I’m third-generation Chinese-American, if you average my grandparents. I don’t speak Chinese, but I do love the food — everything from Americanized takeout to the real deal dishes my grandmothers make.
“Potstickers” are my family’s name for Chinese-style dumplings. To me they taste like home.
These make great appetizers, although I mostly cook a bunch at a time and eat them for dinner. They can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days, but they’re best right out of the pan.
To shape each potsticker, pick up a wrapper and put a tablespoon or so of filling in the middle. Dip a finger in the bowl of water and run it around half of the circle, then fold the wet and dry sides together so it forms a plump half-circle. Pinch gently to seal. If you’re feeling fancy, put a little water in the middle of your sealed edge and crimp it decoratively.
This takes a while, so if you can, get someone to help you — a kid, spouse, unsuspecting dinner guest. Collect the folded potstickers on a baking sheet or platter until you run out of either filling or wrappers (I always run out of filling first).
Potsticker wrappers can be found in the frozen section of most Asian stores. The round ones work best for this, but you could probably get away with squares if that’s all you can find. In the brand that I use, I prefer the yellow wrappers to the white because they’re thinner and cook faster.
If you don’t mind washing an extra pan, you can use two: One for pan-frying and one for steaming. That way you don’t have to keep fiddling with the heat.
You can also skip the steaming and just pan-fry them on all sides. They’ll absorb quite a bit of oil so it’s not a health-conscious choice, but the amount of crispiness you get is awesome.
Potsticker wrappers (the kind that are round and about 4” across)
1 lb. ground pork or turkey
1/2 bag coleslaw mix, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Sprinkle of chili flakes
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Chili garlic sauce or sriracha to taste
Give each person their own little dish for dipping sauce! You can use the ingredients listed for the sauce that I had growing up, or you can completely change the flavor by doing teriyaki or a Thai sauce.
Put the ground pork in a large bowl. Use a food processor to quickly chop the coleslaw and other veggies (stop right after “chopped” and before “liquified”). Add everything but the wrappers to the pork, and mix well. Inhale the tasty smells.
Get a small bowl or ramekin and put about an inch of water in it. I like an assembly line: Wrappers, filling, ramekin, baking sheet.
Put 2-3 teaspoons of filling in the middle of a potsticker skin. Run a wet finger halfway around the rim and fold. Place upright on the baking sheet. Repeat until you run out of filling.
In a saute pan with a lid, heat a little oil over medium, just enough to just slick the bottom of the pan.Add potstickers, squishing them ever so gently so they stand up. Put in as many as you can without letting them touch. Let them sit for about three minutes until the bottoms are lightly browned and starting to get crispy.
Pour in about ¼ of a cup of chicken broth. Put the lid on and turn the heat down to medium-low. Steam them this way for about five minutes (cut one open to check for doneness). Repeat until all the potstickers are cooked.
Pass around with dipping sauce. Eat with chopsticks if you can, or fingers if you can’t be bothered.