Italians have the ravioli, Argentina the empanada, Poland the pierogi, and the Chinese have the wonderful POTSTICKER or guo tie/jiao zi (for my Chinese friends out there).
Here is the classic potsticker I grew up eating. Whenever my parents would make these, our kitchen would turn into a Chinese potsticker factory. Because it was such a task, they always made more than we were going to eat that day. My parents would freeze extras on trays and we would always have a stockpile in the freezer, ready to go. Our freezer was not your typical American freezer with frozen waffles and ice cream. No…….we had whole fish frozen in mid swim, fish balls, Chinese sweet sausage, and of course bags and bags of potstickers.
I remember learning a new part of the process each year as I got older. When I was really little, I was only allowed to be the water dabber (that step comes later). I graduated to spooning the filling onto the wrapper and when I was a teenager, my dad took we under his wing and showed me the art of folding the potsticker. It was an exciting day! Of course my sad, long, flat looking dumpling looked nothing like his stately plump ones. But, as you’ll see from the following pictures, I mastered it at last.
This the filling. Notice the ground pork has a good marbling of fat. My local grocery store has prepackaged ground pork that is too lean and has no fat. I make a special trip to the Asian grocery store to stock up on my ingredients when I make these potstickers.
This filling is succulent and turns out so juicy after they’re cooked because of the cabbage in it. Of course the pork fat doesn’t hurt either.
This is my mini-potsticker factory. Everything is strategically placed for ease of wrapping these delicious bundles of meat filling.
Dab your finger into the bowl of water and make a wet ring around the potsticker wrapper.
Pinch the center points together.
I start from the right side and fold and pinch for a puckered effect.
Fold and pinch the left side.
Here’s the cute puckered back side.
If you’re counting, there are 60 potstickers on this tray. I had to use another tray to fit the rest. Two packages of wrappers make about 100 potstickers.
Here they are getting pan fried.
I tipped them over to show you their lovely brown, crunchy bottoms. That’s the best part.
They’re all nice and juicy, just ready for a swim in my dipping sauce.
2 pounds ground pork
1 head cabbage
4 green onion, chopped
2 Tbsp grated ginger
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp pepper
2 packages of dumpling wrappers
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp pepper
chili sauce (optional)
sesame seeds (optional)
Start by cutting the head of cabbage into quarters and boil in a pot, with enough water to cover the cabbage. When leaves are wilted and cooked through, drain it and let cool before handling. Squeeze all the excess water out and chop into fine dice. It’s very important to get all the water out, or else you’ll have a watered down, loose filling.
Add cabbage to a large bowl with all the other ingredients. Mix well until incorporated. Spoon a rounded tablespoon of filling into middle of wrapper. Dab a ring of water around wrapper and begin wrapping.
To cook the potstickers, start with enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of your pan. Place potstickers in flat side down. Wait for bottoms to brown. Add a quarter cup of water to the pan and quickly put a lid on the pan to allow the potstickers to steam until all the liquid is gone, about 3-4 minutes or until cooked through.
Mix dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl and dip the potstickers. Enjoy!!