Year of the Snake

Cung chúc tân niên, sức khỏe vô biên,
Túi luôn đầy tiền, sung sướng như tiên,
Thành công liên miên, và hạnh phúc triền miên.

Happy Year of the Snake readers! Wishing you a joyous, prosperous, and very lucky new year. Despite the blizzard and cold, I managed to make the most of the new year earlier today with firecrackers, lion dancing, and of course – lots of good food. It made me feel a tad bit better about not being home to celebrate Tết with my family.

Firecrackers to ward off the evil spirits.


Lion dancing to bring good luck and fortune.ConLan

Homemade Prosperity Pot Stickers

New Year Pot Stickers
While in Vietnamese culture, Pot Stickers don’t really have a role during the New Year, I thought it was still an appropriate New Year party food regardless. This is a really quick and simple recipe for pot stickers – lots of delicious flavors bundled in a crispy shell and drenched in a tangy soy sauce. The filling is comprised of ground pork and a ton of veggies that add both texture and flavor – ginger for some zing, onions and Napa cabbage for some crunch, shitake mushrooms and bits of shrimp for added meatiness, and of course the ground pork to hold it all together. The dipping sauce is a pretty simple concoction but make sure you really drench each pot sticker in the sauce – it is absolutely delicious. Disclaimer: these proportions are estimates, so please taste test and readjust as necessary to suit your needs, thanks!

100-150 pot sticker wrappers [available at all Asian grocers]
1 1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled, deveined, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, fine dice
2 tbs fresh ginger, minced
1/4 c shitake mushrooms, fine dice
1/2 c Napa cabbage, thinly shredded
2-3 tbs soy sauce
1-2 tbs Maggi seasoning [optional; if not using, increase soy sauce amount]
1-2 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp sesame oil
1 egg + 2 tsp water

For the sauce:
1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c sugar
1/8 c fresh lemon juice
1/2-2 c water
minced garlic
Sambal oelek or minced pepper [optional]
finely sliced scallions

To prepare the filling, combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. To taste test, I microwave a spoonful of the filling and then adjust the salt as needed.

To fill each pot sticker, spoon ~1.5 tablespoon of filling onto the center of the pot sticker wrapper. Using your finger, brush the egg wash along the outer rim of the pot sticker, then fold in half. The egg wash acts as an adhesive so the pot sticker won’t burst open. Use a fork to crimp and seal the edges of the pot sticker. At this point, you can freeze them (on a tray individually then store in ziplock bags) and save for later use, or proceed to cooking them.


Meanwhile, combine all the sauce ingredients and set aside.


To cook, boil a large pot of water, and have handy a large pre-heated frying pan with enough hot oil to coat the pan. Once the water is boiling, in batches, cook the pot stickers until they are translucent and float to the top. This should take no more than 3-5 minutes per batch. Immediately remove from the boiling water and allow the liquid to drain off, then quickly place into the hot frying pan. Please be warned that it is pretty difficult to do this step ahead of time. Par-boiled pot stickers are sticky and fragile, so it is best to fry them immediately after the boil. Fry so both sides of the pot sticker are golden brown and crispy. Remove from oil, allowing the excess fat to drip off. Serve hot with the dipping sauce as an accompaniment.


I hope your new year is off to a great start. Despite not being with my family, I still made due and even set up my own traditional decorations at home – cherry blossom branches and lì xì. It helps with the heartache. Luckily, next week I will be going back to sunny California to celebrate with my family as well as defrost my toes and my heart. See you there.


PS. Thanks to H&H for helping me wrap all 150 pot stickers! You two are the best sous chefs ever! ❤

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