Saturday, May 29, 2010

Pot Stickers (Page 61)

RECIPE #1165

  • Date: Monday, May 3, 2010 -- 8pm
  • Location: Berkeley, CA
  • Kitchen: Our Temporary California Home
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Dining Companion: Ana
  • Recipe Rating: A-

I put off making this recipe because it was a bit labor intensive. Ana coming to dinner was just the special occasion I needed to get motivated to make it though. I started by making the filling. I combined Napa cabbage, ground pork, chives, sesame oil, soy sauce, sake, cornstarch, fresh ginger, and minced garlic. I then filled gyoza skins with the pork mixture, following the carefully outlined folding instructions in The Book to shape them. The resulting pot stickers looked about right. The picture below was taken before I attempted to cook them (and disaster struck!).

The Book indicated that the pot stickers should be cooked in a nonstick pan. I have plenty of nonstick at home, but in the house where we were living in Berkeley, I was using whatever cookware the woman we were renting from owned. And she apparently was not a believer in nonstick. By the time I realized I needed a nonstick pan, and there wasn't one in the house, I had already put enough effort into the recipe that I decided to plow ahead. I first fried the pot stickers in oil, then added water to the skillet and steamed them until they were cooked through. I then drizzled some more oil into the pan and fried them again, until golden brown. It was all going quite well, and they were looking beautiful, until I got to the part where I needed to remove them from the pan. They were completely adhered to the bottom of the pan. One cooking utensil after another failed me as I tried to extricate them from the pan intact. Eventually my special gentleman used his upper body strength to scrape them from the pan with a knife. The result: the sad, mangled pot stickers in the picture above. I served them anyway, with a dipping sauce made of soy sauce, rice vinegar, and Asian chili paste.

On the upside, these pot stickers were extremely tasty! The filling was flavorful and well seasoned. The gyoza skins were deliciously browned. And the dipping sauce complemented them perfectly. I can only imagine that if I had actually used a nonstick pan as instructed, they would have been awesome!

This recipe isn't online.

Hello from the mountains in Japan! It has been a fun few days. Yesterday morning I saw some sights with my friend Thomas, who lives in Tokyo. Then in the afternoon my special gentleman and I traveled with some other mathematicians from Tokyo to the mountains. To be entirely honest, I am not exactly sure where we are. We first rode the bullet train for a little over an hour. That was followed by a 45 minute taxi ride. Our final destination wasn't too accessible by car, so we traveled the last mile or so on foot. The place we are staying is essentially a huge mountain cabin. The building is beautiful, as is the scenery. There are maybe 30 or so of us here, and each day is scheduled with several talks. This workshop is in my special gentleman's field rather than mine, but the morning talks are meant to be introductory, so I have been going to those. The first floor of the building has a large classroom area as well as a dining room. At each meal we are served several entrees along with rice, soup, noodles, at least three types of salad/vegetables/fruit -- all of it traditional Japanese cuisine. Also traditional to Japanese culture, there are communal baths here. There is one bath for the women and one for the men.

Being in this remote place is quite a different glimpse of Japan than our time in Tokyo. During a break this afternoon we went for a leisurely walk through a marsh, which was quite nice. We will stay here for two more nights, then head back to Tokyo for a night before flying back the US. It has been such a nice trip!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now you're talkin'! You can cook in excess of a thousand recipes, but this is the sort of food I mostly enjoy eating.