Saturday, March 27, 2010

Asian Dumplings aka PotStickers

This is one of my favorite dishes and I find it's the most fun when you make it with a group of friends. My old roommate Steve (originally from Taiwan) taught me his way, which varies according to his mood so it's never exact. I learned a lot from him when he lived here like how to hold a knife and how to tone down my garlic obsession just a little.

Approximate Ingredient Amount (I didn't measure exactly) and Directions:

For the Stuffing
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro chopped
  • chunk of ginger about the size of two adult thumbs (or more if you like ginger!)
  • 2 - 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 or 1.5 cups shredded carrots (also chop them up a little more after you shred them to make them smaller)
Note: Ginger peels best when scraped using the inside of a spoon.
Thanks Martha!

For the liquid: Fill 1/2 cup measuring cup 3/4 of the way with ponzu or soy sauce, then split the remaining amount - 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 sriracha aka asian hot sauce. The sriracha has a really nice flavor, but if you don't like spicy things only use a little. Taste some on your finger first (just a little!) to get a feel for it. You can also add a dash of sugar to offset the spice.
German beer: good, but optional ;-)

First pour your liquid into the mixing bowl. Add all of your fresh chopped ingredients and mix together. Last add the ground pork. Mix it by hand or with a spoon. If your mixture ends up too wet, you can drain some of the liquid.

Wonton Wrappers: Next, you'll need a package of wonton wraps. I find them in the produce section of Publix near the sprouts and asian veggies.

This is a little tricky to describe without demonstrating. You'll need a little bowl / cup of water to dip your fingers into. You're going to eventually stuff and fold the wrap into a triangle, so two of the edges will need to be wet with water, making an "L". Use your finger to "paint" a little water on those two edges - this is what makes it stick together when you fold it.

How to stuff: After wetting the edges, hold the wrap in your hand and place about half of a spoonful of stuffing in the middle. Take the corner and fold it over to the other corner creating a bulging triangle of porky goodness and press the edges together all the way around. You might need some extra water (or less stuffing!) to make it stick and seal well, but after you've done quite a few of them you'll get the hang of how much you can stuff in and how much is too much! Now fold your bottom corners in and then halfway back out (not 100% necessary, but quite stylish). Does that make sense? See picture:

It doesn't have to be perfect because regardless of how they may look that first time, the taste will more than make up for any shortcomings in their appearance! After you've wrapped your dumplings you're ready to cook them :) You might want to start heating your oil toward the end of your wrapping.

The Cooking Part!
Cover the bottom of a large frying pan with a very thin layer of canola (or your choice) oil. Peanut oil is also a popular and common Asian oil, but it will add that distinct nutty flavor to your dish. Any light oil will do as long as you don't overdo it. You don't want them submerged in oil, you just want to coat the pan well, sort of a very shallow fry. On medium OR medium-high heat (depending on your stove) heat your oil. After the oil is hot enough that it sizzles a little when you put the dumplings down, it's time. I usually put 11 - 13 of them in the pan at once (more or less depending on your pan size.) After they've settled for a minute, shake the pan around to make sure they don't stick to the bottom (Aha! "pot-stickers!"). Lift with tongs periodically to check the bottoms. When the first side starts to brown, flip them over and repeat. Some prefer them extra crispy like a fried wonton and some prefer them more lightly browned. After the second side has browned, add enough water so they are (at most) halfway covered. Now quickly add a wok lid or whatever type of lid you have so they will steam cook the rest of the way. This will probably be 3-5 minutes, but I don't have exact times. When they're ready you can pretty much see through them and tell that the meat is browned, or you can take one out and cut it open. When they are done, drain them in a strainer in your sink. Put them on a plate and cover to keep warm while you make the rest.

Fill your pan with a small layer of oil again and repeat!

It might take a few tries to get it just right, but that's all part of the fun!

Okay, Now the Dipping Sauce!
I always end up with leftover dipping sauce, but it's better to have too much than not enough! Remember the liquid portions above? You're going to use the same ratios but put it into a bowl and add a thumb size of minced ginger and a couple of chopped green onions. I also added chopped cilantro to mine this time around. You may want to tweak it to your liking, by adding more or less hot sauce or more or less vinegar. You can experiment with a few small bowls and make 3 different dips. I like doing that :)

TA-DAH! You're done! Now EAT! This alone serves about 2 - 3 hungry people and it goes great with a basmati or jasmine rice and veggies. Also, it is totally acceptable for the chef to sample a few while cooking, but strictly for quality control purposes, of course . . . ;)

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do. And please feel free to ask questions! I love making this dish and am happy to share.

dumplings made by - me.
directions edited by - my creative partner and chef extraordinaire.


  1. Those look so good!! Thanks for stopping by. What a great header and message to read! I am now following! And thank you for the follow.

  2. Oh these look so good. I love pot stickers, as does my family. This looks like it could be another family cooking together night.

    I know you told us the ingredients, but would you mind posting the amount of each and how to actually make them???

    I like your header and background!!! Looks great!!

  3. Thanks Dana :) I think I ate 30 of them!
    Mary, but of course ;) I'll add the approximate amounts and directions to the post above :)


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