I’m not ashamed to admit that I borrowed this idea from Trader Vic’s. It’s a terrific way to use pot sticker skins for crunchy little tacos. Last December, stylist Karen Shinto, my husband and I went to the original Trader Vic’s in Emeryville for happy hour. Along with our requisite Mai Tais, we ordered a few snacks. Their crisp pot sticker duck tacos was our favorite. Trader Vic’s has a track record of coming up with salty-sweet-rich snacks to pair with drinks. After all, the tiki bar-restaurant chain contends that it came up with the original crab rangoon – made from wonton skins.
Turning a pot sticker skin into a crisp taco shell and stuffing it with roast duck is yet another brilliant dumpling skin move. I simmered on the Asian-Mexican taco mash-up for a couple of months. When we had Peking duck meat leftover from a Chinese New Year dinner, I had the perfect excuse to experiment.
The hardest part was frying the pot sticker skins into taco shells. I didn’t want to hunt down a taco shell fryer because what would I do with it afterward?
I ended up free-styling the shells in a small skillet in about 1/4 inch of oil. If you’ve ever cooked an Indian papadum, you know that thin doughy sheets become pliable when subject to heat. You can bend them and after a while, they’ll hold their shape. To guarantee that shape, I hung the crisp shell over a ladle handle (a chopstick works too) suspended over a bowl to cool. Here’s a down-and-dirty video of what I did:
Trader Vic’s used storebought pot sticker skins so I got a package of Dynasty brand, which is sold at your average American supermarket. The fried pot sticker taco shells can sit around for hours before you fill them with the duck, sauce, and garnish. I served the tacos to friends along with the curry popcorn. It was all a hit.
Crisp Pot Sticker Duck Taco
If you don’t have roast duck, use roast chicken or turkey thigh. They have the richness that better match duck. Or, use pulled pork and barbecue sauce.
Makes 12 to serve 4 as an appetizer
12 pot sticker skins (Dynasty brand is what I used)
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons water
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 to 5 ounces leftover roast duck or chicken or turkey thigh, hand torn or cut into bite-size pieces
Green parts of 1 medium green onion, cut into thin, long pieces and soaked in water for 10 minutes to reduce harshness
1. Shallow fry the pot sticker skins in 1/4 inch of oil to form little taco shells. Medium or medium-high heat worked well for me. Use the video above to guide you. If you want to brown the shells a bit more, you can try to refry them at high heat to blast them a bit. The shells won’t look perfect but who cares, you’re just aiming to make a crisp holder for the duck!
The shells can sit at room temperature, partially or uncovered, for 2 to 3 hours.
2. Before serving, mix all the sauce ingredients together. In a skillet over medium or medium-low heat, warm the duck and a quarter-size pool of oil. When things start to sizzle a tad, add about 2 tablespoons of the sauce to season and moisten. Stir to combine then take off the heat.
3. Fill the taco shells with the duck. Drizzle leftover sauce into each taco and garnish with the green onion. That’s it.
- Curry Popcorn
- Classic Crab Rangoon
- Mai Tai (not Trader Vic’s but darn good)
- Spicy Asian Chicken Wings (if you to add to the salt-sweet-spicy side of things)
- Korean Fried Chicken (use chicken wings to make minis)
- Sriracha and Crab Rangoon Wontons (ditto, just like the wings!)