One of the most fun things to make in the kitchen is wontons/dumplings/ravioli with unexpected fillings. Pasta wrapped things are generally a favorite of mine, growing up with tortellini and ravioli, but when you start to get really creative with the fillings the results can be magical. Mandi and I have wanted to make potstickers for awhile, but last night we weren't feeling the usual combo of pork and cabbage. After bouncing around some ideas we came up with this recipe.
Garlic, ginger, and jalapenos go into the blender.
With the onions spices and butter. Add ¼ cup of water and some oil to help it blend.
Just over a pound of ground beef goes in a bowl with the paste you just made.
As the beef marinated, Mandi made a quick raita. Raita is just like Greek taziki, but with lime instead of lemon and cilantro instead of parsley. It is often spiced with a pinch of garam masala, but we had plenty of spice in the dumplings and we wanted this to be a cooling element.
To achieve that fun potsticker shape, it is best to start with a round wonton wrapper. We did not have round ones, but it still worked out ok. Take your wrapper in the palm of your hand and make pleats in the side closer to your fingers. These pleats should form a bit of a pocket. Add the filling to that pocket and just fold the whole thing over. It may sound confusing, but after a few you will get it.
So here is the part they are famous for. They really do get very stuck to the pot. Don't try to move them too early, or you will break them. wait till you can see some browning on the sides of the dumplings where they touch the pan.
When they are nice and browned, you will be able to slowly unstuck them. At this point when you have unstuck them all(leaving them burnt side down) add water to about halfway up the dumplings.
Crank the heat and cover for 5 minutes.
when you remove the cover, they should be fully cooked and come right off the pan. Check one to make sure the beef is cooked in the middle, and dig in!
Really tasty! And I have some left in the freezer!
The Indian flavors really pop in your mouth when you bite open the wontons. The nutty burnt flavor also matches well with the spices and adds a cool texture.
To make the paste:
Dice 1 large onion. Add to hot oil in fry pan. Salt and cook on medium for 15 minutes stirring often so as not to create burny onion buildup on the bottom of the pan. When they are nicely browned, turn heat up slightly and add tablespoon or 2 of butter and a tablespoon of garam masala or ras el hanout. Cook 3 minutes until very fragrant. Add to blender. also put in blender - 6 cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons of fresh grated ginger, and 3 jalapenos. We added them whole, but you can take out some of the seeds if you are a total pansy. Add about ¼ cup of water and start the blender. Add some oil if you need to facilitate blending, but try and keep it as dry as you can. Mix this with 90% or 95% beef(too much fat will cause the dumplings to get soggy) and some salt and pepper
To make the raita:
Strain some yogurt for half hour with salt. Add diced cucumbers, cilantro, red onions, lime juice, and honey and pepper. Taste for proportions and salt level, but it is pretty easy.
To make the potstickers:
I talked a bit about the shaping method above. As for the cooking, place a little oil in a pan. Heat it on medium until it reaches about 350 and you see the oil "dancing" in the pan. Add the potstickers pleat side down. They will be stuck to the pan. About 7 minutes later, you will notice the bottom edges browning. At this point, take a utensil and delicately check to see if they are unstuck. They will not be fully unstuck, but rather will come off the pan with very little resistance. After you fully unstuck them all (keeping the brown side down), add water to halfway up the dumplings. Crank the heat to high and cover the pan to steam them. After 5 minutes they should be done.