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Porkless pot sticker fillings?

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Hi all, I'm on a bit of a pot sticker kick (used this recipe for starters: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mi... ) and added some ground turkey to see how that would work out (tasty but not quiiiiiiite right).

I knooooooow, I've read threads about fav pot sticker fillings, but can not find even one when I try to search. Would very much appreciate pointers--whether they are to existing threads that are hiding from my search "skills" or paraphrases of your favorite fillings.

Thanks a million!

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  1. 1/4 cup chopped cilantro?! Come on Ming, what were you thinking?

    Regular cabbage, fatty ground chicken (this might be hard to find- you might be able to get away with ground white meat and rendered fat- maybe), ginger, garlic, chives (probably fresh). Those are your main players. The cabbage will probably need to be boiled/steamed and pressed to get the water out prior to making the filling.

    As with most Chinese takeout savory dishes, there's probably some sweetener in the actual filling. If it's good cabbage (hard to find these days), it should be bringing some sweetness to the party, but I wouldn't rule out adding some additional sweetener.

    Some soy sauce, but not enough to effect the color (chicken pot stickers should be pale).

    9 Replies
    1. re: scott123

      In my experience, you're better off not boiling/steaming the cabbage but rather chopping it well and salting the heck out of it, letting it sit for a while and then pressing all of the water out of it in a strainer. The point is to get all of the water out so that it won't bust the skin, not to pre-cook it...The excess salt will dissolve into the water when you boil them.

      1. re: StheJ

        I could be wrong here, but the cabbage in the dumplings I've had doesn't seem like it's salted. At least, I don't think it does.

        Does salting soften cabbage? To an almost cooked texture? The cabbage seems very very soft- a level of softness that could never be achieved by the 4 minute or so simmer of the dumpling.

        The shredded cabbage used in dumplings is the same used for egg rolls, correct?

        1. re: scott123

          scott, cabbage for pot stickers, whether to be included in meat dumplings, or to be used in an all-vegetable dumpling, is salted, then squeezed dry. The salt does "cook" the cabbage and renders it limp but flavorful. Between squeezing and steaming, so much of the salt comes out it's hard to taste. Cabbage for dumplings should be minced or ground.

          The cabbage/carrot/celery mixture for egg rolls is shredded, rather than ground/minced. The shredded vegetable mixture sits with salt, sugar and vinegar (again, in the case of egg rolls) and then that liquid is thoroughly squeezed out before mixing with pork and placing in wrappers.

          Our restaurant makes an all-vegetable dumpling (we even color the dough with parsley juice). Beside the cabbage, grind in equal amounts of blanched Chinese broccoli, fragrant (shiitake) mushrooms, and add tiny (1/8") cubes of soy-dried tofu. We also mix in a little scrambled egg and some scallions.

          1. re: shaogo

            Minced or ground... yes, I can resonate with that. But salt... I'm not saying I disagree with you, but with any new idea relating to Chinese restaurant food, I have to let it incubate a bit before I can officially declare it as personal canon. Give me a little time on that one :)

            Also, just to make sure we're on the same page- I'm talking old school New York style chinese restaurant food.

            Vinegar in egg roll cabbage? Really?

            1. re: scott123

              I don't know anything about "old school new york styke chinese restaurant food" and I think that you need to clarify whether you're talking about americanized chinese food or authentic cantonese/szechuan restaurants like you would find in ny ctown, flushing, sf, toronto etc...

              In terms of the salt, personally, I'm relating a technique that I have found to be quite usefull and effective in making great dumplings that I learned from actual chinese people who cook authentic food in their home on a regular basis. If you don't find it helpful or don't want to employ it in your cooking... ok.

              1. re: StheJ

                StheJ, I'm referring to Americanized Chinese restaurant food that had it's roots in Canton, Hunan and San Francisco, but, imo, was forged in the streets of Manhattan in the middle of the 20th century and then pretty much conquered the rest of the globe.

                When I say Old School New York Chinese Restaurant food, I'm talking about the beginnings of 'Chinese Take Out' in Manhattan/surrounding area 1930 to about 1980.

                Chicken Chow Mein, General Tso's, Sweet and Sour pork, Duck Sauce, BBQ Spare ribs, etc etc. Although potstickers are more authentically Cantonese than most dishes on the American restaurant menu, they are still a very solid fixture, and, as such tend to be very similar from restaurant to restaurant.

                For me, take out's my holy grail, so I'm always seeking insights into the short order Chinese American kitchen.

                1. re: scott123

                  Can you give an example of the place/places you're talking about? I like authentic asian food as well as americanized asian food.

                  I am/was what they commonly call a latchkey child in nyc, so I am familiar with take out.

                  Honestlly tough, while I like both, if I were to cook one or the other in my own cooking, it would certainly be as close to authentic as possible...

          2. re: scott123

            As indicated in my post above, the salt dissolves into the water when the dumplings are boiled and therefore the dumplings aren't overly salty, or this cooking method wouldn't make sense... The salting causes the water in the cabbage to be expelled so the filling won't expand and burst through the dumpling skin.

