You Dim Sum, You Lose Some: Fried Potstickers (for beginners!)
Oh potstickers. The appetizer of our eye. The hottest hors d'oeuvre at the party. It's no wonder we had to try to tackle this as a recipe from scratch.
4 long hours in the kitchen passed. When we finally showed our creation to Alyssa's best friend, Emily, immediately her response was, "those are white people dumplings."
She's not wrong. Trust me, if you tried her Paw Paw's (grandmother's) homemade Chinese boiled dumplings, you would think the same. So we aren't here to pretend this is the best potsticker recipe you'll ever eat. But rather, use this as your go-to recipe for pork or tofu potsticker beginners, like us, who don't know where to start, what to ask, or where to look. We did all of that for you! But before we begin this post, please note: these are TIME INTENSIVE. Seriously. Consider this a half-day activity. And for the love of all that is holy (or delicious) do not start this recipe without a glass of alcohol -- the one sure way to keep your cool if this is your first time making them. Prepare to go through all five stages of grief making these (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). And trust us, you'll get to accept a whole lot faster with a glass of red or an old fashioned.
Servings: 40-50 dumplings
1 pound ground pork / 1 pound tofu (or half a pound of both)
1 cup shredded green cabbage
3 ounces shiitake mushrooms, diced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon hoisin
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon Sriracha, or more, to taste
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Soy sauce or dumpling sauce, for serving
2 1/4 cups (320g) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (175g) very warm water (between 110 to 120ºF)
1. The first step to this process is to make the dumpling wrappers. This takes three things: water, flour and a bowl. You will want to mix water and flour in your bowl. Make sure the water is very warm. We recommend getting the water to boil, then letting it sit for a few minutes before mixing into the flour. You will want to use a wooden spoon to start mixing together the ingredients until the dough starts to form.
2. Once the water is absorbed and you start to get straggly bits of flour surrounding a larger ball, it’s time to get down and dirty with those hands! **insert LeBron whipping it up.** Take the dough ball out of the bowl and place on to a floured counter. Knead the dough for 3 to 5 minutes.
3. After you feel like the dough is in a good place, start to form it into a smooth ball (it wont be perfectly smooth, but close enough). And dough will be very firm. Throw that b**** into a plastic bag (to keep moist) for 15 minutes.
4. Take the dough out again (it will be a bit softer and easier to shape now) and knead the dough a few more times. Now that dough should be smooth as a baby’s bottom (not that we would know). Form into a ball again, place back into the plastic bag, and let it sit for another 30 minutes. Patience, Obi-Wan.
5. During that 30 minute dough timeout, start creating the filling. Go ahead and grab a bowl (two if you are making two separate fillings for the meat and veggie dumplings).
6. Go ahead and put the respective proteins into each bowl. We did ½ a pound of pork and ½ pound of chopped tofu, but if you are doing one of those proteins, you can do a full pound of the protein you choose.
7. Next step, you will want to dice the mushrooms, garlic, green onions, cilantro, cabbage and grate the ginger. Tip: make sure everything is really fine – you’ll thank us later. If you are making tofu and pork dumplings separately, you are going to put half in each bowl. (Same applies for step 8.)
8. Next, add in your sesame oil, pepper, hoisin sauce and siracha into the bowl(s).
Tofu version featured
9. Mix the filling all together, cover and place in the fridge while we start to make the wrappers (this is where the fun starts. And by fun, we mean we cried a little…a lot… through the whole process).
10. Take your perfectly soft dough out of the plastic bag. Make a hole in the center of the dough with your finger, like you’re making a thick donut. Then use your fingers to stretch out that hole in the center. Keep stretching out the dough and rotating it until you get a large and even ring (you will want this to be 1 1/2 inches in diameter).
11. Here is where it helps to have a kitchen scale. The perfect dumpling wrapper size will weigh between 9-10 grams. Start cutting about 10 pieces of the ring and keep the rest in the Ziplock bag to avoid the dough drying out.
12. Now for the back-breaking part: rolling out the dough. We used plastic cups, but you can also use a small rolling pin if you happen to have one. The way we rolled it out was like pie crust – moving the cup over the dough in a forward motion. Then, rotate it clockwise and repeat so the dough forms an even shape and thickness. You will want to continue rolling and rotating until the dough is about 3 1/2 inches in diameter.
12. You’ll start to accumulate a lot of a lot of wrappers after a while, and it’s best to stack in piles no more than 5, and place a damp paper towel on top of them all to avoid from drying out.
We know step 12 and 13 is a lot, so one thing that really helped us was this great video, particularly if you are a visual learner.
13. So by now your hands are tired, your spirits are drifting downwards, and you finished a whole bottle of wine during this roll-out process. But hey – you finished the last wrapper! And now it’s time to stuff these bad boys with that delicious filling that has been chilling in the fridge. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the filling into the center of each wrapper. Using your finger, rub the edge of half wrappers with water (don’t wet the full parameter – it won’t stick as well). Fold the dough over the filling to create a half-moon shape, pinching the edges to seal.
Again, here’s a video to help visualize this complicated step of folding your dumplings.
14. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add potstickers in a single layer and cook until golden and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side.
15. Add ¼ cup of water and quickly cover to steam the dumplings – this will also make sure the filling is cooked well inside. Do this until all water dissipates, then quickly remove from the pot.
And.....HERE WE ARE!
Pork version featured