Wednesday 12 August 2015

Garlic Scapes Potstickers

Garlic Scapes! My fave ingredient for amazing home-made potstickers

These are Garlic Scapes.  They are not hollow like scallions or chives but have a solid core.  They are very mild in flavour and a wonderful addition to homemade potstickers.  I threw in a few stalks of green onion also (can you spot them?) because they just happened to be in the fridge too.

See the difference between scallions (green onions) and garlic scapes?  The scallions have a hollow core and the garlic scapes don't.

Each package of potsticker wrappers weighs 1 pound.  I buy all my major ingredients in a 1:1:1 ratio.  I generally buy 2 pounds of pork and 2 large bunches of garlic scapes for 2 pounds of wrappers.  The scapes are available pretty much year round at T&T supermarket (most asian supermarkets carry them).  Local scapes are available in the summer at the weekend farmers' markets. 

I try to fit as much filling as I possibly could in each wrapper. Sometimes this results in a big disastrous mess and the wrapper explodes.  A heaping teaspoon usually suffices.  Ingredients for my filling: ground pork, sesame oil, shaoxing wine, sea salt, soy sauce, white pepper, garlic scapes and a few stalk of green onion.  I saute the scapes with some olive oil until they are soft; then cool them before adding to the ground pork and seasonings.

I use a brush to paint some water on the outer edge of half of the wrapper so the wrapper will more readily stick to itself and then pinch the centre to start the pleating process. 

After the initial central pinch, I pleat towards the centre; usually I use 3 pleats on each side of the central pinch.  If I feel ambitious I try for 4 or 5 pleats!

My kids love to help make potstickers.  They generally don't like frozen store-bought potstickers because of the veggies in them (usually chinese cabbage); nor do they always like the potstickers in restaurants because they sometimes have too much ginger.  Mine have a lovely soft garlic flavour (even without any garlic) from the scapes and they're getting their veggies too!  The texture of scapes is quite similar to asparagus (but they don't taste like asparagus). 

Perfect pleats! yay!  Pleating allows you to cram more filling into each wrapper.  That's what I think anyway. Plus, they're prettier and then you get a 3-sided dumpling that allows you to in the end, get more crunchy goodness from the cooking process.

To cook the potstickers, I usually use a non-stick pan.  I add a little oil and the potstickers.  Then I add 1/3 cup water and immediately cover the pan with a lid. 

Cook on medium heat for approximately 4 minutes, or until the water is evaporated.  

Remove the lid and then allow the potstickers to panfry and crisp up.  I generally like to use tongs or chopsticks to flip each potsticker  

I always pan-fry at least 2 sides of the potsticker (more crunchy skin!) and I like my potstickers separated; not stuck together in a clump like you may find some cooks do (lazy, lazy hey).  I tell you, the scapes thing is perfection.  We don't make potstickers any other way in my kitchen and my kids won't accept anything else now.  

Any left-over potstickers are placed on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, covered with plastic wrap and frozen until solid.  Then, if I remember, I place them into a large ziploc bag and store in the freezer.  

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