There is a reason every culture has a wrapped dumpling-y food. Every single part of the world effing LOVES DUMPLINGS. Asian people and Eastern Euro people are probably the dumpling winners, which isn’t a surprise. Ravioli is up there. The British have generally freaky food (jellied eels? black pudding? umm) but acceptable dumplings. Even Armenia, which is 50% of John’s ancestry and also a relatively worthless nation for food, has a double-fried meat dumpling that seems pretty cool.
When you are tired from the all-day beer, grilling and Thor marathon you had the previous day, going grocery shopping sucks even more than usual. And when you have to drive to TWO different Whole Foods within a 1 mile radius to find freaking wonton wrappers, you remember why being adventurous for the sake of your food blog is a really stupid idea.
We bastardize a lot of cultures here, like Mexico and Philadelphia, and this is no exception. According to a very impassioned Wikipedia article on this topic, apparently we can’t officially call these potstickers because we used the wrong dough and failed at wrapping them the ‘right’ way.
But they are totally potstickers. They are very easy to make. And if you make a lot of them, you can freeze them in their uncooked form and re-fry them in situations when you are not equipped to cook either because you are tired and drunk, and are too poor and/or ashamed to order another Papa John’s.
Not that this ever happens to us.
Pan Fried Beef Dumplings (adapted from The Meal Planner)
1/2 lb ground beef, from sirloin
1/3 cup green onions, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp dry cooking sherry
3/4 tbsp canola oil
3/4 tbsp sesame oil (we know these measurements don’t have their own spoons, but hopefully you know to add fractions)
1 package of wonton wrappers (found in the dairy section of Whole Foods… because that’s a logical place for it)
Salt + pepper
Water and 1 tsp cornstarch, for dough sealing
Mince the green onions to very fine shreds. Add the onions, beef, ginger, water, soy sauce, sherry, canola and sesame oils to a bowl and hand-mix. It will look and sound really unappetizing. Cover with foil and throw in the fridge for 30 minutes.
If you’re anything like us you will take this waiting period to eat some expensive cheese with honey and bizarro crackers.
Mix the cornstarch into a bowl of water. Lay out a sheet of foil for the dumplings. Prep a square of the dough by wetting the edges with a finger dipped in cornstarch-water (to stick the things together). Spoon a ball of the meat mix into the center of the wonton, and fold it rangoon-style to make a little pocket. Once you finish all the wrapping, heat canola oil in a nonstick skillet (one with a lid) over high heat and get two things ready: the lid to this pan, and 1/2 cup of water. Put the dumplings on for 2 minutes until the bottoms start to fry a little, then add the water and immediately slam the cover on. Drop the heat to low and let them steam for 12 minutes. Lift the lid and turn the heat up to medium to re-fry the bottoms and crisp the dough, and remove when the bottoms are golden brown and firm.
Serve with a soy sauce & rice wine vinegar dipping bowl.
Word of advice: don’t promise the extras to your dumpling-loving roommate. There will not be leftovers and anger will happen.