Who doesn’t love Chinese dumplings? Also known as Potstickers, they are bite-sized treats that come in many forms, from fried, steamed, boiled in soup.
You can make dumplings with your favorite ground meats, like chicken, lamb and beef, or opt for a vegetarian version, with veggies and/or tofu. But you don’t have to wait until your next visit to your favorite Chinese or Asian fusion restaurant to enjoy this delicious food.
Often a constant craving, these delicious treats are even tastier when you prepare them at home! Making dumplings may sound like a challenge, but it’s actually not that hard, and can make this yummy treat more accessible.
Everyone’s appetite will be whetted, and every meal made more festive, with the addition of chinese dumplings to a meal of stir fry over rice or noodles, or as a filling treat alongside miso or hot and sour soups.
And we are here to tell you exactly how it’s done.
How To Wrap
The first question is how “all out” do you want to go? You can either take the time to prepare the wrappers from scratch, or save yourself a step, and buy pre-made wonton wrappers, available in the freezer section of many supermarkets.
Chinese or asian markets in the area, will definitely have them on stock. If you do opt for the easier method, folding is a snap.
With round wonton wrappers, drop about a teaspoon full of filling in the middle. Fold the wrapper in half, then pinch down the edges to close.
Square wrappers will work just as well. Just fill and fold them in half to make a triangle. Fold in the middle point and pinch to make a little purse that looks just like the dumplings you love in your favorite chinese restaurant.
Here is the recipe for homemade wonton wrappers:
Would you believe that there are only 3 ingredients to homemade potsticker wrappers? All you will need is flour, salt and water, plus a little time and patience.
Perfect potstickers need a crunchy bottom without being too greasy. The wrapper cannot be too thick, or they will end up tasting gummy. The way to achieve this is with a hot-water dough.
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
⅔ cup boiling hot water
⅓ cup cold water
In a large bowl, add flour and salt, and stir. Add the hot water, and quickly stir with a wooden utensil, like chopsticks or a spoon.
Add cold water (not just tap water, but ice water or refrigerated water) and stir very quickly and vigorously until is a bit of a mess.
Now it’s time to get your hands dirty. Start by kneading the down in the bowl. It only takes a few minutes until there is a ball of dough to work with.
Then move to a very lightly floured surface. Knead as you would bread or any other dough. This part should take under 5 minutes. It will be ready when it stays round a firm with a little give when you poke it.
Set in a bowl, and cover with a damp towel to keep it moist, and wait 20 minutes for it to set. Then, divide the dough in half, and roll half into a long snake.
Use a knife to cut the snake into small portions, and roll out each one separately into a little circle. Place the circle in your left (or non dominant hand), fill with a spoonful of filling, and close the edges. Pleat tightly so there are no holes that will open during the cooking process.
The basic ingredients for potstickers are a combination of your favorite ground meat, plus vegetables, primarily some kind of cabbage. It should be well shredded, so that all the ingredients are tiny, and integrate together perfectly.
We are giving you a basic recipe, but as long as you stick to the principle, you can tweak according to taste.
The traditional meat is ground pork for Chinese Potstickers, but you can use any kind of ground meat you like, or even grind up tofu as a vegetarian alternative.
Favorite vegetable fillings are cabbage, green onions, bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and fresh ginger. You can experiment with different combinations according to your family’s preferences.
Once the dumplings are assembled, you can either pan fry them to get that crunchy side, steam them, or boil them in soup. They are really fun to make with kids, who love the assembly process.
You can either use them right away, or freeze them for another time, which is handy if you are serving potstickers while entertaining.
1 pound lean ground meat
4 large napa cabbage leaves, minced
6 stalks green onions, minced
7 shiitake mushrooms, minced (if dried – rehydrated and rinsed carefully)
½ cup bok choy, minced
½ cup bamboo shoots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon sesame oil
36 wonton wrappers
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
water, as needed
Once you have your wonton wrappers, either homemade fresh or purchased and already prepared, and you have mixed together your filling ingredients, the fun part starts.
Prepare a clean work surface, and call some friends and family members (it’s fun with kids!) for the assembly process.
Fill each round wonton wrapper with about a tablespoon of filling. Wet your finger, and run along the edges of the wonton wrapper. This will help to seal it closed.
Fold the wrapper in half for a half-moon shape, pinching the edges to seal tightly. Once you have filled the dumplings you can either freeze for later, or cook them and eat fresh.
To freeze, lay them out on a sheet of parchment paper on a tray, in a single layer. Once they are frozen, you can transfer them to a ziplock bag.
To pan fry, heat a large pan over medium/high heat. Add a couple of tablespoons of oil and play the dumplings with space between them.
Fry them for a few minutes until the bottom side is golden brown. Add ⅓ cup of water and cover with a tight-fitting lid. This final step will ensure that the filling is fully cooked, without sacrificing your nicely browned sides, and crispy taste.
Cook until the water has boiled away and then uncover and reduce heat to medium or medium low. Let the dumplings cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat and serve.
To steam dumplings, first put down a layer of cabbage leaves or parchment paper at the bottom of your steamer. Potstickers are, well, sticky, as their name suggests. Then cover and steam for 8 minutes.