Most of the time, I don’t really mind being gluten-free.
I’ve gotten used to GF bread (don’t eat much anyways). I’m better off skipping the cupcakes and such at the bakery anyways (with a notable exception). But there are two siren calls that still wail to me: doughnuts and Asian dumplings.
Not much I can do about the doughnuts right now, but I saw a post recently on Brokea** Gourmet that rekindled my hankering for potstickers, the close cousin of traditional steamed dumplings.
I’d found myself on the aforementioned site because I’m bootstrapping a new spinoff business, one that you’ll hear all about very soon. Things are going well, but the fancy food budget has been, well, constrained. The recipe fit right in, using small amounts of inexpensive ground pork or turkey and some other bits that I mostly happened to have around.
I probably would have rather used pork, although I usually don’t eat much of the stuff, but my local Kroger didn’t have any ground pork on hand. I picked up the turkey instead, remembering that the recipe said it would be fine with the addition of an egg yolk for added moisture.
It took me a while to find the rice paper, but when I did, I realized what a great deal it was. For a little over $2, I had like a bazillion wrappers for my little packets of Asian awesome. I couldn’t wait.
I made the mistake of coming home to cook dinner right after a major shopping trip. Hungry. Panicked. Must. Have. Dumplings. NOOWWWW.
In a move of total desperation, I put the husband on rice duty. Just cook some white rice, sauté the veggies and throw them together, I said. He looked at me like I was speaking Korean. “You did cook before we got married, right?” More blank stare. He ended up doing pretty well, despite charring the zucchini a bit — the daughter asked how I made it because it was so good. Heh.
Meanwhile, I got after the cumbersome task of the dumplings. The filling was easy enough, if you’re comfy with your knife skills; just some mincing and a quick stir. The wrappers, however, were a little more tricky.
In this recipe, you wet two large pieces of rice paper and stick them together, then cut smaller circles out of that using a cup or small bowl as a guide. A little cumbersome and time-consuming, but I got one sheet done, resulting in four small circles. Yay! Oh wait…I want to make more than four dumplings. Fill those, struggle with sticky edges, smoosh closed however they’ll smoosh. Repeat. Cook those, and repeat again.
Since you really can’t cook more than eight at a time anyways, the process was very staggered. After the second batch of eight, I was done. I could have eaten twenty more of them, but I was tired of it. And hungry. Darned shopping!
Everything said, these were delicious. If I do it again (and I probably will), I’ll start early, when I’m NOT HUNGRY, and make a bazillion dumplings all at once. To do this, I’ll have to keep them on a non-stick surface, maybe a Silpat or wax paper, covered with a wet towel to keep the wet rice paper from drying out and getting crunchy. Doable.
Also, I think I’ll fry them a bit more on each side before the steaming step. The linked recipe didn’t suggest this, but the rice paper did often taste a bit gummy on the side that didn’t meet the pan directly. A bit of oil and a little flip before steaming wouldn’t kill anyone.
Now that this subject is broached, maybe I’ll try a more authentic pastry-style dumpling next time, like this one by Gluten Free on a Shoestring. Or, I’ll just make a bazillion of the rice paper ones.
Either way, honey, you’re on rice and veggie duty. Fair warning.