Do you have a beloved food, or a favorite meal, that you could eat every day and not get tired of? Do you happen to have that little something special that tickles your taste buds, that you absolutely MUST keep stocked in your cupboard, fridge or freezer at all times so you never run out? And if, per chance, you indeed do run out, or you're really low and you know you're gonna want to have some, then your palms start to sweat, your heart starts to race and you begin to feel a creeping panic set in, and you ask yourself out loud, while staring into that dark abyss that is the freezer, scratching your head, “Why in the heck can't all stores stay open all night, anyway?!” What? That doesn't happen to you? How embarrassing for me. Ok, Ok, so I'm being a bit overly-dramatic to make a point about how far the adoration for a familiar and beloved food can go...but just a little bit. I don't know what it is exactly, but there's a level of comfort that seems to come along with having a favorite food staple always on hand, whether it's something that's enjoyed each day, several times a week, or even on occasion; it's just nice to know it's there on hand when the mood for it hits, and reassuring to have within reach. Please tell me you can relate at least on some level.
By now you may have guessed what one of my favorites to keep on hand at all times is, based sheerly on the fact that this post is, after all, about pot stickers; and can you blame me? Pot stickers are those delicious, delicate little Asian-style dumplings; those sumptuous, savory little pillows of love, that are simple to make a zippy little meal out of. Filled with ground meat, ginger, scallions, garlic and a few bits of veggies, they make for an aromatic and fragrant snack or light meal, taking only a few moments to crisp up in the pan and steam once they're already prepared; and that's why having some stashed away in my freezer is a must for me. Typically on a day off, I already have an abundance of things going on and feel like I have trouble keeping my head on straight, as it is; and the last thing my heart desires is to add to my load by spending a lot of time preparing a lunch for myself. So my favorite quick meal of choice is chicken pot stickers, served with a little side of greens, or some sauteed baby bok choy—clean, lean and simple. I just can't beat that in a pinch, and never get bored with the flavors. Oh, do those plump little dumplings ever slide down easily.
So now you know a little something about me that not many people know unless they've gone rooting around in my freezer without my knowledge: it's a must for me to have Gingered-Chicken Pot stickers on hand, or I tend to get a little anxious. Go ahead and take a peak—they're in there right now. And with this light and fresh recipe, you could have some parked in your freezer, too, waiting to be snacked on and enjoyed as the edible pillows of love that they are. Sweet dreams little Gingered-Chicken Pot stickers, sweet dreams...taste you real soon.
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Gingered-Chicken Pot Stickers with Sesame-Honey Dipping Sauce and Seared Baby Bok Choy
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(Makes roughly 60 pot stickers, with each serving being about 7 pot stickers)
1 lb ground chicken
1 cup finely shredded napa cabbage
¼ cup finely shredded carrot
2 green onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
½ teaspoon sea salt, plus extra, divided use
¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus extra, divided use
1 (12 ounce) package round wonton wraps (*see note)
• Vegetable oil
• Sesame-Honey Dipping Sauce (recipe below)
6 baby bok choy, halved
• Rice vinegar
(*You can find the round wonton wraps in the refrigerated section of your grocery store, typically next to the tofu.)
-To make the filling, add the ground chicken to a bowl along with the shredded napa cabbage, shredded carrot, green onions, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, grated ginger, ¼ teaspoon of sea salt and ¼ teaspoon of cracked black pepper, and combine well to incorporate all of the flavors.
-To make the pot stickers, work in batches by placing some of the wonton rounds in single layer in a few rows in front of you, and drop teaspoon-sized portions of the filling into the center of each wonton round; to seal, use a little bit of water along the upper edge of the wonton, and fold the bottom half of the wonton round over the filling to touch the top, pressing the edges together to seal (you'll have a semi-circle shape); use your fingers to gently “pinch” the sealed edge, creating a few crimps; set aside the sealed/crimped pot stickers onto a large piece of parchment or wax paper, in a single layer; repeat the process until all of the wonton rounds are filled (**see note at bottom for freezing instructions).
-To cook, place a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, and add about 1-2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil to the pan; once the oil is hot, work in batches by adding about 7 pot stickers at a time to the pan with their “flat side” down, in a single layer; cover the pan slightly, and allow them crisp on that first side, undisturbed, for roughly 2 minutes; once they're golden brown, flip them over, and allow them to crisp on the other side for a couple more minutes; then, add about a ¼ cup of water to the pan and cover, allowing them to steam for another couple of minutes (you can gently stir them to prevent them from sticking too much and scorching); once the water is evaporated, remove the pot stickers, and repeat the process with the remaining ones until all are crisped and steamed (hold the cooked pot stickers warm in the mean time).
-Prepare the baby bok choy by placing that same, large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, and add a couple of drizzles of the vegetable oil to it; once hot, add a few of the halved bok choy, cut-side down, into the pan, and allow them to sear on that first side for about 2-3 minutes (work in batches as to not over-crowd); once golden/seared on the first side, flip the bok choy over, and allow it become golden on the other side, for another couple of minutes; remove the bok choy while it is still crisp-tender, but has some sear on in; set aside and keep warm, and repeat the process with the remaining bok choy halves; once all are seared, squeeze a little of the lemon over the bok choy, and season with a few pinches of sea salt and cracked black pepper; you can even drizzle a teaspoon of sesame oil of them, if you desired.
-To serve, add about 7 pot stickers to the plate along with a small ramekin of the dipping sauce, and about 3 of the seared, baby bok choy halves.
(** If you'd like to freeze the recipe, or any portion of the recipe for later use, place the pot stickers in a single layer into the freezer for about 30 minutes; after 30 minutes, the pot stickers should be frozen/firm enough to place into a ziplock freezer bag without sticking to one another, and can be frozen until you're ready to make them. To prepare them, just follow the instructions above, keeping in mind that you may need to add a little more water to the pan when steaming, about ¾ cup, as they are frozen and may need a little additional time to cook through.)
Sesame-Honey Dipping Sauce ingredients: (makes about 6 fl oz)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 ½ tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 clove garlic, pressed through garlic press
1 green onion, finely chopped
• Pinch (1/8 teaspoon) freshly grated ginger
• Pinch cracked black pepper
-Add all ingredients into a bowl, and whisk together until well blended; alternatively, add all ingredients into a snap-top container, and shake vigorously until well blended; serve with pot stickers, or refrigerate any unused portion.