Saturday, January 18, 2014

Thai inspired Chicken Potstickers

Some of my Asian friends cringe when I call them potstickers instead of dumplings, but whatever you call it, its some really tasty grub.  What makes these Thai inspired is the inclusion of flavors such as lemongrass, fish sauce and cilantro in the filling, flavors of Phuket and Bangcock.

This is one of those recipes where having a kitchenaid with a meat grinder attachment is really handy.  Makes it possible to get a fine grind on the chicken without turning it to paste like you would get with a food processor.  Different tools for different results.

I even run the ginger and chinese garlic through the through the grinder to clean it out and give them the fine mince as well.  It works wonders especially with the ginger as that stuff is so tough and fibrous.

All of the ingredients here can be found in an Asian Market or well equipped mainstream groc.  If you can't find Chinese garlic, substitute 4 cloves of regular garlic.

Thai Chicken Potstickers

  • 40 round dumpling wrappers
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1" piece ginger
  • 2 4 inch pieces of chinese garlic
  • 3  spring onions sliced
  • 1/2 c fresh cilantro leaves and stems, minced
  • 1 T lemon grass
  • 1 T Fish Sauce
  • 2 T low sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 T Oyster Sauce
  • 1/4 t ground pepper
  • 1 t corn starch
  • 1 egg white

In meat grinder with fine disk grind chicken followed by ginger then chinese garlic.  In small skillet over medium heat cook meat mixture until cooked through, but not browned.  Cool to room temperature.

In bowl add cooled meat mixture, spring onion and cilantro.  Toss lightly.  Add lemon grass, fish sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, black pepper, corn starch and egg white.  Toss until combined.

Take a dumpling wrapper and wet edges.  Place 2 t filling mixture into center of wrapper.  Take one edge and fold over to the other side, turnover style.  Pinch edges firmly to seal tightly.  Repeat until all the filling is used up.

In a very large non-stick skillet over medium heat spritz it with cooking oil. Arrange potstickers in pan in one layer. (You may need to cook in batches if your skillet can't hold them all). Cook 5 minutes then add 1/2 water to pan. Cover and steam 5 minutes longer. Remove lid, turn potstickers over and cook another minute or two until browned and all water has evaporated. Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce.
Herbage and onions at the ready for mixing with cooked cooled meat mixture
Potsickers formed and ready for cooking

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Lobster Potstickers and Hong Kong Supermarket lovin'

I love the Hong Kong Supermarket that opened in my 'hood about a year ago.  Tons of impossible to find Asian ingredients.  And stuff that isn't so hard to find, but priced so good you can't walk away.  That's exactly how these lobster potstickers came about.  Cooked lobsters at $8/lb easily a quarter the price of what the local mainstream groc down the street from me charges.

When I spotted these beauties a few things crossed my mind, but since I've been in an Asian cookery state of mind the last few months lobster potstickers or dumplings came to mind.  I grabbed two and headed over to produce and picked up the fresh dumpling skins...dough already made, rolled thin and cut uniform size, 150 pieces for only $1/49, again something way cheaper than you'll ever find at the groc.

I scoured the web for recipes and eventually settled on a couple that sounded somewhat Thai in flavor profiel and went for it.  One called for ginger, a vague amount "thumbsized" so I went with my thumb which was way too effing recipe here is a realistic amount, enough to flavor but not overpower the sweet of the lobster.

This is a recipe where having a food processor will come in handy.  A quick whizzaroo and you are done and avoided all the hassle of having to mince all those ingredients.

This recipe like all other potsticker recipes is excuted easiest with a nonstick pan.  The easy release ensures no broken potstickers in your skillet.  It also enables you to reduce the amount of oil used which helps you keep in a heart healty balance.

Lobster Potstickers

  • 1 lb cooked lobster meat
  • 1/4 c water chestnuts
  • 2 4" pieces chinese garlic
  • 2 T ginger
  • 1 T  minced basil
  • 1 T lemon grass
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 T corn starch
  • 1 T Rice wine or cooking sherry
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t ground pepper
  • 30-40 Dumpling skins (about 3 inches in diameter)
  • water

In food processor add chinese garlic ( or 2 whole garlic cloves) and ginger to bowl of food processor.  Pulse until finely minced.  Add basil, lemon grass, egg white, wine, corn starch salt and pepper.  Pulse until combined.  Add lobster and water chestnut, then pulse a few times until coarsely chopped.

Take a dumpling skin in the palm of your hand.  Take a finger and dip it in water and wet the outside edges of the dumpling skin.  Place two teaspoons lobster filling into center of skin, fold edges over until they meet folding the dough skin in half.  Pinch edges firmly and place on baking sheet.  Repeat until all the filling has been used.

In a very large non-stick skillet over medium heat spritz it with cooking oil.  Arrange potstickers in pan in one layer.  (You may need to cook in batches if your skillet can't hold them all).  Cook 5 minutes then add 1/2 water to pan.  Cover and steam 5 minutes longer.  Remove lid, turn potstickers over and cook another minute or two until browned and all water has evaporated.  Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce.

Prepared dumplings waiting to be cooked
Potsticker dumplings after they are cooked

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chocolate Oatmeal - not my recipe but OMG is it good

I saw this on ABC's The Chew yesterday.  Chef Carla Hall's Chocolate Oatmeal.  Its the bomb.  And being chocolate, its full of anti-oxidants all good for you in your morning kick start.

My version omitted the topping of chopped nuts...can't stand crunch in the morning.  I also subbed out non-fat milk for the almond milk as I don't have the latter as a staple in my house.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Chicken Cacciatore

I live this stuff, my kids actually eat it without grumbling, but whats not to like....chicken.  Red Sauce.  Cheese.  Its all there with some extras that Mom and I like....mushrooms to be specific.

Cacciatore literally means "hunter" and its usually a bird or rabbit the hunter caught and is braised in tomato sauce with the herbs of the woods.  Its really stupid easy cookery too. If you can brown and simmer you can do this.

I use chicken breasts as I can get them dirt cheap at Costco, you can easily sub out thighs and legs and it would be as tasty. Since this is a braise even white meat like the breasts stay moist.

For the mushrooms I go for the cremini or "baby 'bella's"as they are sometimes sold as here in the L.A area. They have a deeper flavor than a button mushroom, but if you can't find them feel free to sub in the easily found button mushroom.

Chicken Cacciatore

  • 6 chicken breasts
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 T minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 T chopped fresh sage
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 lb cremini mushrooms - sliced
  • 2 T dry sherry
  • 1 c shredded mozarella cheese
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Olive Oil

In a heavy skillet light coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil (about 2 T).  Salt and pepper the dry chicken.  Sear the chicken in the hot oil until browned, about 5 minutes.  Flip and sear the other side.  Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.

Add onion to pan and cook to translucent. Add rosemary and sage.  Add mushrooms and cook until they start to brown stirring occasionally.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer.  Add sherry to deglaze pan, scraping up any browned bits.

Add tomotoes and tomatoe sauce. Stir to combine.  Test for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed.  Nestle the chicken pieces in the sauce.  Add any chicken juices that collected in the platter into the sauce.  Cover, bring to boil and reduce to simmer.  Simmer for 25 minutes.

At end of simmer time remove lid and divide the mozarella evenly and sprinkle on top of the chicken pieces.  Simmer additional 5 minutes to melt the cheese.

Serve the sauce over cooked pasta with additional cheese on top and the cheesey chicken breast on the side.