Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ginger-tofu potstickers (with dipping sauce)

I've been having a love affair with fresh ginger. It's now a staple on my weekly grocery list. On any given day, our fridge's butter compartment is likely to be stocked with ginger roots instead of butter. Fresh ginger keeps for weeks and can be used to spice Asian dishes (like the potstickers featured in this post), make delicious tea (boil unpeeled slices for 25 minutes and sweeten with honey), and flavor baked goods (like these carrot bran muffins). But for now, back to the gingery potstickers.

I have fond memories of making potstickers with my college friends in the awkward kitchen of the International House. Of course in those days we filled them with pork and cabbage. This version is not nearly so authentic, but it's vegetarian* and relies on tofu for much of its substance. And luckily for me, the end result tastes nothing like tofu (it's no secret that I'm not a big fan--I think it tastes like watery plastic). K. said the filling was more reminiscent of crab rangoon, and I agree. Each bite is creamy and indulgent in taste but otherwise guilt-free. Enjoy!

*vegan if you use egg-free gyoza wrappers

Ginger-tofu potstickers
Adapted from Vegetarian Times

(Makes about 28)

1 10-oz. pkg. firm tofu, drained
4 oz. your favorite mushroom (we used cremini, shiitake would be ideal)
6 Tbs. blanched, slivered almonds
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 inch ginger root, peeled and sliced (about 2 Tbs.)
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch plus some extra for dusting
1 Tbs. orange zest
1/2 tsp. salt
28 gyoza wrappers
2 Tbs. canola oil

Dipping sauce
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar (or your preferred sweetener)
2 Tbs. finely shredded carrot
1 Tbs. crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp. salt

Prep: drain the tofu by placing between two plates, finely chop the mushrooms, zest the orange with a zester or microplane, and peel ginger using a small metal spoon (this works better than a vegetable peeler).

Make filling: crumble tofu into the food processor, add cilantro, ginger, garlic, and half the almonds (1/4 c.), soy sauce, sugar and 1 tsp. cornstarch. Process until everything is well incorporated. Remove mixture from the food processor and place into a large bowl. Mix in the orange zest, salt, mushrooms and remaining almonds.

Assemble potstickers: Dust a baking sheet with cornstarch. Arrange several gyoza wrappers on work surface. Place a small bowl of water and brush nearby. Each potsticker will need about 1 tablespoon filling. Brush half of the wrapper's edge with water. Bring edges together and press to seal. Place pot stickers on baking sheet, and refridgerate until you are ready to cook them. If they get too warm they will start to fall apart and stick to the baking sheet.

Make dipping sauce: Bring all ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute, stirring. Remove from heat to cool.

Cook potstickers: Heat 1 Tbs. oil over medium-high heat in each of 2 large skillets (or make in 2 batches, using 1 Tbs. oil per batch). Drop pot stickers into pan, and cook until browned, about 3 minutes on each side. Pour about one inch water into the pan, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook 8-10 minutes, checking pan and shaking occasionally to prevent sticking. Remove carefully when done and serve hot with bowls of dipping sauce.

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