            In terms of the egg rolls, I would not recommend salting the cabbage in this way because they are not boiled first and there is no opportunity for the salt to dissolve in to the water.

            1. re: scott123

              Stuffed cabbage recipes call for either boiling the outer leaves to soften, or freezing then thawing the whole head. Either method softens the leaves by breaking the cell walls. If I were making potstickers I would shred, freeze, and thaw the cabbage. ( I use cabbage prepped this way in meatloaf and frikadellen.) Then, to dry and sweeten it, I would saute it in a little oil over medium heat until it starts to caramelize.

              Costco's Ling-Ling brand potstickers are made with chicken and are pretty decent, if a tad bland. I think you could make a good Thanksgiving leftover potsticker using ground dark meat, stuffing, sweet potato, gravy, and cabbage and scallion/chive.

        2. My standard is a mixture of ground pork, minced cabbage, grated ginger root and a little garlic. You can really use anything, as long as you get everything in small pieces.

          Crab or shrimp make fantastic dumpling fillings too.

          1. I would second the fatty chicken recommendation as a substitute for the ground pork, as the taste seems to work better than ground turkey. I use a combination of finely minced fresh ginger, shallots, cilantro, very finely chopped bok choy or cabbage, soy sauce and a pinch of sugar in my potstickers. Sometimes I also add hot garlic sauce or sirracha if I want them spicy.

            1. I just read the recipe the OP links to.

              Oooh. I'm a traditionalist, so the mention of red onion *inside* a dumpling sent me running in the other direction.

              On another note, the dumpling dipping sauce is all-important. We use:

              1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
              1/4 cup rice vinegar, rice wine vinegar, or white vinegar
              zest of half a lemon
              3-4 green onions, chopped, whites/greens and all
              tsp. honey
              3 Tbs. chopped garlic, mellowed in a bit of olive oil
              chili pepper flakes to taste
              3 Tbs. dark amber sesame oil

              We let this sit for a couple of days before we use it.

              1. Don't use turkey. You need some fat in your pot sticker filling.

                If you don't want to use pork, try ground chicken thigh meat (not breast) and add in some soft (silken) tofu, with a good dose of sesame oil. Add those ingredients (chicken, tofu, sesame oil) to your original pork filling recipe and you should be set to go.

                Good luck.

                1. Here is a Korean version -

                  Korean Mandu (Filled Dumpling/Potsticker)

                  1 package (100 count) or 2 (50 count) package 3 1/2 inch round dumpling wrappers
                  water

                  Filling
                  1 package (12 - 14 ounce) firm tofu
                  1 pound extra lean ground beef (89% lean or better)**
                  3 each green onions, finely chopped (Save 1 teaspoon for the dipping sauce)
                  3 ounces fresh garlic, minced
                  2 teaspoons pure sesame oil
                  2 each eggs
                  1 teaspoon salt
                  1/2 teaspoon black pepper
                  3 ounces mung bean sprouts
                  3 ounces Korean Vermicelli (sweet potato starch noodle)
                  1/2 white or yellow onion, finely chopped
                  1/2 small green cabbage, shredded

                  Optional Ingredients
                  *2 or 3 ounces kimchi, finely chopped
                  **Substitute Ingredients
                  1 pound ground pork, chicken, turkey, bison, or game meats instead of beef
                  Omit meat and add 1/2 additional package of tofu for vegetarian variety.

                  Dipping Sauce
                  4 tablespoons soy sauce**
                  1 or 2 tablespoon sugar
                  1 teaspoon pure sesame oil
                  1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seed
                  1 teaspoon crushed or minced garlic
                  1 teaspoon green onion, finely chopped

                  Optional Ingredients
                  1 teaspoon fine ground Korean red chile pepper

                  **Substitute Ingredients
                  4 tablespoons teriyaki sauce OR 3 tablespoons oyster sauce instead of soy sauce

                  For Frying
                  Pan fry: 2 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
                  Deep Fry: 2 to 4 cups vegetable oil

                  Procedure

                  Preparation

                  Filling:
                  Korean Vermicelli:
                  Traditional: Soak the noodle in cold water for at least one hour.
                  Fast: Boil 1/2 quart water. Rinse noodle in cold tap water then add to boiling water. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes or until limp(soft). Remove from heat and drain. Rinse with cold tap water and drain thoroughly. Chop into very small pieces (mince) and set aside.

                  Tofu, Beef, Kimchi(if used)
                  Place the tofu in cheesecloth or a clean lintless towel, wrap, and squeeze out as much moisture as possible, then crumble into a large mixing bowl.
                  Repeat the process with the ground beef, then the kimchi(if used).
                  Onion, Green Onion, cabbage, bean sprouts, garlic
                  Finely chop (mince) and add to bowl.

