Saturday, April 7, 2012

Vegetarian Potstickers

A friend of mine wanted to learn how to make a filling for potstickers that was vegetarian.  I really like vegetarian potstickers.  The trick for me is to make them have their own interesting flavor and not just try to make the filling a substitute for meat.  So, you have to highlight something - in this case the Shitake mushroom as it is not only an ingredient in the dish, it also perfumes the cooking liquid.  I like using baby Bok Choy leaves as they have a nice green color and I put in pressed tofu  

 I always make my vegetarian potstickers in a half moon shape to distinguish them from the other kinds.  It also makes them so much easier to assemble and it goes really fast.  I like to serve them with Banana Sauce (also known as Banana Kechup) from the Phillipines.  It has a wonderful tangy and slightly spicy flavor that goes so well with these kinds of potstickers.  Of course, the usual dipping sauce is very good, but be sure to add some Chili Garlic Sauce or Chili Oil to it to spice it up. You might find that you like these even more than the meat filled ones - they are really good!

Vegetarian Potstickers

4 cups baby Bok Choy leaves chopped (can also use Napa Cabbage)
12 oz Pressed Tofu minced (or use 1 carton of Extra Firm Tofu, drained and crumbled)
4 green onions, ends trimmed and chopped into small pieces
6 -8  Shitake Mushrooms, rehydrated in 1 cup of hot water for 20 – 30 minutes, then minced  - reserve soaking liquid
3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
¼ teaspoon Black Pepper

2 packages Gyoza Wrappers (I like the Extra Thick kind)
2 Tablespoons Cooking Oil per pan of potstickers
¼ cup mushroom soaking liquid for each pan of potstickers

In a large bowl, put in the tofu and add Soy Sauce and Sesame Oil.  Mix thoroughly. Add the Bok Choy, green onions, Shitake Mushrooms and Pepper.  Mix thoroughly.  Lay wax paper on a cookie tray.  Using one wrapper at a time, put in one Tablespoon of filling.  Put water all around the rim of the wrapper with your finger and press to seal to make into a half moon.  Continue making potstickers until all filling is used up.  These can now be frozen for later use – freeze directly on the cookie tray or on a plate and then remove and put into plastic freezer bags.  Or, if you want to cook them immediately:

Heat 2 Tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan.  Put in as many potstickers as you can without them touching.  Pan fry until lightly browned.  Turn and brown other side.  Pour in ¼ cup of the mushroom soaking liquid and cover.  Steam until liquid is almost gone – do not lower the heat.  Take the lid off and cook, turning once until the liquid is evaporated. Put on a serving plate and serve with dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce – 2 Tablespooons Soy Sauce mixed with 1 Tablespoon Seasoned Rice Vinegar.

You can also serve with Philippine Banana Sauce, Thai Sweet Chili Sauce or Sriracha Sauce.

Five Element Analysis

The Potsticker wrappers are made from wheat flour, which belongs to the Wood Element and the Bok Choy adds even more so that element is fully covered.  Tofu contributes the Metal Element as so does the green onions.  The soy sauce, sesame oil and Shitake mushrooms bring in the Water Element.  And the black pepper adds just a tiny bit of the Fire Element and the Earth Element is missing.  So, if you use the Phillipine Banana Sauce or Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, you are adding both Earth and Fire Elements and that makes this snack more balanced.

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