Because we eat mostly gluten-free, we’re always on the lookout for breads, pastries and wraps that are both gluten free and good to eat. That used to be mutually exclusive. The first loaves of gluten free bread I tasted years ago were heavy and dull. Years of experimentation, and the fast-moving train of social media, has produced some great recipes, shared around the world. Cooks have become so creative and willing to think outside the box.
I was thrilled to find the book, The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen: Recipes for Noodles, Dumplings, Sauces and More, by Laura B. Russell (Celestial Arts, Berkeley, 2011). While it’s been out for several years, it’s a beautifully designed book with contemporary GF recipes, and helpful, colorful photographs.
I’ve successfully made the Gingery Pork Pot Stickers twice. Pot Stickers are dumplings, usually made of wheat flour, but in this case, the dough is a blend of tapioca, millet and sticky rice flours. They’re kind of like ravioli, but are shaped into upright crescents, filled with ground pork, onions and spices. To cook them, you flatten the bottom of the dumpling, and stand the crescents up in a hot oiled frying pan, browning the bottoms for a few minutes. Then you add water and steam them for about 10 more minutes, which cooks and plumps the dough, and cooks the filling through. The pot stickers have a great texture: soft and a little chewy on top, brown and crispy on the bottom. You can make the pot stickers ahead and freeze them, uncooked, to be finished later.
Follow the link above to the recipe on the author’s website. I’ve followed her recipe virtually to the letter, except I found it easier to form the dumpling with a tortilla press than a rolling pin. (See photo.) The dough is not particularly sticky, and is very forgiving. Just keep a little flour handy for dusting the dough before pressing, and when using the tortilla press, line it with a thin plastic bag, the kind you get in the produce section of a market. The plastic bag helps with making anything in a tortilla press, including corn or cassava tortillas (see our previous blog post.)
Other riffs to try: I made these with ground (dark meat) turkey instead of pork the second time around and that was also very good, though a little leaner. For a different dipping sauce, use an Asian sweet chili sauce, such as A Taste of Thai, or Thai Kitchen brands, which are both gluten free.
We also loved her refreshing Yakuza Cucumber and Avocado Salad (shown below, without the avocado), sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and togarashi. There are many more recipes I’d like to try: Steamed Radish Cake, made with daikon; Stir-Fried Rice Cakes with Shrimp and Vegetables (made with prepared Korean rice cakes); and Tapioca Dumplings with Beef and Shallots. Should be a busy summer in the kitchen.