Monday, October 26, 2015

Memories of Banzai: Pot-stickers at home

Prawn pot-stickers with sweet-chilli sauce
When I was studying at college in north campus, there used to be a couple of inexpensive Chinese restaurants closeby, thronged largely by the massive student population living in those areas. My favourite was Banzai - it has shut down since - tucked away in the back alleys of Kamla Nagar market. We used to frequent the place to have their delicious steamed pork momos. A plate costed about 60 or 80 bucks, and had 8 or 10 very large dumplings arranged around a plate with a small bowl of spicy sauce placed at the centre. They were juicy and full of deliciousness, and comfortably priced for a student budget. A plate was adequate for a heavy lunch, and I remember not feeling the slightest pangs of hunger till about dinner time. 

A couple of weeks back I came across a lovely video on Youtube by the Dumpling sisters (watch it here) for making pork pot-stickers for the Chinese New Year, and I knew I had to try it out. I modified the recipe a wee bit, but the credit goes out to the Dumpling Sisters for this fantastic recipe! In fact, I always assumed that pot-sticker wrappers need to be store-bought and there aren't any speciality Asian stores in the city that I know of. But this is a myth, happily dispelled by this wonderful video! The first time Len and I tried it out, we used a pork filling and miraculously they turned out just like the ones we used to eat at Banzai. It was the same moist dumpling with that extra crunch from being first pan-fried. The second time around we used prawns, using using exactly the same ingredients as with the pork. 

In terms of the actual novelty of preparing a dish, the pot stickers experience was right up there. I was quite surprised to find that the pork filling turned out better :) I say, surprised, because I have never rated anything above a prawn dish previously in my life! But luckily we used the same recipe for both; the only difference being the 300 grams of pork instead of the prawn I used for this recipe. Come to think of it, I think one could use also use chicken and they should still be just as yum! I served mine with a sweet-chilli sauce, readily available at any store.   

What you need:

Fresh prawns ready to be chopped

For the original recipe and the method, check out here. We made it exactly how the Dumpling Sisters did in their video it. I only tweaked the ingredients list a wee bit, mainly because I could not lay my hands on Shaoxing rice wine. So, here's what I used.

For the dough:
300 g flour
220 ml boiling water
1/4 tsp salt

For the filling:
300g cleaned prawn (OR boneless pork), minced finely by hand or in a food processor
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 tbsp. water
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce (I added this for the prawn, not pork)
1 tsp vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp honey
5 small spring onions, finely sliced
2 tsp ginger, finely diced
2 large cloves garlic, finely diced

All rolled up

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