Thursday, March 26, 2009

Shrimp Pot Stickers with Chinese Flowering Cabbage Greens


(for the pot stickers--best served with a small side of gyoza dipping sauce)

20 gyoza wrappers
1/2 pound of raw shrimp, peeled, de-veined, and finely minced
4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
5 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp. red pepper flake
2 inches of ginger, minced
2 scallions, chopped, white parts separate from green
1/2 lb. Chinese flowering cabbage greens, very finely chopped with stems
1/2 tsp. white pepper
Salt and fresh black pepper
1 tsp. agave nectar or other sweetener to taste
1/2 cup water

1) Heat 2 tbsp. of the oil until shimmering; add red pepper flake, ginger, garlic, and the white parts of the scallion. Saute until garlic and ginger are golden, about 1 minute on high heat.
2) Add flowering cabbage to your skillet along with salt and white pepper, cooking until greens have reduced and wilted, about 3 minutes longer. Place the cooked greens in a bowl with the uncooked green part of the scallions.
3) When greens are no longer hot, stir in your sweetener and adjust seasoning if necessary. Incorporate the minced raw shrimp thoroughly.
4) Lay out 1 gyoza wrapper and place approx. 1-1 1/2 tsps. of filling in the middle. Moisten the edge of the wrapper with water and fold the dry edge over into a closed half-moon. Seal by pressing small pleats into the unmoistened edge of the wrapper with your thumb and forefinger, setting the pot stickers aside one by one until all are filled.
5) Heat remaining two tbsp. oil, preferably in a 10-inch nonstick skillet. Your pan must have a close-fitting lid. When oil is hot, place pot stickers with seam-side up very closely together in a circle (they should be touching) and saute until bottoms are golden brown, about 3 minutes.
6) Add the water, tilting the pan so it's evenly distributed, and cover tightly, reducing heat to med-low. Cook the pot stickers until liquid is gone, 7-10 minutes. Remove lid and allow steam to escape, shaking the pot stickers free.

(for the Chinese flowering cabbage greens)

2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 lb. Chinese flowering cabbage greens, chopped into 2-inch segments with stems separate from leaves
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1 tbsp. oyster sauce
Salt and fresh black pepper

(for the beer)

1 12oz. bottle Speakeasy Big Daddy IPA

1) Heat the oil until shimmering. Add the stems and cook for 3 minutes.
2) Add the leaves, white pepper, oyster sauce, salt, and black pepper. Saute until greens are wilted and stems are tender, about 2 minutes more.
3) Adjust seasoning and plate, along with the pot stickers.
4) Open Big Daddy IPA.
5) Enjoy together.

A reviewer from Las Vegas on Beer Advocate had this to say about Big Daddy: "IPAs are a snob beer, but if you want friends to enjoy the flavors you're having then this is surely the gateway drug to the addiction." I wouldn't necessarily go so far as to call a beer type that was popularized by the East India Company tradesmen and sailors in the late 1700s snobbish--it seems to have been around for a while, and after all, it's beer--but the accessibility praise is accurate. Not only is this one of my favorite beers of all time, brought to us by the splendid Speakeasy Ales & Lagers of San Francisco, California (let it be known they are consistently outstanding), but it's drinkable even if you aren't accustomed to the IPA style. You're going to get a strong hop presence, along with some tropical citrus like pineapple, but this beer's elegance lies in its profoundly smooth finish. Great with almost any well-spiced, strongly flavored food, hardcore awesome with pot stickers.

Three cheers for Chinatown! All the more because half the s&*! I don't understand! Seriously, I put things in my mouth when I was in Hong Kong that I couldn't identify if asked, "Animal, vegetable, or mineral?" My professional chef friend Jordan says whenever you simply cannot fathom what it is, it's taro root. I only wish he were right.

(Also, for the record, I would like to hereby state that whatever the gelatinous panna cotta-esque substance was that I ate at the dim sum place--the opaque brown-orange jello that tasted vaguely of hot dog--I pray to sweet baby Jesus we will never be reacquainted.)

Anyway, being in Chinatown makes me very happy because it reminds me of our trip to Hong Kong and Thailand--the picture above is actually a Bangkok market. New York's Chinatown is also one hell of a fine way to battle the economic downturn; they'll sell you massive fresh shrimp for $6.49/pound, and a one-pound bags of greens for a dollar, and Malaysian shrimp-and-pork jerky that tastes like meat candy. Mmm. Meat candy.

By the way, you aren't going to find Chinese flowering cabbage greens unless you're lucky enough to have a Chinatown or live in China. Or grow them yourself, of course. They're faintly mustardy but much milder than actual mustard greens--sort of like a spinach with really thick, tender stems. If you can't find them, I'd use spinach in this recipe, or cabbage, or a nice leafy bok choy.



Natalie said...

Looks really delicious... very much the "hits the spot" dish.

Joan said...

Innovative =)Chinese infuse into Western style. Love it!