Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hungry Midwife

So I have a confession.

I read a book about how to make your child into an adventurous eater.  This is weird for 2 reasons, the first being that I have no children.  The second is that I am not pregnant or even planning a child anytime soon.  However if you read the first three chapters of Hungry Monkey by Matthew Amster-Burton, hell the first three pages, you'll probably get hooked too.

You can read the first three chapters online for free at the above link.  Go on, do it.  Even right now.  I guarantee you'll laugh a lot.  I have to say there is something appealing about an edgy parenting book.

Amster-Burton makes me laugh and eggs me on to try new things for cooking in my childless kitchen.  One of his favorite recipes (and his daughter's too) is Potstickers.  While he talked a lot about his Bok Choy Potstickers, he ended the book with a recipe that included pork.

So I decided to experiment on the filling but follow his advice for cooking.  The first night I was making these, there was an impressive thunderstorm and subsequently the power went out.  Fortunately we have a gas stove, but unfortunately it's hard to create a beautiful caramelized bottom to the potsticker if you can't see it.  We did try flashlights and headlamps but it wasn't the same.  They did turn out good, but honestly more like steamed dumplings.  After that, I read some good advice on Herbivoracious (and the power came back on) and success was had in the potsticker department.

Turns out that having read this great book gives me something new to talk and joke about with my patients who are trying to learn how to feed growing children, especially those picky toddlers.  All in addition to an awesome read and new recipes to try.

Bok Choy Potstickers
Inspired by and cooking adapted from Matthew Amster-Burton's Hungry Monkey

1 small shallot, diced
1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 small bunch bok choy (ok to use baby bok choy here), coarsely chopped
4-5 shitake mushroom caps, sliced
canola oil or sesame oil
soy sauce
12 potsticker wrappers (I used Nasoya round wraps)

Serves 2-4 people as an appetizer or side dish
For an awesome, easy to make dipping sauce - follow the sauce recipe on Herbivoracious

First do all your chopping, and set aside your veggies.  Heat about 1 Tbsp of canola or sesame oil on a large frying pan over medium heat.

Add garlic and shallot to oil and saute briefly until garlic just begins to brown.  Add shitake mushrooms and cook until they become slippery, stirring frequently.  Add bok choy and mix well together.  Cook until bok choy has cooked evenly and greens are slightly wilted.  Add a few splashes (2-3) of soy sauce and mix well.  Remove from heat, place in a bowl and chill for a few minutes.

While the mixture is chilling, this is a great opportunity to make the dipping sauce.  

To prepare for the construction of the potstickers, have a small bowl of water handy.  Get out your wraps and bok choy mixture.  For each wrap, place a little less than a tablespoon of filling in the center.  Then, using your fingers, wet the edges of the round with water and fold over, pinching together the edges of the wrap.


Heat 2 Tbsp of oil (I used canola) in a same pan you used for filling (I'd recommend washing it and drying it first, or even better having a loved one do that for you).  Heat should be medium high.  Then add dumplings to pan and cook for about 1-2 minutes.  At this point you add 1/2 cup of water and cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid.  Reduce heat to medium and steam dumplings for about 6 minutes.

Just added to pan, pre-steaming

Status post steam treatment

Remove cover and increase the heat slightly to cook off the water.  Cook until the potstickers are deep brown on the bottoms and live up to their names.  Dry on paper towel to soak up some of the oil before serving.

I served the Bok Choy Potstickers with a variation on Patent and the Pantry's Saifun Salad.  


  1. Our evening sizzles
    with canola abundant.
    Slick kitchen temptress.

  2. Thanks for the haiku, love, I'm flattered.

  3. Those look really good! And they must have been to inspire poetry. =) I love Matthew Amster-Burton and am glad to hear his book is worth reading (even for the childless). Doesn't his daughter sound like a pretty cool kid?

  4. His daughter does sound really cool - read the book, I know you'll love it!
    And the potstickers are great and easy too. There are some easy recipes for making your own wonton wraps if you can't find them at the store. This was J's meal of the week until I made the Tomato Tart.

  5. I was looking for a book to buy, and this one seems worth it, as (in case you don't know who this is yet: a clue) I am soon to be a food-loving father with a hopefully adventurous eating daughter. Not that she'll eat adventure, you understand... well, she might. I went right to Barnes and Noble and bought it! Thanks!

  6. You're going to love this book Sylvio! It's hilarious and informative, I was actually going to get it for you but, too late ;) Damn my persuasive writing skills!