TOAST’s Web “Thing”

Spicy Lamb potstickers

I’ve had a hankering for these for a while now, so I decided to give it a shot.  Even though it was New Year’s Day, all the shops on the main strip in Ashfield were open.  What I was after was some hot, dry spicy lamb potstickers, one might call them Uighur (Muslim culture, lamb eaters, not pork eaters), but I was mainly just after heat, spices and fat.

The one thing that I was after was a “fresh” taste to go with the heaviness of the fatty lamb, chillies etc.  I went out of my way to avoid the cumin of e.g. traditional “curry powder”, and considered making my own spice blend from scratch.  In the end I mixed up a few things.

The meat was lamb mince… which one can never seem to find.  I bought 800g of lamb leg chops, not much bone and not much fat, and went medieval using 2 knives to turn them into mince.  Hint; use a knife, traditional style to first cut the meat into tiny cubes, else you’ll be there all day.  It did take a while; I still don’t own a set of cleavers the same size.  After about 20 minutes I had a little under 700g of mince, and very tired hands.

The basis of these was the similar to my usual batch.  2 Tablespoons of light soy sauce, a full teaspoon of white pepper, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of rice wine and half a bunch of spring onions cut quite small.  The “dark side” consisted of 2 teaspoons of 5-spice powder, half a teaspoon of star anise powder (which I was really nervous about), a heaped teaspoon of chilli powder (Szechwan/Chinese style, course ground).
Strangely, I sort of deliberately forgot about adding any garlic/ginger to this.  Turned out to be an OK move.

The “freshness” came from a whole bunch of coriander leaves (70c at my local man, or $3.50 from a supermarket), and 4 large pieces of dried mandarin peel, soaked and diced tiny (I thought I had some tangerine peel, but it must have gone into my master stock).

And it worked out fine.  A little “drier” than I wanted.  I should have used a fattier cut of lamb.  The spices were exactly what I was looking for, and could really have let rip with the chillies.  I ate the first batch with chilli oil.  And beer!  A-WOO!

Made 75 of the blighters (that’s 5 good meals worth).  Took an hour and 45 minutes, I’ve got a good filling technique down (forget pleating the sods), but hand mincing takes a while.  I think eventually, I should be able to make 100 in under an hour (including mincing).  Cost: Right about $10, plus some spices I already had.

Next time:  Go the star anise powder, maybe even a tiny bit of liquorice root powder.  Must try a fattier cut of meat (or even get some more liquid in there, gelatinised stock???), more heat too!  Will leave out the garlic/ginger again as well.  Seemed to work.

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