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Pork Pot Stickers- A Good Way To Start 2013

What's not to like about a pleated package of pork with a crunchy, almost burned bottom? Add a salty dipping sauce and I'm a happy camper. When we were knee deep in our development of a Bayfield outpost of Chinese take-out, I had pot stickers on my list of 'things to figure out'. My eye hand coordination is shaky at best and utterly pathetic at worst. Maybe it's because I only played Pong as a kid or because I need to admit I'm over forty and get glasses but making those little pleats proved to be problematic, at first. After I watched a couple You Tube videos, it finally sunk in and now it's like riding a bike— I'll never forget it.

You can put whatever you want in the filling, we chose pork because it's traditional and we are a porky kind of family. You want to make sure the filling (pork or not) is highly seasoned and lucky for us, Chinese food has a wide array of choices: garlic, soy sauce, ginger, oyster sauce and toasted sesame oil. Don't skip seasoning the cabbage with salt and then wringing out as much of the moisture as possible— cabbage gives off a lot of moisture when it's cooked and will make your pot stickers soggy. One last tip, don't over fill the wrappers, it'll make it really, really hard to get your pleats to stick. I made a double batch and then froze them for another day when I have a hankering for a little Chinese take-in.

Pork Pot Stickers(Adapted from Ming Tsai & Epicurious.com)

2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1/8 teaspoon for seasoning
1/3 pound ground pork (not too lean)
1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 tbsp coarsely shredded carrot
3 tbsp shallots, minced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 teaspoons Asian (toasted) sesame oil
1/2 egg, lightly beaten
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
30 gyoza (pot sticker) wrappers, from 1 (14-ounce) package*
1/4 cup canola oil

In large bowl, toss together cabbage and 3/4 teaspoon salt and set aside for 30 minutes. Transfer to clean dish towel or cheesecloth, gather ends together, and twist to squeeze out as much water as possible. Wipe bowl clean, then return cabbage to it. Add pork, mushrooms, ginger, carrots, shallots, scallions and garlic and stir to combine.

In small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and egg, then stir into cabbage-pork mixture. Stir in pepper and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt.

On dry surface, lay out 1 gyoza wrapper, keeping remaining wrappers covered with dampened cloth or paper towel. Spoon 1 1/2 teaspoons filling into center, then moisten halfway around edge with wet finger. Fold moisture-free half of wrapper over moistened half to form open half-moon shape. To seal, using thumb and forefinger of one hand, form 6 tiny pleats along unmoistened edge of wrapper, pressing pleats against moistened border to enclose filling. Moistened border will stay smooth and will automatically curve in semicircle. Stand dumpling, seam-side up, on baking sheet and gently press to flatten bottom. Cover loosely with dampened cloth or paper towel. Form remaining dumplings in same manner.

In 10-inch, lidded, non-stick skillet over moderately high heat, heat oil until hot but not smoking, then remove from heat and arrange pot stickers in tight circular pattern standing up in oil (they should touch one another). Cook, uncovered, until bottoms are pale golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water, tilting skillet to distribute, then cover tightly with lid and cook until liquid has evaporated and bottoms of dumplings are crisp and golden, 7 to 10 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons more water if skillet looks dry before bottoms are browned. Remove lid and cook, shaking skillet to loosen pot stickers, until steam dissipates, 1 to 2 minutes. Invert large plate with rim over skillet. Using pot holders, hold plate and skillet together and invert skillet. Remove skillet and serve pot stickers warm.