Potstickers don’t stick around…

It’s been many years since I was able to eat authentic Chinese food.

Mainly this is because gluten and I don’t get along. I have trouble communicating my dietary needs in most Chinese restaurants, where English is not the first language and where the question “can you do anything gluten free?” generally produces a blank stare, let alone more in-depth enquiries about cross-contamination. The way the food is produced causes most of the problems. I’ve observed that all noodles are dunked into the same vat of boiling water, be they wheat or rice noodles, so I’m not even safe with rice noodles. Soy sauce is everywhere, and dishes made without it are stirred with the same utensils as dishes made with it. It just hasn’t been worth it. I’ve made my own poor imitations, but I’ve missed certain dishes I thought were out of my gluten-free reach.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 2.50.31 pm Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 2.51.05 pm Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 2.51.29 pmUntil now. I have cracked the recipe for one of my all-time favourites: potsticker dumplings. These divine little parcels of yumminess are first fried gently until the bottom is crispy and brown, and then steamed to cook the rest through. They’re stuffed with cabbage, pork, garlic, ginger and onion, and they are so incredibly moreish that the Husband and I noshed a plateful each and still looked wistfully for more…

I used this recipe as my start point, and I’d suggest following the video rather than the written recipe/process for a better result. Using GF soy sauce and substituting dry sherry for rice wine is a no brainer, and the filling was soon ready – I used chopped roast pork instead of fatty minced pork, and a little of the jellied pork stock to keep it juicy.

The dumpling skins were another matter. Gluten free flour just doesn’t behave the same way as the normal stuff, and kneading and resting dough to develop or relax the gluten is an exercise in futility. I used the same quantities as in the recipe, but added a scant tablespoonful of sunflower oil and a half teaspoon of xanthan gum to the mixture, and kept the kneading to a minimum.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 2.51.55 pmGluten free doughs also dry out much, much faster, so I cut off only what I was about to use, and kept the rest in an airtight container under a damp cloth until I was ready to use it. I don’t have a proper dumpling rolling pin, and that’s now high on the shopping list because it will make producing the skins a lot easier. My dough is a little more fragile than the wheat kind, and produces a slightly translucent dumpling due to the high proportion of rice flour in the GF mixture, but neither I nor the Husband found there to be a discernible difference in the taste. The soft top and crispy bottoms were perfect.

We both agree, however, that extensive further testing and sampling is going to be required. I’m thinking prawn and sweet chilli next time…


36 thoughts on “Potstickers don’t stick around…

  1. I had to smile at your “extensive further testing and sampling.” You’re going to have fun. But I’m sorry you have to go through all that to obtain some food that you like.

  2. rutigt says:

    Oh dear….I´m hungry 🙂

  3. Extensive further testing eh?! Oh the suffering 😉

  4. tialys says:

    They look gorgeous – I’m feeling quite peckish now. How long have you known you are coeliac and what made you realise? Nosy aren’t I?

    • katechiconi says:

      9 years, and the active disease (rather than the latent form, which I had before) was triggered by a severe attack of gastro, which just went on and on till I realised something more was wrong, setting off a 2 month array of tests, x-rays, scans, culminating in the double-ended -oscopy which finally produced a diagnosis. There’s nothing particularly secret about it, so ask away! And the dumplings were fabulous.

      • tialys says:

        That must have been pretty scary. Not knowing what was causing the pain and then waiting for the results of all those tests. I suppose not being able to tolerate gluten is small fry compared to some of the things you were thinking it might be!

      • katechiconi says:

        The initial diagnosis started with gallstones, through stomach ulcers, and escalated to possible stomach cancer! So I’d say coeliac disease is infinitely preferable.

  5. Carole says:

    Oh my! They do look good 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      They’re actually pretty quick and simple to make – half an hour from start to finish, maybe? They smell and taste gorgeous, and now I know how easy they are, I’ll be doing them again, frequently!

  6. Look delicious. I could murder a plateful right about now….

  7. Grannymar says:

    I’m hungry! When will the next batch be ready? *checks flight timetables*

    • katechiconi says:

      Probably today! I still want to perfect rather than merely improve the dough, so I’m going to try with a different flour mix. Husband looking very down in the mouth… not!

  8. Elizabeth says:

    You are so creative – even in the kitchen! Very impressive!

    • katechiconi says:

      What I am, is greedy! And I enjoy cooking, and do it as my only paid work, baking sweet and savoury goods for a local coffee shop. So I have to keep experimenting, testing, creating. The Husband is a willing guinea pig…

  9. EllaDee says:

    I thought of you as I ate takeaway wonton soup for lunch today… antidote to miserable Sydney weather, back-at-work-it-is and a busy week at TA. I hadn’t considered the repercussions of coeliac and outsourced Asian food… when my sister was vegan I became quite adept at negotiating suitable eating out preferences for her but for coeliac it’s critical.
    I make nowhere near as much of my own food as you do, but I make a lot more than many people because of my preferences and mild issues with sugar and additives. I understand your victory and joy at coming up with delicious variations of foods you miss.
    Yum 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      A small increment of success is also very motivating, I find! Having achieved acceptable dumpling skins, I’m now determined to get them completely right. The laws of nature may be against me, but the Husband and I will have a hugely enjoyable time testing and sampling! One day, I may find a way to make acceptable GF naan bread, and then I can die happy!

  10. anne54 says:

    I love those little dumplings too! Happy that you have found a way to enjoy them.

    • katechiconi says:

      There’s a slight downside, which is that I now eye all the leftovers in the fridge with a view to creating dumpling fillings… Usually they go into soup or salad, a slightly healthier option!

  11. Kirsten says:

    Yummy, yum, yum, I love dumplings!! These have been ‘pinned’ for future consumption!

  12. Lynda says:

    Kate, I never even knew about pot stickers until it was too late for my diet. I look forward to trying this recipe and to your further testing! So long as they taste as lovely as you say, well, my pallet will never know the difference. Yummy!

    I am thinking of writing up my latest challenge ~English Muffins~ which are something else I don’t remember. Perhaps you will try them and tell me what you think? 😉

    • katechiconi says:

      I’d be delighted! If you can crack those, Eggs Benedict is back on the menu! I’m also very partial to the raisin cinnamon kind, toasted and buttered… Get writing!

  13. I’ve missed potstickers fiercely. I’ll print this out, penciling in your changes, and give it a try.

  14. pattisj says:

    Sounds like a plan! (more sampling, etc.)

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