custom cakes/cookies

Friday, August 13, 2010

Local Ingredients meet Culture Fusion

The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.

My choice for representing my locale: kimchi.

Nope, I don't live in Korea. There just so happens to be a new food vendor at my farmer's market, and I've taken it upon myself to get acquainted. For those of you who don't know, kimchi is an ancient Korean food made of various salted, lacto fermented vegetables (the bulk of which usually includes cabbage), hot peppers, and fish oil. It's a natural superfood that's high in dietary fiber, low in calories, rich in vitamins and minerals, and is full of probiotics. Because of its wonderful digestive properties, Koreans use it as sort of a palate cleanser during just about every meal. Due to it's distinctive flavor, Americans typically use it as a condiment. So much better on a hot dog instead of ketchup!

Since kimchi is mostly cabbage, it doesn't seem a far stretch to swap it into any recipe where cabbage or perhaps sauerkraut usually is involved. That's why kimchi on a hot dog is a good idea. That's also why it ended up as the filling in my pierogi. Pierogies often are filled with potatoes and cabbage. There seems to be a very fine line dividing the definition of a pierogi and a dumpling. It may have a lot to do with the filling ingredients (which reflects regional/cultural differences) and also a bit to do with the preparation. Do you steam? Pan fry? Deep fry? A quick poll of those I know with Polish heritage resoundingly said sauté in butter and onions. So that's where I began to play, replacing butter with sesame oil and keeping the onions. Lots of onions! While I was at it, I tweaked the dough recipe to include whole grains like spelt and buckwheat and whole wheat. At this point, I'm sure traditionalists might abandon calling this a pierogi, but I'm pretty sure, whatever the name, they'd still call it delicious.

Kimchi Pierogi Potstickers

makes 4-5 servings, around 40 dumplings

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
½ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup buckwheat four
¼ cup spelt flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
up to 1 cup lukewarm water (you won't use all of it)

12 oz prepared kimchi, drained (reserve liquid) and chopped

In exchange for this jar below, I bartered half a batch of pierogi with The Brinery CFO, David Klingenberger. Thank you, David!

To cook:
1 white onion, sliced into super thin rounds
2 cups water
2 TBS sesame oil
1 tsp (or less depending on taste) salt
fresh parsley to garnish

Dipping sauce:
reserved liquid from kimchi mixed with an equal portion of shoyu (my preference) or soy sauce and a few drops of sesame oil


Combine the flours and salt in a large bowl (or on a work surface) and make a well in the center. Break the egg into the well and add a little lukewarm water at a time (½ cup was sufficient for me). Bring the dough together, kneading well and adding more flour or water as necessary, but keeping in mind that you are aiming for soft dough. Cover the dough with a bowl or towel. Let rest 20 minutes.

On a floured work surface, roll the dough out thinly (about ⅛-inch thick) cut with a 2-inch round cutter. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the filling into the middle of each circle. Fold dough in half and pinch edges with the tines of a floured fork to seal. Gather scraps, re-roll and fill. Repeat with the remainder of the dough.

At this point you can freeze the pierogi for later use. Freeze in a single layer on a sheet pan for at least 30 minutes. When completely frozen transfer to a freezer-rated zip-top plastic bag and store up to 3 months.

When ready to cook:

In a wok (or large skillet) over high heat, bring water, sesame oil, sliced onions, and salt to a boil. Add pierogies in a single layer. Reduce heat to med-high. Cook, uncovered, until all the liquid is absorbed and the pierogies begin to sizzle, about 15-20 minutes.

Continue to cook 3-5 minutes more, shaking the pan often without turning pierogies, until golden and crisp on the bottom. You may find you need to rearrange the pierogies for even browning, but resist the urge to turn them over.

Carefully pry the potsickers from the pan with a thin spatula. Serve with the kimchi-soy dipping sauce.


Olivia said...

oh those look good...I've never tried kimchee! Your photography is sooo cool and I love your blog!
-the other olivia :)

s_delgrosso said...

Thank you for posting this beautiful recipe. I can't wait to try it.

Mom said...

I don't like kimchee that much, but I really liked the Brinery's pickled peppers.