I made potstickers! I've been bit by the Asian culture bug and I'm determined to become more fluent in their cuisine. I decided to start with one of my husband's favorites and something I felt I could easily feed my toddler. Per usual, I do have a couple of tips and tricks to share to make your dumpling-experience more successful!
Filling and folding: I recommend folding your first few dumplings with less filling (about a teaspoon). This will provide you with a little more real-estate to work with while practicing folding and sealing the edges. Once you get this process down and aren't frustrated with filling bulging out of the sides, you can increase your way up to 1.5 to 2 teaspoons of filling.
Cooking the potstickers: I believe most people recommend you crisp the dumplings in oil before steaming. I personally prefer steam-before-crisp method of preparation for two main reasons. The first is steaming afterward can take away some of the crisp you just put on that dumpling by making it soggy. Now, I cooked my potstickers both ways to test this theory and didn't find a huge difference, but it was slightly less crispy. The second, and more important reason I prefer steaming first, is that putting water into hot oil can result in a combustible reaction. I knew this going into the process, so I was very careful, but I still created a small, temporary fire. This makes sense, right? You've heard of not using water to put out oil fires? As water is more dense than hot oil, so when added, it sinks to the bottom and vaporizes immediately. This creates a release of gas that not only creates a "steam explosion" but can spit hot oil on you as well!
Because of these reasons, I do not recommend the crisp-then-steam method for...well, I was going to say the average home cook, but for anyone really. However, I now some purists may come attack me, so I have listed both methods below to use at your discretion (and my disclaimer). I would recommend if you choose the crisp-then-steam method, you use two separate pans to keep oil and water separate.
- 1 lb ground chicken (or pork, shrimp)
- 1/2 cup shitake mushrooms, finely diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon of ginger, grated or finely minced
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (I actually used Tamari)
- 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- Dumpling wrappers
- Hoisin sauce for dipping (or you can use soy)
- Make the filling by combining ground chicken, mushrooms, garlic, ginger, onions, soy sauce, sesame oil, and vinegar in a large mixing bowl.
- Set up your "folding" station with wrappers, a small bowl of water and your filling.
- Take one wrapper and place about 1.5 teaspoon of filling (probably no more than 2 teaspoons) in the center of the wrapper. Lightly wet the tip of your finger in the water and use to wet the edges of the dumpling wrapper. Fold the dumpling in half, sealing the edges together to create a pocket, and removing air bubbles carefully.
- Use your fingers to seal the edges well. I like to pinch my forefinger and thumb together to create a "pleat" as shown.
- Repeat this process until you have made as many dumplings as you like. I used all of my wrappers and plan to cook a few at a time (they will save for a couple of days).
- I believe most people recommend you crisp the dumplings in oil before steaming. I find that this doesn't really take away much of the crispiness (as I had thought it would), but it did create quite the disruption when you add water to hot oil (as expected). I prefer the steam then crisp method, but listed below are both:
- Steam-then-Crisp (preferred): Put just enough water (about 1/4 - 1/3 cup) to cover the bottom of the skillet. Bring to a simmer. Add potstickers and cook for about 2 minutes with the lid on. Remove lid and allow any remaining water to evaporate. Pour about 1-2 tablespoons of sesame oil (or vegetable or olive, but I find sesame provides more flavor here) into the bottom of the skillet with the potstickers still in the pan. Allow to crisp on each side (or the bottom, if you've made flatter potstickers). Try not to move them around too much so you can get that nice brown crispiness. This should take 2-3 minutes per side or about 3-4 minutes if only browning one side/bottom.
- Crisp-then-steam (...less preferred in my book): Heat 2 tablespoons of sesame oil in a skillet. Brown for 2-3 minutes per side or 3-4 minutes if only doing one. Remove from heat. Try to ensure there aren't any random hot oil droplets as much as possible. CAREFULLY and SLOWLY add 1/4 to 1/3 cup water (just enough to coat the bottom) and allow to steam through the dumplings for about 1-2 minutes.
Chad used hoisin sauce and soy sauce with green onions for dipping. I added about 1/3 cup of hoisin to 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon tablespoon soy, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon honey (for sweetness) and 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger to marry the flavors between the sauce and the dumpling. I also served with purple shredded cabbage and carrots for some lightness and crispness.
Announcement: this recipe is "Maya approved!" (although here, it would appear she is just making a mess of some kale chips that I also made).