Andrew Wong this week became the first chef ever to win two Michelin stars for a Chinese restaurant in the U.K.
It’s long been difficult to get a table at A. Wong, in London, and it’s now impossible because it is closed by the coronavirus lockdown. So we’re lucky to get a chance to try one of Andrew’s dishes this week: He has given a simple recipe for prawn potstickers at home. This crispy dumpling recipe comes just in time for Chinese New Year on Feb. 12.
The main difficulty I had was in tracking down gyoza wrappers, even online. As for the cooking, I didn’t manage to seal all the dumplings at my first attempt because I’d allowed the skins to dry out. Andrew says you should keep them under a damp cloth.
The strangest thing was the instruction to throw the filling mixture onto a board 20 times. I slapped the mixture on my kitchen table repeatedly and watched bits of prawn flying off around the room. A day later, I am still finding them. In fact, I think I just sat on one.
The recipe is for 25 dumplings. I don’t know how many that is supposed to serve but I can tell you how many were left in my fridge the following morning. None. I ate through the lot while watching Schitt’s Creek. Andrew offers a choice of dips. I used both but wouldn’t bother with the bought-in sauce another time. The recipe specifies red vinegar, which I misread as red-wine vinegar, rather than Chinese red vinegar. But Andrew says any vinegar will do as the main point is the acidity.
250 grams (8.8 ounces) of prawns
8g potato starch
20g Trex (vegetable shortening) or vegetable oil
5g sesame oil
20 milliliters (0.6 fluid ounce) water
1 tablespoon of finely chopped spring onion
25 gyoza wrappers or dumpling wrappers
25ml red vinegar
3g ginger or 50ml Lee Kum Kee Sauce for Dumplings (optional)
Cut 2 millimeter (5/64 inch) slice from each end of each prawn and set aside.
Using the flat side of your knife, smash down onto each of the prawns to create a puree. (Do not blend in a mixer.) You really need to bash them hard. A cleaver works better than a knife if you have one.
Add the offcuts from the prawns and all the ingredients to the paste and mix vigorously with your hands.
Pick up the mixture and throw onto a board. Repeat this process 20 times. Place in a bowl and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Get your dumpling sheets and add one teaspoon of mixture into the middle of the circle.
Dot the edges of the pastry very lightly with water, then fold over the sheet to seal the filling into the wrapper.
When sealed, press the dumpling down to create a flat base.
Get a nonstick pan and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. When oil is hot, place the dumplings one by one into the pan, standing upright. Leave to cook until the bottom of the dumpling becomes toasted.
Add 100ml of water to the pan and cover with a lid, leaving the lid slightly ajar. (Because there is hot oil in the pan, it will spit when you add water so be careful.) Leave the dumplings to cook for 10 minutes and until the water is all evaporated. When the pan is dry, add a little more oil to re-crisp the bottom of the dumpling.
Remove from the pan onto a plate and serve with 25ml of red vinegar with a few strands of sliced ginger inside, or the ready-made sauce in the ingredients list.
The story has been lightly edited for style.