Thursday, October 9, 2014

Recipe #13: Pork Shu Mei, a.k.a. Mrs. Wu's Potstickers

When my late husband and I lived in San Francisco, we really missed the Chinese food we used to get back in Chicago, where we were from.  One of the things we did try for the first time while in San Francisco were potstickers.  We loved them.  However, they all seemed to be made a different way.  Some skins were thick, some were thin, the pork in some was extremely fatty, some didn't even have much filling.  Enter Mrs. Wu, a neighbor who actually lived right next door to us, and better yet, made potstickers from scratch.  She didn't need to invite me twice in order to learn her version of potstickers, and one where the skins were thin, the pork was somewhat lean and the amount of filling just right.  That was back in 1985.  I still make them today, and even though they may seem a little daunting to make, after a few times, you really get rolling.  If you like potstickers, I really think you will enjoy this recipe. 

P.S.  This recipe is dedicated to Terri...

1 1/4 lbs ground pork                                                1 tbsp cornstarch
  fairly lean, but with some fat                                 1 tbsp dry sherry
2 tbsp soy sauce                                                         1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced                                             4 green onions, both white and green, chopped
1 tbsp brown sugar                                                    1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp oyster sauce                                                    3 stems bok choy, just green part, chopped fine
1 pkg goyza wrappers*                                             canola oil for frying

Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl except the wrappers.  I use my hands for this as I feel they are the best tool.  It will take about a minute to make sure everything is evenly incorporated.  Once that is done, take the wrappers out the package and put them on a small plate, covered with a damp napkin.  They dry out quickly so this insures they stay pliable.   Next, fill a small bowl with water and place that next to the wrappers.  Lastly, have a few cookie sheets lined with parchment paper ready.  I put 6 gyoza on my cutting board at a time, (see picture below).   I stick my index and third fingers in the bowl and go around the top half edge of the wrapper...let's say from 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock.  This will insure the wrapper sticks to itself after you seal.  Place a heaping tbsp of filling in the middle of each wrapper.  Fold over to match edges and press down all the way around.  At this point, you can just leave them like this, (see picture below), or you can fold the wrapper over itself a little at the right, middle and left, (see picture of potstickers on cookie sheet).  It does have a little stretch to do this, but even if you choose to keep them simple, you may tear the skin.  If it's just a little, you should be able to work with the wrapper, but if it tears about 1/2" or more, toss it out.  By the time you're done, you may have some meat mixture left, you may some wrappers all my times of making these, I have never hit the mark perfectly.  You can cook the meat mixture on its own if you would like.  So, if you want to freeze these, you can place a damp paper towel over your beautiful potstickers and place in the freezer.  Easier said than done if you have a side-by-side.  I just acquired one last year, and I am not a fan.  I miss my full-length freezer where I could put a huge cookie sheet in.  When frozen, you should be able to pick them up off the parchment, and place in a freezer Ziploc bag.  Take out any time you want to cook some up, and follow the next step.  In a large skillet, heat 3 tbsp canola oil on medium/high heat.  Place potstickers in pan, not touching one another.  When that is done, add about half cup of water, and place the lid on the pan.  The water will actually steam the potstickers until they are pretty much cooked through, and the oil which is left will give them a crispy bottom.  Yes, if you are new to this, you will be checking a few times to see whether you need to add a little more water, and if the potstickers have a crispy bottom.  I use a pancake turner to do this.  Place on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb excess grease.  In the last picture, the potstickers are cooked, the light was brighter.  Bon appetit, and here's to you, Mrs. Wu!

* You can find gyoza wrappers in the produce section of your grocery store, next to won ton wrappers.  Gyoza are always round, wonton or eggroll wrappers, square.

Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup rice vinegar                                               1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp garlic, minced                                               1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tsp sesame oil

Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl.  Use to dip potstickers.


1 comment:

  1. I made the potstickers today after the Seahawks WIN. Cooked about a dozen and froze the rest. Great flavor! First time making potstickers – easy to follow – although mine were not as pretty as yours.