This post is also available in: Chinese (Simplified)
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Dumplings （饺子） are widely loved in China. From the ice cold Harbin in the Northeast of China to the warm flowery Hong Kong in the south, from the sweet and sour Shanghai in the east to the hot and spicy Chengdu in the southwest, varieties of dumplings can be found on the street or at home, in fancy restaurants or tiny food stalls.
Chinese dumplings are usually wrapped with thin dough wrappers and filled with minced meats and vegetables. Traditionally, Chinese eat dumplings boiled, steamed or pan-seared. If the dumplings are pan-seared, they are called potstickers as well. Delicious ingredients such as pork, beef, lamb, chicken, shrimp and even fried eggs can be used for the fillings. To go with the proteins, popular Chinese vegetables such as cabbage, chives and herbs are used. Of course you have the liberty of making vegetarian dumplings by combining different types of vegetables, such as mushroom and tofu fillings.
You may have eaten deep-fried dumplings in your local Chinese restaurants. Unfortunately, that’s not how Chinese eat them. I hope this recipe will help you experience Chinese dumplings the way they were meant to be.
Many Chinese, especially in northern China, roll their own dumpling wrappers from scratch. Personally I favor these home-made dumpling wrappers, which provide a nice al dente texture. Some people, however, choose to buy the machine-made dough wrappers at grocery stores for the sake of convenience. Today we’ll go with convenience.
The recipe today is pan-seared Chinese dumplings (potstickers) made with store-bought wrappers. There are two ways to pan-sear dumplings: 1. Boil dumplings first and pan-sear the drained dumplings with a little oil. 2. Pan-sear the raw dumplings in a skillet with some oil and water until the water fully evaporates. This is our family’s favorite!
We are going to explore the second approach today. To add crunchiness and an aesthetic look, we will mix some corn flour in the water while pan-searing the dumplings. Now you have the secret weapon of making crispy dumplings surrounded with beautiful white laces!
- 1 package of Dumpling wrappers 450g
- Ground pork 450g
- Cabbage 450g
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp cooking wine
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 scallion, chopped
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 6 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp corn flour
- 11 tbsp water
- 1 pinch of salt
- 5 drops of sesame oil
- 1 tbsp chopped scallion
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp of vinegar
- Minced ginger or garlic ½ tsp
- Chili oil (optional)
- To make ginger scallion water: add 1 tbsp of minced ginger and half of the chopped scallion to 6 tbsp of water.
- Finely chop the cabbage, add 1 tsp of salt and mix well. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Combine the ground pork with cooking wine, ground pepper, soy sauce, sugar and 1 tsp of salt.
- Add the ginger scallion water to the pork, one tbsp at a time. In the meantime, stir the meat one direction until the water is fully absorbed.
- Drain the cabbage. Add it to the meat and mix well.
- Wrapping the dumplings: wet the edge of the wrapper with water. Put 1 tbsp of filling in the middle. Fold and pinch the wrapper together to seal.
- Warm a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp of oil, swirl it around to cover the bottom.
- Place the dumplings in the skillet. Be sure to leave some space between the dumplings.
- Cook for about 1 minute until the bottom of the dumplings turn golden brown.
- In the meantime mix 1 tbsp corn flour, 11 tbsp water, and 1 pinch of salt to make steaming liquid. Add it to the skillet and cover with a lid. Turn the heat down to medium.
- When the water in the skillet almost evaporates fully, remove the lid. Continue cooking on medium heat until the bottom of the dumplings dry up and form a layer of beautiful lace. Add 5 drops of sesame oil and some chopped scallions. Cover the skillet with a plate that is about the size of the skillet. Lift the skillet with one hand, and hold the plate with another. Flip over. Now we have the beautifully laced dumplings transferred onto a plate! If you have trouble flipping the dumplings over, ask whoever is available to give you a hand.
2. Flavoring the meat before adding the vegetables also helps avoid watery dumpling fillings.
3. Adding the ginger scallion water to the meat results in juicer dumplings.