I tend to organize the recipes I collect in a weird way. A normal person might go by courses, ingredients, or season. For me, there’s two broad categories: recipes that are doable (so stuff I’ll actually make), and recipes that serve mainly as inspiration but are probably a bit too involved to actually fit into my life. Occasionally I’m lucky enough to stumble on something that on first glance appears to belong in the second category, but on further inspection, is surprisingly simple. Those recipes are the best!
I recently got my hands on a copy of The First Mess Cookbook: Vibrant Plant-Based Recipes to Eat Well Through the Seasons by Laura Wright of The First Mess blog. I’m happy to report that this book is filled with recipes that look super fancy and enticing, but are simple enough to make on a weeknight. I attribute this to Laura’s amazing creativity in the kitchen with wholesome ingredients, as well as her amazing photography skills—this book is gorgeous!
These pot stickers were one of the first recipes I tried from the book. They’re made with just a handful of ingredients, but pack plenty of flavor. I’m a big fan of pairing Brussels sprouts with gingery Asian flavors, and here the slight bitterness and crunch makes the perfect filling for some crispy dumplings. The fillings get quickly cooked up in a skillet, then stuffed into wrappers to make the pot stickers, which are then quickly pan-fried in the same skillet. I’ve never had much talent for wrapping pot stickers, but Laura includes a note in the book that there’s no need to fuss a whole lot on that step, so I didn’t, and they still turned out pretty darn good looking and absolutely delicious.
¼ cup (50 mL) gluten-free tamari soy sauce
2 tablespoons (30 mL) pure maple syrup
½-inch (1 cm) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated with a Microplane grater
1 green onion, finely sliced
2 teaspoons (10 mL) sesame seeds
1 tablespoon (15 mL) virgin olive oil, plus extra for cooking
1 medium shallot, fine dice (about ¼ cup/50 mL diced shallot)
1 cup (250 mL) thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
2 cups (500 mL) sliced Brussels sprouts (about ½ pound/227 g)
1 clove garlic, minced
1-inch (2.5 cm) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
salt and pepper, to taste
25 wonton wrappers
Make the dipping sauce: Whisk the tamari, maple syrup, ginger, green onion, and sesame seeds together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Make the potstickers: Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallots. Stir and cook until fragrant and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the shiitake mushrooms. Stir and sauté the mushrooms until they start to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts, garlic, and ginger, and stir. Season everything with salt and pepper. Keep stirring the filling until the Brussels sprouts are bright green and slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat, and allow the filling to cool slightly.
Set out a small bowl of water. To assemble the pot stickers, divide the vegetable filling among the wonton wrappers, placing about 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of the filling in the center of each wonton wrapper. Take one filled wonton wrapper and dip your finger in the bowl of water. Moisten two sides of the wrapper, fold all sides together, and pinch along the edge to form a seal. Repeat with the remaining filled wrappers.
Wipe the sauté pan and heat a thin slick of olive oil over medium heat. Fry the pot stickers in batches until they’re golden brown on all sides, about 1 full minute per side. Add more oil to the pan as needed to finish cooking all the pot stickers.
Serve the pot stickers hot with the dipping sauce on the side.
Reprinted from The First Mess Cookbook by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2017, Laura Wright Alissa's note: Check the ingredients on your wonton wrappers if you want to keep this recipe vegan. My supermarket is usually hit or miss with vegan wonton wrappers, but I've always been able to find them at Asian markets. You can also make your own using this recipe.
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