                  Final Mix
                  Add the remaining filling ingredients (including chopped noodles) to the bowl and mix well.
                  Place 1/4 of the filling mix into a smaller bowl. (Mandu will be filled from this bowl, refill as needed until all filling is used)
                  Cover and refrigerate the rest of the filling mix.

                  Dipping Sauce
                  Mix all dipping sauce ingredients together in a small mixing bowl and let stand for at least twenty minutes.

                  --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                  Stuffing The Mandu
                  Lightly dust a large sheet of wax paper, tin foil, or plastic sheeting with corn or potato starch.
                  Set a small dish of water close to your work area.
                  Place some of the dumpling wraps on a small cutting board or wax paper.
                  Place about 1 teaspoon of the filling mix in the center of the wrap.
                  Dip your finger or a small basting brush into the water and lightly wet the outside edges of the wrap.
                  Fold the top over until the edges are even, then press to seal starting on either the left or right, and removing as much air as possible. Or use a 3 1/2 inch dumpling press.
                  Set the mandu on the dusted foil/waxed paper while you stuff the remaining wraps, refilling your small bowl until all the filling is used.

                  Storage
                  Freeze any mandu that you do not intend to cook.
                  Place the mandu to be frozen on a cookie/baking sheet so that they are not touching. Set the sheet in your freezer.
                  Once they are frozen, the mandu may be placed into zip lock style freezer bags and returned to the freezer.
                  --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  Cooking The Mandu

                  Steaming- Jin Mandu
                  Thaw frozen mandu before cooking.
                  A stove top or electric steamer is recommended, but you can improvise with a large soup/stock pot that can be covered, and any type of flat bottomed metal sieve or strainer that has legs or risers to keep the bottom above water level.
                  Electric steamers: Add water and pre-heat according to manufacturers instructions.
                  Stove Top Steamer: Add water to level line or one inch below the bottom of the steaming tray and bring to full boil.
                  Line the steaming tray with cheesecloth and place one layer of mandu, evenly spaced, not touching, onto the cloth.
                  Place the tray in the steamer, cover, and cook fresh or thawed mandu for 10 to 12 minutes.
                  Serve steamed mandu with dipping sauce or continue with pan or deep fry.

                  Pan Fry

                  Thaw frozen mandu before cooking.
                  Pour vegetable oil into a non-stick skillet until there is an unbroken coating on the bottom.
                  Heat over medium high heat until the oil is hot, then place a single layer of mandu into the skillet. Do not overlap.
                  Cook the mandu until the bottom is a golden brown then turn them over.
                  Reduce heat to medium, add about 3 tablespoons water to the pan, then quickly cover and cook for another 3 minutes.
                  Place the mandu in a serving or warming dish and repeat the procedure until the desired number of mandu is cooked.
                  Cooked mandu may be held in a warm oven until cooking is complete.
                  Serve the mandu with dipping sauce.

                  Deep Fry - Yaki Mandu
                  Thaw frozen mandu to room temperature.
                  A deep fryer is recommended, but you may use a wok or standard cooking pot.
                  Pre Heat 2 to 4 cups vegetable oil to 365 degrees (amount of oil used depends on the size of your fryer, use a sufficient amount to completely submerge the mandu, approximately 2 inch depth) Make sure that oil level is at least 2 inches below the top of your fryer.
                  If you don't have a deep fry or candy thermometer you can test the oil with a pinch of bread or wooden toothpick. Drop the bread or toothpick into the hot oil, if it immediately begins to bubble, the oil is hot enough.
                  Place several mandu into the hot oil using a metal slotted spoon or small metal strainer with a handle.

                  --CAUTION: DO NOT DROP MANDU INTO THE OIL!!-- Serious burns or fire could result.

                  Cook mandu until golden brown, remove from oil, and place in a metal straining basket or paper towel lined plate. Fried mandu may moved to an oven safe dish and kept in warm oven until all frying is complete.
                  Serve fried mandu with dipping sauce.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: hannaone

                    Wow, thanks for the detailed instructions! I do have an ingredient question... when you say, "3 each green onions, finely chopped (Save 1 teaspoon for the dipping sauce)" I don't understand the "each" part?

                    Thanks again!

                    1. re: miss louella

                      3 single green onions.
                      It's a measurement thing in my recipe program.

                      1. re: hannaone

                        thanks again! (It seems so simple when you know the answer. :-)

                    2. re: hannaone

                      yes gorgeous recipe, as usual I will be printing this detailed hannaone recipe out.

                    3. I suggest that you buy chicken thighs (fatty), debone, and mice yourself in your food chopper to avoid the meating becoming "tight" inside the pot sticker. You can sub that for pork. You can also do a mix of chicken and minced shrimp, shrimp and minced squid, and you can add crab, too. For seafood fillings, you can optionally add a slice of white bread in the food chopper and chop all the seafood to a chunky consistency, not to a paste. I use that for seafood balls and dumpling fillings myself. For a veg combo you can do leeks, finely chopped water chestnuts, finely chopped Chinese black mushrooms, finely chopped carrots, and some firm tofu well drained and crumbled.