Friday, March 30, 2012

Amy Tan's Mother's Potstickers!! - Weekend Cooking!

I just finished reading "The Bonesetter's Daughter," by Amy Tan, and I wanted to find a great Chinese recipe to make to go with the book, because I enjoyed it so much. I did a bit of googling and came up with Amy Tan's Mother's Potsticker Recipe. I think that it was utter serendipity that it was her mother's recipe because "The Bonesetter's Daughter" is all about mothers (and daughters, as the title implies!).



I have to say right away that what I made is not really her mother's recipe because they make the dough from scratch and I used wonton wrappers because of time constraints.

I am not going to repeat the recipe - it is in the article where the above link leads. It is a really nice article. Apparently, Amy and her siblings get together every year on the anniversary of their mother's death and make her famous potstickers. But, they can never get them quite right - because they were their mother's specialty. We have similar stories in my family. No one has ever been able to reproduce Aunt Mary's fried chicken or Gran's biscuits though we have all tried.



To make the potstickers, I chopped the Napa (see picture) and used ground pork and the other ingredients in the recipe. My wonton wrappers were square and they needed to be round(!) So, I took the lid ring of the small type of Ball jar and "traced" it with a small paring knife. The wrappers came in two stacks, and I did each entire stack at once and just cut through all the layers! (See picture.)



Then, I stuffed and "pleated" them and spread them all over the counter. After which, I boiled them in batches, and them fried their toasty little bottoms in MORE batches. And, then I made the sauce and served them. They were WOLFED down. These were a HUGE hit...
In "The Bonesetter's Daughter," Ruth, who was born in America tries to sort out the family secrets from back in China. And, there are secrets. And, adventures from the days of the revolution.

But, what I liked the most is what I liked the most about Amy Tan's other books, like "Saving Fish From Drowning," and that is that she mixes the real and the fantasy until I am not sure which is which. I like that! You know who else does that? Salman Rushdie. And, that is why it was fitting that I found "The Bonesetter's Daughter" and Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses" - beautiful hard cover editions sitting side-by-side at Goodwill for three dollars each!
Here is an example from "The Bonesetter's Daughter" of the lines between fantasy and reality being blurred. LuLing uses her daughter, Ruth, to "channel" her own mother (the bonesetter's daughter). She has Ruth draw in the sand. Ruth does not know what to draw, so she thinks, "Well, I'll just draw some lines." She does, and then LuLing gets all excited, because Ruth has just drawn a Chinese character! That leaves you, the reader, wondering...was that a coincidence? Is Ruth really channeling her grandmother? And, in a way, the reader is left to answer there questions for his or herself.



It goes without saying, but I give Amy Tan two thumbs up, and the potsticker's two thumbs up - even if they were not as good as her mom used to make...
I am linking this post up with Weekend Cooking over at bethfishreads. The button is in my right column!

33 comments:

  1. Yum! These look incredible. Love Amy's books. Great idea to make these after reading Bonesetter's Daughter :).

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    1. Thanks Jama - I am excited about your poetry month!

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  2. OMG these look awesome! I too am an Amy Tan fan. I love potstickers, and I always "cheat" by using wonton wrappers. I'm going to give Amy's a try.

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    1. The wonton wrappers are just so tempting...I got mine 2 for $3.00. You have to use them when they are GIVING them away like that!

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  3. I have never had these but they look like Chinese pierogies! and I did pierogies for my post today!

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    1. I went over to your post - you are right! I think the Italians have ravioli; the South Americans have empanadas...everyone likes food in dough ;)

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  4. A terrific way to combine reading and cooking; your potstickers look delicious!

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    1. Thanks - the kids ate 'em up, which is always the big test ;)

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  5. I'd love to read the book! Your potstickers look so good, I usually cheat with the won ton wraps but I'll have to give this a try, great idea with ball lid!

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    1. All the Amy Tan books are GREAT. Just before this, I read "The Kitchen God's Wife." That was a really good one. So far my favorite is "Saving Fish from Drowning."

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  6. I'm going to try to find this book, it sounds like one I would enjoy. And YUM! I love potstickers and yours look perfect! I'm going to follow that link because now I'm craving them!

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    1. Thanks! They were not as difficult as I thought they would be. I think you will enjoy the book!

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  7. I love how you linked a recipe to a book :) That is such a fun way to go about it!

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    1. Thanks, yea, I have always liked doing that so I can "get into" the book more :)

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  8. The idea of combining book reviews and recipes related to the books is so engaging. You provide such a unique approach to both genres.

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  9. potstickers and any sort of dumpling are one of my favorite foods in the world!

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    1. I feel exactly the same way - anything is better wrapped in a little dough :)

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  10. Love this presentation of book and food! I like potstickers but don't get them much anymore do to hubby's red meat allergy. I'll bet I could make them at home and use chicken. That would be a treat!

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    1. I bet that would work - substitute ground chicken for ground pork in the recipe! The wonton wrappers were in the refrigerated part of the health food section of the store and they saved me a ton of time and clean up :)

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  11. I am with you on using the wonton wrappers. Great recipe and I will have to check that book out.

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  12. They look delicious. I'll have to pin this title to my to-read board. I could make them all veggie as well. Love that you found the book at Goodwill. Score.

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    1. I think you will love the book! And, yep, finding it at Goodwill makes it even better. :)

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  13. Yum! I think these look delicious, and love that you found inspiration from a book to read it!

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    1. Hey Marg- Thank you!! And thanks for stopping by!

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  14. Those potstickers look amazing! How fun to take inspiration from a book you enjoyed.

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    1. Thanks! They were easier than I thought they would be!

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  15. I saw a food show/documentary that explored quite a number of times cultures that all had a pastry/dumping. At the end of the show they put all these dishes on a giant platter and then ate.

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    1. Oh, I would have loved that! LOL! Thanks for stopping by :)

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    2. I am a huge Amy Tan fan, not so much a fan of cooking but these potstickers look delicious. I might be brave enough to give these delightful morsels a shot!! Thanks for sharing Libby :)

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