THE BEST POTSTICKERS EVER

oy, my legs are entirely too sore from walking around the city yesterday (apparently my power walks around the super target didn't get me in shape for this?) but i am about to eat cold keste pizza for breakfast before booking it to rehearsal, so it is all good!

my family's potsticker recipe is up on food52 right now (and it includes a chubby one-year-old me), go check it out!

-yeh!

A DUMPLING A DAY: ALGERIAN BUREK

There are many types of burek (thin dough filled with meat) around the world, but this Algerian version is the stuff of my youth. When I met my Bosnian husband and he claimed that one of his favorite things to eat was burek, I knew it was fate. While the two versions differ mainly in shapes — a spiral versus a cigar — the main point is that when you fill thin pastry dough with good seasoned meat, something so magical happens that it can even bring two people together who come from vastly different places. Yep, I'm saying that burek = love. 

My mother-in-law makes her dough by hand and then patiently stretches it and oils it until it is paper thin. I've done this with her before and it's as difficult as it sounds. There is just no way I'm about to do that by myself, so I use fillo dough or wonton wrappers. Yay for shortcuts! Once the dough is thawed, all you need to do is to cook up the meat with onions and cumin, salt and pepper, and get to rolling some cigars. When I was younger, I preferred to fry them in oil on the stove but now that I'm 4 years away from 30 and my hips are of concern, I choose to brush them with a little oil and bake them. Either way, you'll end up with a crispy shell and a savory, meaty, salty filling. Oh yeah.

Here's what you need:

Fillo dough or wanton wrappers, thawed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 pound ground beef (I used ground longhorn beef which is leaner)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon cumin

canola oil

1 lemon

Here's what you do:

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add meat, salt, pepper, and cumin and cook through. Drain off some of the fat, if you wish. 

Lay a couple of layers of fillo dough in a square or rectangular shape. Spoon some of the meat mixture in a line along one of the edges of the dough. Fold the edges over (like a burrito) and roll it up! Seal the burek by wetting the edge of the dough with some water and closing.

If you choose to fry, fill a heavy bottomed pan with canola oil (about 1/4 inch deep is all you really need). Let the oil heat up and then drop in (carefully!) the burek. Turn regularly until golden brown, and set on a paper towel to drain. 

If you choose to bake them, brush your cigars with a little bit of canola oil and bake in a 400 degree oven until they're crispy and golden brown. You may need to turn them once!

Serve hot, and squeeze lemon over the burek as you eat them. We also like to dip ours in a traditional Algerian lamb soup!

-camilla salem

 


this post is part of the dumpling a day while i'm away  guest blogger series. i'm in israel right now so i've gotten some awesome bloggers, photographers, and writers, to showcase delicious dumplings. if you're interested in being a dumpling guest blogger, send me a note at yeh.molly@gmail.com. yay!

A DUMPLING A DAY: HUMMUS DUMPLINGS

“WTFun” dumplings are an original idea, inspired by my hungry stomach. Thank you, stomach.

If you’re short on time or too tired to make absolutely everything from scratch (it’s okay, there are those days), hummus, dumpling wrappers, and heck, even cooked chicken, can all be store-bought. Isn’t America amazing? If you choose to buy hummus and dumpling wrappers, you can go ahead and direct your attention to the latter half of the post, as that’s where you’ll find how to construct and cook the dumplings. You’ll be done in 15 minutes, max.

I found out I didn’t own a rolling pin last minute (whoops), and used a cup to roll out the dough instead. So if you’re thinking what the funk is up with those dumpling shapes? I know, I’m thinking the same thing. Trust me, they don’t alter the taste though.

Thank you to my friends Eun Sun, James, and Susie for eating the ones that turned out beyond creatively interesting and into butt ugly. :’) And thanks for letting me share this, Molly!

Hummus

Makes: 2 1/3 cup hummus

Ingredients

4 fresh garlic cloves (fresh makes all the difference!)

4 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)

juice of 2 freshly squeezed lemons

3 tablespoons liquid from the chickpeas

Directions

1. Blend all ingredients.

2. Taste, for seasoning, and set 1.5 cups aside for the filling. Refrigerate remaining hummus as a side dip for the dumplings.

Dumpling Wrappers

Makes: 40 wrappers

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup warm water

Directions:

1. Sift all-purpose flour and salt.

2. Add warm water gradually into the dry ingredients, using a spatula or fork to mix until you can form the mixture into a ball with your hands.

3. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, adding more water or flour depending on the consistency.

4. Cover and rest the dough at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

5. Quarter the dough to form 4 logs and cut a total of 40 even pieces.

6. On a lightly floured surface roll out each piece into a 3-inch circle.
7. Dust each wrapper again with flour and stack them up.

TIP: For the logs/dough pieces that aren’t being rolled out yet, cover in plastic wrap to prevent the dough from drying out. Dried out dough is bad. news.

Filling

Makes: Enough for 40 dumplings

Ingredients

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4 mini (or 2 large) avocados

1 pint grape tomatoes

salt and black pepper, for seasoning

Directions

1. Boil chicken breasts in salted water for 10 minutes, or until cooked through.

2. Meanwhile, dice avocados and tomatoes into small, filling-size pieces.

3. When chicken is cooked through, allow chicken to rest for 5 minutes.

4. Shred chicken into filling-size pieces.

5. Season chicken with black pepper, to taste.

6. Mix chicken, tomatoes, and avocados evenly with 1.5 cups hummus.

TIP: I suggest wearing sanitized dish gloves and shredding the chicken to protect yourself from the heat, as the chicken will still be hot after 5 minutes. To super expedite the process, use scissors to chop into small pieces. 

Dumpling

1. Fill the center of the wrapper with 1 tablespoon filling.

2. Moisten the edges of your wrapper with water, fold to create a semicircle, and seal dumplings tightly. At this point, you can jazz up your dumplings by pleating the edges.

3. Heat a pan with 1/2-1 inch vegetable oil at high heat

4. Fry dumplings for ~1 minute on each side. These bad boys cook fast so make sure you’re distraction free!

TIP: To test whether the oil is ready, stick a wooden chopstick into the middle of the pan. If bubble form around the chopstick, the oil is ready

Get that extra hummus out from the fridge and serve immediately. Enjoy!

-nina yu


this post is part of the dumpling a day while i'm away guest blogger series. i'm in israel right now so i've gotten some awesome bloggers, photographers, and writers, to showcase delicious dumplings. if you're interested in being a dumpling guest blogger, send me a note at yeh.molly@gmail.com. yay!