Since I have a tendency to make food for any event my apartment or family celebrates (Halloween, New Years, Chinese New Year, Pie Day), really any excuse I can have to throw a small party and make food for it, I have a couple of go-to apps for such occasions.
My favorite meat to use for filling is pork since I don’t often buy it so it’s pretty much an indication that it’s a special occasion. But ground chicken works just as well (I wouldn’t suggest using beef, but it’s probably fine to use too).
So I always start out with diced celery, carrots, and bok choy. I use both the white part and the leaves of the bok choy. Onions can be added to the mix, but I don’t think it’s necessary. And if you, unlike me, have ginger on hand, add that too. No Asian dish is ruined by the addition of ginger. Well… I’m sure one exists, but I haven’t found it yet.
I sautéed this with a little bit of olive oil (but if you have sesame oil, I highly recommend that instead). I don’t typically season anything since I’m going to be adding soy sauce. Soy sauce (for me) is typically salty enough that any addition of salt outside of the soy sauce with over salt the entire dish. But, if you want a little more salt, season the vegetables here.
Once the veggies are cooked, I take them out and set them aside as I cook the pork. Throw in the ground pork and break it up into smaller chunks. Once it’s nice and browned I add back in the vegetables and a little bit of sauce. The sauce is simply made from soy sauce, a little bit of siracha (which can be adjusted depending on how hot you want it), Worcestershire, rice vinegar, lime juice, and spices (coriander, cumin, and allspice). Let the liquid come to a boil and let it go for a little bit so that it can reduce down a bit.
Now for the dough. There is store-bought wonton wrappers that can be used just as easily. But since the store was out of those when I needed to make these, I had no other choice but to make the dough by hand. This dough is really simple to make. All you need is flour and fresh-boiled water. Mix those together and kneed until you have a nice ball of dough as seen below.
If, like I do, you need to make this gluten-free, not much extra work goes into it. You need the same ratio of flour and water, but you just add a little bit of xanthan gum. For gluten-free flours, we like to use Cup 4 Cup, which is a great all around flour that translates well in baked goods as well as anything else we need it for. That Bob’s Red Mill flour probably works just as well, but since my roommate doesn’t like the taste of it, we stay away from it whenever possible.
Now, xanthan gum. Xanthan gum is this weird gluten substitute that is used in most gluten-free goods you can buy at the store. It looks a lot like yeast and kinda smells like it too. While we don’t need to use it much in baked goods, I find that I almost always need xanthan gum for any kind of dough or bread I make. It helps make the texture mimic bread a little bit better and keeps it from falling apart.
After the dough is made, I cover it with a damp paper towel and let it side for at least half an hour. It won’t rise or anything since there’s no yeast in it, but it helps make the dough easier to work with. After that it’s time to assemble the potstickers!
The key to any potsticker is the thickness of the dough. Too thick and they won’t cook right and won’t be very good. Too thin and they just fall apart when you try to make them. I typically roll out my dough until it’s a sheet that’s about 2 cm (sorry for the metric measurement, because I’m a science major I can typically see metric measurements just as easily as customary. Besides, metric is way more useful). I honestly don’t know what fraction of an inch that would be, so just play with it a little bit. Then I take a glass and cut out circles of the dough and set them aside. I take a single circle of dough and roll it out even more until it’s about the thickness of paper. Now it’s ready for stuffing.
To stuff these all you need to do is place a spoonful (or a little bit more depending on how big your dough ended up being) of the filling into the center of the dough. Brush the edge of the dough with egg wash (which is literally just egg and water) and then fold the dough over to form a sort of semi-circle. Press the edges down and try to have as little air around the filling as possible, but don’t break it. Then just crimp the edges a little bit to form a nice seal. Now the dumplings are ready for cooking.
There are two methods for cooking the potstickers that works pretty well. Depending on how many you have should determine which method is best. If a lot of potstickers need to be made, then I suggest using the oven method. If not, then I would use the traditional steaming method.
To bake in the oven, heat it to 350˚F, throw them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, brush with a little bit of egg wash, and cook for 15 minutes. It’s just that simple. You’re potstickers will be nice and crispy and delicious. Then you can eat them as is or have a little bit of soy sauce on the side for dipping.
If you don’t have a whole lot to make, then I suggest steaming them (they just have a different texture). To steam them, line a pan with a little bit of oil and put the potstickers into the pan and let the bottoms brown. After about a minute or so, throw a little bit of water into the pan (until it’s covered in 2 inches of water) and put a lid on the pan. Let this go for about 8 minutes and the steam/boiling water will cook them the rest of the way. These will turn out quite a bit softer than our oven-baked companions. And, if you’re wealthy or have a well stocked kitchen, you might have one of those fancy steamer baskets. If so, use that. It probably works really well.
The potstickers you see above are made with the gluten free dough, which is why the dough looks a little different in texture. But they’re just as good as those gluten-tastic ones I made above.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
- 3 bok choy stalks
- 2 carrots
- 2 stalks of celery
- 2 tbs olive oil
- ¾ cup soy sauce
- 1 tbs siracha
- 1 tsp Worcestershire
- 1 tbs rice vinegar
- 1 tbs lime juice
- 2 tsp coriander
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 lb ground pork
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup just-boiled water
Potsticker Dough (Gluten-free)
- 2 cups gluten-free flour
- ¾ cup just-boiled water
- 2 tsp xanthan gum
Heat olive oil in a pan and add diced carrot, celery, and bok choy (both the stalk and the leaf). Saute until vegetables are softened (~6-8 minutes). In a separate bowl, mix soy sauce, siracha, Worcestershire, rice vinegar, lime juice, coriander, cumin, and allspice. Take cooked vegetables out of pan and set aside. Add pork to the pan and cook until browned (~8 minutes). Add vegetables back to pan and pour in sauce mixture. Let cook until sauce mixture begins to reduce. Set aside to cool.
Bring water to a boil and set aside to cool for a bit. Add water to flour and mix. Add flour and water as needed until a ball of dough that does not stick to the bowl can be formed. Cover with a damp paper towel and let sit for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours (the same process applies for the gluten-free dough, just add the xanthan gum).
Roll out dough until it is about 2 cm in thickness. Cut into uniform circles and set aside. Take one circle of dough and roll it even more until it is paper thin. Whisk together 1 egg and a tbs of water to make an egg wash. Place a spoonful of pork filling onto the center of the potsticker dough. Brush the rim with the egg wash and fold over to form a semi-circle. Press the dough as tightly as possible around the filling without tearing the dough. Fold the edges to form a seal. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.Keep a moist paper towel on top of the dumplings to keep them from drying out.
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Place potstickers onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush outsides with egg wash and bake for 15 minutes.
Heat ~1 tbs olive or sesame oil in a pan. Add potstickers and let cook for ~1 minute. Add water until pan is filled without ~1 inch of water. Cover and let cook for another 8 minutes.
Dairy-free, Gluten-free option