Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pot Stickers

This might be my new favorite recipe on the blog. Did you know that pot stickers were originally created by accident? The chef of some ancient king accidentally steamed dumplings for too long, all the water evaporated and the dumplings stuck to the pan. They got all crispy and the chef didn't have time to remake them, so he served them to the king, who loved them! Well, that is what I heard on Arthur once (yeah, the cartoon). It must be true. Wikipedia does not confirm this story.

Now, I am not Asian. However, I am pretty sure I should be. I NEED to travel Asia and eat all the food in every country. I try to experiment at home, but I think it is always best to eat dishes made by experts first. I finally found an Asian market here in Boulder. I loved every second of it. And inch. I went yesterday and got so much good stuff (not really for this meal, btw): kimchi, mochi, sriracha, new toasted sesame oil (mine was like 7 years old...), and tons of other stuff for some dishes I am making in the near future. And it was so cheap! Smelled weird in there. And the lady seemed to hate life. But she was helpful. I can't wait until I need something again soon so I can go back.

This meal was just delicious. I had Scot help me fill the pot stickers because this makes 36! See video below for a little demo.

This recipe is very detailed, so I don't know that I have any tips. Oh yeah, one thing, these are best if you let them cool maybe 5-8 minutes before eating them. Since they are steamed/boiled, they are wicked hot on the inside. If you wait, they are much easier to eat. I served with the best dipping sauce ever (recipe below), sticky white rice, and snow peas (quickly boiled and tossed with soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame seeds).

Pot Stickers
adapted from Thy Tran’s recipe in Fine Cooking Magazine via Food People Want

2 cups finely chopped napa cabbage
Kosher salt
12 oz. ground pork
8 oz. peeled, deveined raw shrimp, coarsely chopped
3 medium scallions, thinly sliced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine) or dry sherry
1-1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoon toasted Asian sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
36 very thin, 3-inch circular, store-bought pot sticker or gyoza wrappers
2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

Make the Filling: In a medium bowl, toss the cabbage with 2 teaspoons salt and set aside for 30 minutes to shed moisture. Wring out in a clean kitchen towel to extract as much liquid as possible.

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage with the pork, shrimp, scallions, garlic, Shaoxing, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir until well mixed. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Fill the Dumplings: Spoon 1 to 2 teaspoons of the filling onto a dough wrapper, fold it in half, and make your first pinch at the center of the curved edge and then pleat toward the center on both sides to create a rounded belly. This wider shape allows the dumplings to sit upright in the pan and form a flat surface for browning.

Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling. As you work, arrange the filled dumplings in a single layer without touching on large plates, so they don’t stick together.

Pan-Fry the Dumplings: Heat 2 Tbs. vegetable oil in a heavy-duty 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working quickly and in batches if necessary (adding more oil for the second batch if needed), arrange the dumplings belly side down in concentric circles starting from the outer edge. Cook until golden brown on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes.

Pour in about 1/2 cup water or enough to come about a third of the way up the sides of the dumplings, bring to a boil, cover, and cook until all of the water has been absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the lid, reduce the heat to medium, and continue cooking just until the dumplings are dry and crisp on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Loosen the dumplings from the pan with a spatula.

Invert the pan over a plate to flip the dumplings, browned side up, onto the plate (or transfer with a spatula). Serve immediately with your choice of dipping sauce (see recipe below).

(Servings: 36 dumplings, Prep time: 1.5 hrs., Cook time: 45 min., Difficulty: Intermediate)

Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2-3 tbsp of honey
1/4-1 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes

Mix everything together. Taste and adjust as needed.

And, for fun, here is a little demo of Scot cheffin' up some pot stickers:


  1. do you think the pot stickers would freeze well? because i've wanted to make pot stickers for a loooong time, but i'd probably have to freeze a looot of them. this whole meal looks amazing.

  2. yeah, this makes a lot! and, if you go to Food.People.Want's original recipe (linked at the beginning of the recipe), he actually explains how to freeze them and how to reheat them. he says they are really good after freezing. you kind of just do the whole process again from frozen state. i have also heard that even the frozen ones (that you buy from the frozen section at the store) are pretty good if you make them right.

    also, we have been eating the leftovers for lunch. just white rice with some pot stickers. we just microwave them, so they lose the crispy bottom, but...they are still amazing.