Happy Cinco de Mayo! Me and my loved ones are celebrating by eating leftover homemade Asian food and catching up on emails. Yay! I know, I know. Everyone uses Cinco de Mayo/ this weekend as an excuse to drink tequila-heavy Margaritas and indulge in guacamole and tacos. I mean why not, right? Independence for Mexico! Today we’re all Mexican! It’s like St. Patrick’s Day when we’re all Irish. Well, so… not really.
(You didn’t get the memo that Cinco de Mayo is actually not celebrating Mexican independence like many of us like to think? There was some battle and so now everyone decided we’d commemorate it by eating Mexican food and getting crrrazy. Oh, me neither)
So I was in the mood for Asian food (I know Asia is a big continent, but I really have no idea which country this food is from.) I got out my Ming Tsai East Meets West cookbook that I’ve never used and found Pork and Ginger Pot Stickers (duh, delicious!) and Braised Chicken with Shittake mushrooms and Snap Peas. The recipes sounded totally do-able based on my careful read-through.
Now when you become famous and have a restaurant called Blue Ginger like Ming Tsai, making homemade pot stickers is probably a no brainer. Your mom taught you how to roll the dumpling dough and salt the cabbage and stir it in with the pork, ginger, soy sauce, etc., so you just mix it up, and you roll out some pot stickers. No big thing. So I read and executed the recipe with a somewhat cavalier attitude and decided that hey, I could totally make pot stickers FROM SCRATCH just like Ming. No store-bought dumpling wrappers for me. Ming gives the recipes for the dumpling dough right in his book. Easy. Done. Bam. Follow along with me – you can do it too.
Pork and Ginger Pot Stickers
Step 1: Boil 2 cups of water. You may not need all of it, but you boil it anyway.
Step 2: You measure 4 cups of flour and a ½ teaspoon of salt in a bowl and slowly add the boiling water (remember: you might not need all of it!) while stirring with chopsticks (this is where I started to get cocky. Look at me, I’m making homemade dumpling dough AND stirring with chopsticks. I am AWESOME. So I added all of the water. This may have been the beginning of my downfall. Unfortunately I forgot to get pictures of these steps.)
Step 3: You knead the dough and let it rest for an HOUR. Ming doesn’t say whether to refrigerate it after an hour if you’re not ready to use it or not. He just says an HOUR. Period. I of course wasn’t organized and left it out for more than an hour. It will be fine, I told myself. And it seemed fine… at first.
Step 4: Divide dough in half. Roll one half out into a long log, 1 inch in diameter. Okay, done. Cut off ½ inch pieces and roll them into thin circles, 3 inches in diameter. Umm…the dough is sticking to the counter and rolling pin. How do I fix it?
Step 5: Add flour to the counter and rolling pin and try to roll out dough again. My “circles” are a little jagged but that’s how you know they’re homemade. The dough is still sticking and these circles look like mini Pangaeas.
Step 6: Try again. You’ve done 4 perfectly acceptable ones, just keep on going. Deep breaths. Don’t get frustrated. But these stupid dough balls are not cooperating with me and they keep sticking to the stupid rolling pin and countertop. RRRRRrrrgh.
Step 7: Wad up the STUPID balls of dough that don’t give a damn about how hard you’ve tried to make the little buggers into something delicious and how close it is to the time when your friends are arriving and you still haven’t taken a shower even though you went running this morning and is this how you get rewarded for trying to make something new????
Step 8: Take a break. Throw that stupid dough away and run to the nearest Asian market and buy some frickin dumpling wrappers. You’ve done your time.
(ahh – insert sound clip of the angels singing and a golden glow of happiness surrounding me as I find dumpling wrappers, perfectly round in a neat package).
Step 9: Sigh a big sigh and fill the dumpling wrappers with delicious pork and cabbage mixture.
Step 10: Heat up a skillet with some oil. Cook them the way the recipe says so that all your hard work and frustration pays off and you can enjoy the juicy, salty, chewy, and delicious results. Realize that at this point you’re too lazy to take any more pictures and to tell people how to make them. At this point, no one wants to have the same experience as you.
Step 11: Dig in with your friends (or by yourself) and eat with delicious dipping sauce. It will initially seem like way too many, but leftovers are delicious, and they’re even good cold from the fridge after a round of Scategories and a few bottles of white wine or the next morning 🙂
Happy Pot sticker eating!