Chef Danny Lee’s Potato Kugel Dumplings
From Laura Kumin: ChiKo chef Danny Lee is a whiz with noodles and dumplings, but had never made kugel before he was asked to compete in Tzedek DC’s celebrity chef kugel cook-off held in September. This is what he came up with, and it won the judges’ decision for the event. This is a fun party food!
Notes: You will need an instant-read thermometer for monitoring the frying oil. The filling can be frozen (in batches) for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before using.
- 1½ tablespoons kosher salt, plus more for the cooking water
- 4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, rinsed and cut into ½-inch rounds
- 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced (1 cup)
- ¼ cup furikake (Japanese seasoning blend, with dried nori and caramelized sesame seeds)
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 large eggs
- Three 12-ounce packages Hong Kong-style wonton wrappers
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 cup gochujang (Korean pepper paste)
- 1 cup Kewpie mayonnaise (Japanese)
- ¼ cup minced garlic
- Dumplings: Place the potatoes in a large pot, then cover with cold water by a few inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, then add a good pinch of salt; reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes have softened. Drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl to cool.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, stir in the onion. Cook for 45 minutes to 55 minutes, stirring often, until caramelized to a golden brown.
- Add the onion to potatoes, along with the butter, salt, pepper and furikake. Use a potato masher to mash until smooth, or transfer in batches to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat (paddle attachment) on medium speed until smooth.
- When ready to assemble, heat several inches of the vegetable oil in a deep wok or pot over medium heat, to 350 degrees. Monitor the temperature closely and adjust the heat, as needed, while you are frying the dumplings. Set a wire rack over a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
- Whisk the eggs together in a medium bowl; this is your egg wash. Lay out about 10 of the wonton wrappers on your clean work surface. Brush some egg on each wrapper, covering its entire surface. Scoop ¾ ounce of the filling onto the center of each wrapper.
- Fold one corner of each wrapper over the filling to meet the opposite corner; this will form a triangle. Press to seal the edges of the wrapper, then fold/press the two far corner ends together, to form a loop.
- Fry each batch (depending on the size of your wok or pot, up to 10 at a time) for about 2 minutes, turning them as needed, until golden brown. Use a Chinese skimmer or slotted spoon to transfer them to the rack to drain. Make sure you allow the temperature of the oil to return to 350 degrees before frying subsequent batches.
- Sauce: Whisk together the gochujang, mayonnaise and garlic in a deep bowl, until well incorporated.
- Serve the dumplings warm or at room temperature, with the sauce for dipping.
- Recipe reprinted with permission from Bonnie Benwick and the Washington Post. Photo credit: jdbaker photography.