Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Butternut Squash Pot Stickers

While I love testing and trying new foods and recipes, I definitely have a culinary comfort zone.  That comfort zone tends not to include foods in Asian category.  There's just something about the thought cooking on a wok that intimidates me.  Who knows, it could have something to do with the showmanship that goes on at the hibachi grill that has contributed to that intimidation too.  While Asian cuisine is one of my favorites I rarely attempt it at home. 
But, since I try to push myself and try things beyond my comfort levels I decided it was due time to attempt this cuisine again.  I decided to start simple, dip my toes in the water rather than diving in head first.  It's all about baby steps, right?  So I decided to start small, by making these cute, little pot stickers.  Not only would these allow me to dabble in Asian cuisine it would also help me welcome Fall since their stuffed with butternut squash.  

 These pot stickers are incredibly simple to make.  A little time consuming with the filling, folding, sealing and chilling process; so not ideal for a weeknight meal.  But definitely worth the time, nonetheless.  The butternut filling is slightly sweet but quickly balanced with the zing from the green onion and the salt from the soy sauce.  The filling is light and bursting with flavor and the wontons are flaky and perfectly crispy.  Giving you a great combination of crunch and soft, smooth filling.  The dip adds another layer of flavor; salty, slightly sweet from the brown sugar and

Each little sticker is perfectly portioned with filling to wonton ratio and just the right size to pop in your mouth; their bite-sized. Making them a perfect option for a party, no plate needed, just grab and go.  While these are a terrific option for a cocktail party, they could also be served as a meal, just dish up some brown or fried rice along with a side of garlicky broccoli or sauteed green beans and you've got a satisfying meal that merges the taste of Asian cuisine and Fall. 
I made these pot stickers with no stress or bumps in the road.  I've dabbled my toes in the water and am comfortable with these, maybe the next think will be a simple fried rice.  We'll see!     

Butternut Squash Pot Stickers

1 Pound butternut squash, peeled and seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 3/4 of 1 butternut squash)
1/2 Cup + 2 Tbsp soy sauce, divided
5 Tbsp packed brown sugar, divided
1/4 Tsp salt
2 Scallions finely diced
1 Tsp grated, peeled fresh ginger
1/4 Tsp sesame seeds
20-25 wonton wrappers (thawed if frozen)
1/4 Cup canola oil


Place squash, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, brown sugar and salt in a medium sauce pan, stir to combine.  Cover the squash with water, cover and place over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Cook until squash is tender, about 12 minutes.  Drain the squash and transfer to a medium bowl.  Using a fork, smash squash until tender.  Add the scallions and ginger and stir to combine.

To assemble-
Place a scant tablespoon (a little less than a tablespoon) of filling in the center of each wonton wrapper.  Wet the edges of the wrapper with water and bring one edge to the opposite edge to make a triangle.  Gently, but firmly, press to seal the edges of the wonton.  You can stop there, or bring one edge of the triangle to the center, then the other edge to overlap and wet with water to seal.  Place on a sheet tray and place in freezer until firm, about 10-15 minutes.
To cook-
Place 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a large, non-stick skillet and place over medium-low heat.  Allow the oil to heat but not start smoking.  Add 1/3-1/2 of the pot stickers, being sure not to overcrowd the pan, and cook.  Gently shake to ensure the pot stickers don't stick to the pan.  Carefully turn the pot stickers over and cook until brown.  Once browned, carefully add 1/2 cup water and cover to allow to steam.  Cook until most of the liquid is evaporated, about 2-3 minutes.  Transfer to a serving dish and cover with foil to keep warm.  Repeat process with remaining pot stickers.  Serve with dipping sauce and vegetable of your choice.

For the sauce-
Combine 1/4 cup water, 1/2 cup soy sauce and 2 tablespoons brown sugar in a small bowl and stir to combine.  Add the sesame seeds and set aside.

Recipe source: barely adapted from Martha Stewart

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