I am so tired of serving rice as a side dish to virtually everything I make. It's really worn out it's welcome on my table, but at the same time I can't seem to find a viable carbo-rific substitute that everyone (read: Scott) likes. I've tried couscous, polenta, rice noodles, egg noodles - and I've also tried leaving the starch off the plate which is met by gasps of incredulity and a rush to the cereal box before nine o'clock. I have accepted that my husband is a protein-and-starch kind of guy - and more meat-and-potatoes than salmon-and-quinoa, at that.
So I thought about potstickers. They have a starchy, side-dish kinda vibe going on, at least in my head, and I thought it would be an interesting way to hide some vegetables on his plate. The idea was sparked by a beautiful head of local purple cabbage in the produce section, and I used my new trusty iPhone to call up an Alton Brown recipe RIGHT THERE IN THE STORE and I'll be damned if I didn't bump into like eight people but I actually GOT ALL THE INGREDIENTS. Which is worth the dirty looks.
Someone online posted this recipe for Sriracha-Glazed Chicken Thighs the other day, and since all it takes is a mention of sriracha or chili-garlic sauce to set my mouth watering, I knew I had to make it. Disclaimer: it IS spicy. Too spicy for the husbland, who chose to have his thighs coated with Sweet Baby Ray's Honey BBQ sauce instead. His CHICKEN thighs, people! Get the heads out of that gutter (unless it's my gutter and you're in the process of cleaning it out. In which case, proceed with all due haste).
Sriracha Glazed Chicken Thighs
2/3 cup mango jam (I used peach preserves)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons Sriracha
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 (12-ounce) bone-in skinless chicken leg-thigh quarters
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat grill, leaving one burner off.
2. Combine preserves, chives, vinegar, and Sriracha, stirring until smooth. Reserve 1/4 cup mango/peach mixture; set aside.
3. Brush oil evenly over chicken. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
4. Place chicken on grill rack over unheated part. Brush chicken with about 2 tablespoons remaining sriracha glaze.
5. Plate chicken, and top with a few spoonfuls of the glaze.
Now for the veggie potstickers. Alton's recipe called for cubes of tofu, which I really didn't feel like wrangling with. Tofu is one of those things that I'll eat outside the house (especially if it's tempura-battered and crispy), but I'm not all for making it at home. So I left it out. I also left out the hoisin sauce, as we all know how I feel about that product.
Vegetarian Steamed Dumplings
1/2 pound firm tofu
1/2 cup coarsely grated carrots
1/2 cup shredded Napa cabbage
2 tablespoons finely chopped red pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Bowl of water, plus additional water for steamer
35 to 40 small wonton wrappers
Non-stick vegetable spray, for the steamer
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
2. Cut the tofu in half horizontally and lay between layers of paper towels. Place on a plate, top with another plate, and place a weight on top (a 14-ounce can of vegetables works well). Let stand 20 minutes.
3. After 20 minutes, cut the tofu into 1/4-inch cubes and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the carrots, cabbage, red pepper, scallions, ginger, cilantro, soy sauce, hoisin, sesame oil, egg, salt, and pepper. Lightly stir to combine.
4. To form the dumplings, remove 1 wonton wrapper from the package, covering the others with a damp cloth. Brush the edges of the wrapper lightly with water. Place 1/2 rounded teaspoon of the tofu mixture in the center of the wrapper. Shape as desired. Set on a sheet pan and cover with a damp cloth. Repeat procedure until all of the filling is gone.
5. Using a steaming apparatus of your choice, bring 1/4 to 1/2-inch of water to a simmer over medium heat. Spray the steamer's surface lightly with the non-stick vegetable spray to prevent sticking. Place as many dumplings as will fit into a steamer, without touching each other. Cover and steam for 10 to 12 minutes over medium heat. Remove the dumplings from the steamer to a heatproof platter and place in oven to keep warm. Repeat until all dumplings are cooked.
So yeah, this recipe was kind of a pain in the you-know-what. The dumplings turned out okay, but even halving the filling recipe I had a ton leftover and I really only wanted to make a few dumplings. They were yummy, especially dipped in a soy and scallion dipping sauce, but I don't know that I'll attempt them again - unless of course they are filled with ground pork and fried, in which case, SIGN ME UP.