How’s the work from home life, you may ask?? So far it’s been great! I decided that last Thursday and Friday were going to be vacation days for me. I slept, cleaned our apartment, organized the office, read some cookbooks, purged our fridge, and watched the remainder of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. You know, the important self care stuff. Then when Monday came I was antsy to get working and felt well rested! Well, sort of. Reuben and I rode our bikes twice over the weekend and my un-athletic self is not really sure what’s happening. So far work has consisted of emails, planning the logistics of my first class, spending all my money at Webstrauant Store, burning a pot of red beans for red bean paste, and making killer scallion pancakes (recipe coming next week!). Not too bad for a days work!
I have always dreamED of being able to work from home. I imagined that I would wake up every morning bursting with energy, fix myself a nice breakfast, put on yoga pants, work a little, go out for an afternoon coffee or exercise break, maybe talk to a person, and finish off the day with some freshly wrapped dumplings. So far the only thing that’s been true is the yoga pants. Ironically the hardest thing about working from home is having the energy to make yourself a nice meal. Yesterday I skipped breakfast and then made myself the lunch of my 5 year old dreams - a mini cheese quesadilla, avocado, rice, and a ripe mango. I was saving up my energy for the scallion pancakes I was about to test I guess. I’m hoping I’ll find a nice flow in the next few weeks. Right now it feels like I need to get a million things done and set the ground work for this freelance life and everything feels very urgent. Maybe I should get into meal prep?
I realize that I talk about dumplings a lot. They are just so good and versatile! One of the things I love most about dumplings is how meditative they are to make. If you have a hard time pleating dumplings it might be a little stressful, but once you get the hang of them it really is such a relaxing practice. I’m often making dumplings alone, which shouldn’t sound as sad as that sentence reads! Back home with my family we would make dumplings together and it would be the best time! Quick too… but here in SF I like to spend Sundays (DimSumday!!!) making dumplings either for dinner or to replenish our freezer stash. Reuben might pop in and help me fold a dumpling or 2, but I really don’t mind the peace that you get from pleating alone. I’ll turn some music on or just listen to the Top 50 songs playing from the neighbor’s kitchen across the lightwell. After a week of craziness and right before starting another week of craziness, making dumplings is my favorite way to find some calm in the kitchen.
So when Le Creuset asked me to create a recipe that helps me find calm in the kitchen, I immediately jumped to dumplings! They have this new GORGEOUS color called Fig as part of their New Calm hues. Somewhere between 1998-2005 I was obsessed with the color purple. Ask my Mom about the time I begged her to paint my bedroom lavender. I still feel like I don’t deserve to have these beauties in my kitchen. The braiser has quickly become my new favorite cooking vessel and has found a coveted permanent spot on my stove top. Obviously you can braise things in it, but I’ve also been sautéing vegetables in there and also cooking dumplings! The braiser is sort of perfect for the pan fry and steam method for cooking dumplings. This is when you sear the bottoms of the dumplings in a little bit of oil until they get nice and golden, then add some water to the pan and cover it to steam. Adding water and steaming something you want to be crispy might sound odd, but the magic is that once the water has fully cooked off at the end there is still a bit of oil in the pan that will crisp the dumplings back up again. The braiser works so well because 1. it has a fitted lid and 2. it’s big and beautiful enough that you can load it up with dumplings and then bring it right to the table when you’re ready!
The filling of this dumpling has a little Thai/Southeast Asian twist. We have Sriracha, fish sauce, and Thai Basil (the BEST SMELL). When you combine all 3 of these ingredients you get the most amazing dance party of flavors! These dumplings are spicy, herbaceous, and just a little bit funky but in the best way possible. I also find that chicken dumplings are a lot lighter than the pork or beef variety, so you have the ability to eat more dumplings. That’s never a bad thing!
Gosh, the Fig color is so pretty… I’m going to go stare at them for a little bit and then attempt to make some red bean paste without scorching my pot again!
Basil Chicken Potstickers
makes 24 large dumplings or 36 small dumplings
10 oz AP flour
pinch of salt
3/4 cup just boiled water
1lb ground chicken
1 cup fresh thai basil (regular basil works too) - chopped
2 tbsp Sriracha
4 cloves garlic - minced
2 green onion stalks - chopped
1/4 cup mined red onion
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
heavy 1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp cornstarch
olive oil for cooking
water for cooking
make dumpling dough:
Add flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and slowly pour in just boiled water. Mix dough together with your finger tips or a wooden spoon if the mixture feels too hot. Mix until water is absorbed and the dough is just combine. Knead for 2-3 minutes until dough is round and smooth. Place dough in a medium ziplock bag, seal, and allow to rest and hydrate for at least 30 minutes. Dough can rest for up to 2 hours before being used.
in a large mixing bowl combine ground chicken, basil, Sriracha, garlic, green onions, red onion, fish sauce, oyster sauce, white pepper, salt, and cornstarch. Mix everything together with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula until just combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let the filling to rest in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to develop. Filling can be made a day in advance.
Lightly flour your work surface. Remove dough from the ziplock bag. Cut dough in half and keep one half in the bag. Roll out one half of your dough into a 1” thick rope. Cut into 16 (for smaller dumplings) or 12 (for larger dumplings) equal pieces. Place pieces of dough in the ziplock bag to prevent drying out. Roll out 1 piece of dough into a 3”-3.5” disc with a small rolling pin or a tortilla press if you have one. Place a scant tablespoon (or a little less if you’re making smaller dumplings) of filling in the center of your round dumpling wrapper, avoid over filling. Fold according to desired shape. My simple dumpling pleat can found on my Instagram Highlights! Repeat with remaining dumplings and place dumplings on a lightly floured baking tray until ready to be cooked.
To cook your dumplings, add 1 -2 tbsp of olive oil to a skillet and heat over medium heat. Add a single layer of dumplings to fill your pan. Make sure there is room between the dumplings so they don’t stick. Sear on the flat side for 2-3 minutes until the side is toasted and golden brown. Add 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of water to the pan depending on your pan size, and cover the pan with a lid. Steam the dumplings for 5-6 minutes. Remove the lid and allow any remaining liquid to cook off and for the bottoms to crisp up again. The dumplings will stick to the pan, as the name implies, just take a small spatula or fork to gently pry them off the pan. Repeat steps with remaining dumplings.
Serve immediately with chili oil and/or soy sauce!
Dumplings can be frozen raw. Place pleated dumplings on a baking tray and freeze until solid. Place dumplings in a ziplock bag and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. When cooking, prepare as the recipe states but steam for an additional 3 minutes until cooked through.