My Chinese friends from mainland China introduced me to dumplings—the much-loved morsels of ground meat and vegetables wrapped with dough skin. Dumplings are a staple of Chinese cuisine, especially in Northern China. The best dumplings are the ones that are lusciously plump, thin-skinned, and stuffed with just the right amount of filling.
There are many types of dumplings: boiled, pan-fried, steamed, or deep-fried. The most-loved is probably the pot sticker, Guo Tie. Pot stickers are easy to make—wrapped with store-bought dumpling wrappers or homemade wrappers (recipe on page 31), pan-fried to a golden brown, and then lightly steamed with water.
Pot stickers are versatile because so many different proteins can be used: ground pork, chicken, turkey, beef, fish, or shrimp. Vegetables, such as chopped cabbage or Chinese (Napa) cabbage, are often added to further enhance the taste. The best pot stickers I’ve had are the ones served at Manjia Fantian or Mao’s Restaurant in Beijing—with their unforgettable texture and flavor they were pure perfection!
Makes 20 dumplings or serves 4 as an appetizer or snack
- 20 store-bought pot sticker wrappers or homemade dumpling Wrappers
- 11/2 tablespoons oil
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) water
- Dumpling dipping Sauce, for dipping
- 8 oz (250 g) ground pork
- 4 oz (100 g) shelled and deveined medium-sized raw shrimp
- 1/2 cup (80 g) thinly sliced Chinese (napa) cabbage, squeezed of excess water
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion (scallion)
- One 1 in (2.5 cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine or sherry
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 dashes white pepper
- Make the Filling by combining all the ingredients together. Chill the Filling in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Assemble the pot stickers by following the instructional picture guide on the right.
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Arrange the dumplings on the skillet and cover with its lid. Pan-fry the pot stickers until the bottoms turn golden brown and become crispy.
- Add the water and cover the skillet with its lid immediately. The water should sizzle and steam the pot stickers. Turn the heat to low as soon as the water has completely evaporated. Cook the pot stickers for another 2 minutes, dish out and serve hot with the Dumpling Dipping Sauce.
How to Wrap the Pot Stickers or Dumplings
- Place a piece of the wrapper on your palm and spoon about 1 heaping teaspoon of the Filling onto the wrapper. Do not overfill. Dip your index finger into a small bowl of water and moisten the outer edges of the wrapper.
- Fold the pot sticker over to form a half moon shape. Press and seal only the middle part of the pot sticker. Leave both sides open for pleating.
- Use your right thumb and index finger to make a pleat. Pinch to secure it tightly.
- Repeat the same and make about 3–4 pleats. (Start with 3 pleats if you are a beginner.) Turn the pot sticker around and repeat Step 3.
- Finish by pressing all the pleats with your thumb and index finger to ensure that the pot sticker is sealed tightly and there is no leakage.
- A nicely wrapped pot sticker should have a crescent shape.
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