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Vegetarian Potstickers

September 11, 2007

I cook a good amount of vegetarian food at home, and these potstickers are quick, easy, and tasty.  There’s not much of a recipe, actually, more a technique than anything else.  Once you’ve done it a few times, you can use anything you want as a filling.

I took a few chinese eggplants (the same ones from Quetzal Farms as in the recent post…), a couple of Paprika peppers and a few zucchinis, tossed them with lots of salt and pepper and olive oil and roasted them at high heat until they were quite caramelized and thoroughly cooked.  In this case I sliced the eggplant and the squashes in half lengthwise, and left the peppers whole.

Once they were completely cooked I let them steam off for a few minutes, then removed the tops of the peppers, added in about a 1/2 cup of cooked rice I had leftover, and mashed them together while stirring somewhat aggressively with a wooden spoon.  If you’re feeling persnickety, the peppers can be carefully peeled and de-seeded prior to combining with the rest of the melange, but in this case I said screw that.  It’s a pretty rustic dish, and if everything is really well cooked, the skins and seeds won’t bother anyone.

For the amount of veggies shown, I also added about 1/2 of a cracked and whipped egg to the mixture to help it stick together once it was steamed.  The remaining egg can be used to brush the gyoza skins.

Gyoza skins or wonton wrappers can be found at most grocery stores, and I’m fortunate here in the Bay Area to have access to many many Asian markets in many different formats.  These were purchased at Tokyo Fish Market in Berkeley, and they also happen to have some of the best fish of any retailer around.  I kid you not.

Take out about 10-12 gyoza wrappers at a time, keeping the remaining skins covered with a damp paper towel, and lay them out on your work surface.  Brush them lightly with the eggwash and place about a Tablespoon or so of the mixture onto each one.  Fold the skins over the mixture, starting on the left side, and pinch the skins together tight to the lump of vegetables in the middle in such a way so as to expel any air bubbles.  You want to squeeze them gently near the filling, but more firmly so at the edges so that the flaps really stick to one another.  Don’t worry if some are slightly overfilled, simply remove a bit of the filling and re-fold.  You can afford to make a mistake or two on each one, though once you’ve covered an entire skin in filling, it may be time to start with a fresh one.

As you finish each one, place it onto a plate dusted generously with cornstarch.  Once you have all of your filling used up, prepare a med-large pot of salted water and bring it to a boil.

Cook the potstickers for about 4-5 minutes in batches of 6-8 at a time.  Once they come out of the water, lightly douse them with a fine and clear oil if you’re not going to eat them right away; safflower works well.  Use just enough to keep them from sticking.

If you’re going to eat them later, you can simply store them in the fridge and steam them to order or re-poach them…you can also fry them in a hot wok with oil.  You can also use the same wonton skins for a more European-style ravioli.  Go nuts with them.

I had avocados and radishes with mine, and a quick dipping sauce made of one part each Tamari, Mirin Rice Vinegar and Sesame Oil.

Try making them with finely chopped shrimps mixed with a sprinkling of egg, some chopped scallions and ginger, or possibly ground pork, giner, garlic and black bean paste, or……!

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