Saturday, 8 October 2011

Guotie Pot Stickers from Feeding the Dragon

I love to travel. Not outside, mind you, where it can be wet or cold or.. hot. But within the comfort of my own kitchen, where it is always just right (okay, sometimes a little warm) and there are puppies to keep me company.

But travel through cooking- that's for me. And if a beautifully photographed adventure through China falls crosses my desk, complete with recipes- I'm in heaven.

Mary Kate Tate and Nate Tate, a brother and sister team whose names are entirely too adorable, remind me of a young Alford and Duguid. Their enthusiasm for China, inspired originally by Nate's studying abroad at Tsinghua University in Beijing, is contagious.

Both siblings speak fluent Mandarin and have turned their passion for all things China into a gorgeous book. Feeding the Dragon is the culmination of a three month trek across the country, discovering fascinating places and people and, of course, food. The many recipes included in this culinary travelogue reflect the diversity of Chinese cooking and flavours, and the chapters are divided by region.

Chapters include:
Beijing
Shanghai
Fujian
Hong Kong
Macau
Yunnan
Tibet
Sichuan
Xinjiang
and Basics

 Feeding the Dragon
A Culinary Travelogue Through China with Recipes

by Nate Tate, Mary Kate Tate
Paperback, 9 x 10 in., 304 pages
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Take a culinary vacation in your kitchen - and discover the delicious diversity of authentic Chinese food!

And check out Nate and Mary Kate's blog at FeedingtheDragon.com 
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In our KitchenPuppy test kitchen, we whipped up the Guotie Pot Stickers from Shanghai. They are unbelievably delicious. Seriously. I am staring at these pictures and desperately wanting more. 
True, they are a labour of love- but you're worth it. ☺

Guotie Pot Stickers (Shanghai)
From Feeding the Dragon

The word for “pot stickers” in Chinese is guotie, literally “pot-stick,” a name they have earned from their cooking method. Chinese cooks first steam guotie in giant flat-bottomed iron pans. When all the water is absorbed by the dumplings, they are left in the pan to get crispy and “stick” to the pan. We recommend using a nonstick skillet when making these so that the dumplings don’t actually stick to the pan forever. These Guotie Pot Stickers make amazing appetizers served with the dipping sauce. We like to make more dumplings than we can eat and freeze the extra for later.

Makes about 36 dumplings

Dipping Sauce
1 cup Chinese black rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar

Dumplings
12 ounces ground beef or ground pork
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
3/4 cup minced green onions, green and white parts
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
Pinch of salt
About 36 round Dumpling Wrappers (purchased premade, or see page 258)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup water

To make the dipping sauce, whisk together the black rice vinegar, ginger, sesame oil, cilantro, soy sauce, and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.

To make the dumplings, combine the meat, soy sauce, cornstarch, ginger, green onions, sugar, sesame oil, and salt in a bowl and stir in one direction with a chopstick until just mixed. Fill a small bowl with some water. Hold a dumpling wrapper in the palm of your hand and place 1 heaping teaspoon of filling in the center. Dip your finger in the bowl of water and run it around the edge to help make a good seal. Lightly fold the wrapper over on itself, but don’t touch the edges together. Starting at one end, use your fingers to make a small pleat on the side of the wrapper closest to you, then press the pleat into the other side and pinch together firmly. Keep making pleats down the dumpling opening in this way until completely sealed (see Dumpling Folding Tips on page 255). Repeat this process with the remaining filling and wrappers. Freeze any dumplings that you don’t intend to cook immediately (see Dumpling Freezing Tips on page 256).

Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place 12 dumplings pleat side up in the pan so that they are just touching each other. Cover and cook for 1 minute. Decrease the heat to medium-low, pour 1/4 cup of the water into the pan, and cook, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes, until all the water is absorbed by the dumplings and their bottoms are crusty brown. Repeat this process 2 more times with the remaining dumplings, oil, and water. Serve the dumplings with a side of the dipping sauce.