My holiday traditions have changed greatly since I moved away from my family and married. For many years, I was content to do Christmas as my husband’s family did: visiting his grandfather on the farm on Christmas Eve, doing the Christmas day thing with my husband’s parents, and then Christmas dinner at whoever’s turn it was to host Christmas dinner since most of his family lives in one town nearby.
But then, my husband’s father and grandfather passed.
We’ve been trying to fill the empty places they left behind. Last Christmas, we invited my mother in law to our place. We opened presents as my family used to do, in the magical dark of Christmas Eve, in front of the fireplace. We shared hot chocolate, and then ate Chinese take-out for dinner. It may be a strange tradition, but it’s my tradition, and nobody here wants to eat heavily the night before the big turkey dinner!
Take-out was expedient last year, but this year, I’m pre-prepared. I’ve got these savoury bites of deliciousness called pot stickers nicely nestled in the freezer.
Pot stickers are meaty, two-bite, pan-fried dumplings: a won-ton wrapper filled with ground pork, fine-minced veggies, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil. A few minutes on the counter to soften the frozen exterior, a quick browning, and a few minutes steam, and they’re all ready to go in about 20 minutes right out of the ice box.
They’re a bit of a labour of love that traditionally I saved as an appetizer for large parties because of the prep time and quantity. I’m totally grateful to my friend Ingrid at The Cozy Apron for her tips on freezing them, because now I can make batches and enjoy them a few at a time any time I feel like it.
When we’re talking “traditional” … okay, these aren’t exactly traditional and authentic. I’m not a huge fan of the cabbage and water chestnuts inside the dumpling, even though I love both vegetables. I’m a veggies-on-the-outside sort of gal. If you like the veggies inside, I’ve got instructions on changing the recipe in the notes.
My only lament is that I can’t find the round won-ton wrappers anywhere; I must make do with the square version. Corners make it a little bit more difficult to stuff the wrappers to the brim, and so they tend to wrinkle a bit more than the round ones when steamed, but they still taste delicious.
|Prep time||45 minutes|
|Cook time||10 minutes|
|Total time||55 minutes|
|Meal type||Appetizer, Main Dish|
|Misc||Freezable, Gourmet, Pre-preparable|
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch pepper
- won ton wrappers (round is easier to fill, but square will do)
- chicken broth
- light oil
- 1lb ground pork (ground chicken may be substituted)
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons Riesling or Sherry
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 pinch garlic powder
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon rice or white vinegar
- drizzle sesame oil or chili oil (depending on savoury or hot preference)
For more traditional pot stickers, you may reduce the ground pork to 1/2 lb and add 1/2 (medium) head chopped cabbage and some minced water chestnuts/bamboo shoots.
|Step 1.||In a bowl, combine the pork, sliced onions, soy sauce, wine, sesame oil, egg, corn starch, and seasonings, mixing with your hands to blend well.|
|Step 2.||Fill wrappers one at a time with 1 heaping teaspoon of filling, and seal with a water-moistened fingertip. Crimp the seam by folding parts over on themselves and pressing firmly.|
|Cooking From Fresh|
|Step 3.||Cook pot stickers 7 at a time, max. |
In a skillet fitted with a lid, heat a tablespoon of oil on medium heat. Dip both sides of the pot sticker in the oil, and then fry both sides, uncovered, until golden. Using the lid to protect yourself from spattering, carefully add 1/4 cup of chicken broth to the pan and steam the pot stickers, flipping once, until the liquid is almost fully evaporated and the pot stickers are cooked through. Drain on a paper towel before serving with dipping sauce.
|Step 4.||To store pot stickers, lay flat on an ungreased cookie sheet in a single layer, and place the cookie sheet in the freezer. Once frozen solid, the pot stickers can be transferred to a Ziplock bag.|
|Cooking From Frozen|
|Step 5.||Take pot stickers out of the freezer and allow to defrost about 10 minutes before cooking (enough time to allow the wrapper to soften a little). Follow the instructions for cooking from fresh, except use 1/2 cup of chicken broth to steam the pot stickers. Cooking time will increase by a few minutes to fully cook through.|
|Step 6.||Combine the dipping sauce ingredients in a small side bowl. Dipping sauce serves 1 doz. pot stickers, so increase as necessary.|