/or pan you're using , but once you get the hang of it, they are really not hard - time consuming, but not difficult.

I will also be serving a small brunch tomorrow morning before or after church. I know I want to make an egg casserole of some kind, but I haven't decided which one yet. I'll be serving the casserole with some of the muffins I made earlier in the week and stashed in the freezer (the Cranberry Whole Wheat, the Pumpkin Apple, and the Apple) and fried apples.

Not sure when I'll get the chance to blog again, but stay tuned for the recipes for the Korean Beef BBQ recipe, the pumpkin cheesecake and a recipe for the brunch casserole, if it turns out well.


  1. Anonymous8:38 PM

    Oh my... potstickers are one of my weaknesses. I've never had a shrimp potsticker though. I will be adding this one to my to try pile, they sound incredible. Thanks for the recommendation!

  2. Hi Erika. They are worth the effort. :) They were devoured in about 10 minutes. That's the only thing I don't like - something takes a couple of hours to make and only a couple of minutes to eat. :(

  3. Anonymous9:12 PM

    I LOVE potstickers! I've had luck preparing them and freezing them. I've only done pork ones, and I found that the easiest (for me) way to do them was in little 'purses'. I would use my thumb and index finger, drape the wonton over, push down for a pocket, and then fill the pocket. I'd then bring the 4 corners together and gently squeeze. I then freeze them on cookie sheets before putting them in a freezer bag.
    Yum...I may need to make some this weekend as I have company coming the following week.

  4. Jennifer - You know, I meant to hold a few aside to try freezing them, but forgot. Gald to know it works! I love things I can make in advance. As much as I love to spoil my guests, I hate spending the entire visit in the kitchen.

    I tried posting a comment to your blog, but the beta is not letting me - your haircut looks great! Pretty color too. :)

  5. Anonymous9:36 PM

    Sorry about the beta thing--I know other non-beta people have left comments, so maybe it was just a bad day! I wouldn't initially let me post comments on non-beta sites unless I did so anonymously, but it looks like they got that worked out.

    Thanks on the haircut--I just have to add that it's my natural color too. :) OK, so by saying that I sound vain. I'm just one of the few people I know who has never highlighted/colored her hair and I hope to never start. :) Many more days like today might make me prematurely gray and change that thought though.

  6. Okay, fine Jennifer, rub it in - now when I really could use a highlight and everything. ;) :) :)

    I still don't have the option to switch to Beta yet. I hate being left out. ;)