In this post, I have tried to share some of the things I have learned in making Chinese Dumplings/ Pot Stickers.
This is the finished product- smelled so good and tasted so good just by themselves- I had a hard time getting pictures!
I have been trying these Chinese dumplings or pot stickers for a few days now- doing different things with the recipes for the filling and the dough. While they are not really that hard, they take some time to assemble. It is something that is probably best done in a large batch and then freeze some for later. Then you don't have to go through all the work of making them later- just pull out of the freezer and continue with the cooking process. Plus, you can make a whole lot of these very cheaply and enjoy anytime at home with some fried rice, spring rolls or whatever else you might like.
Also, the proper folding of the discs requires practice. As you will see, I'm still practicing. ;) Anyways, I have found a couple good sites on food blogs that give some great photos and step-by-step instructions, as well as recipes for these. My two favorite are http://lizzieeatslondon.blogspot.com/2008/03/tester.html and http://appetiteforchina.com/recipes/guide-wrapping-and-pan-frying-dumplings . Check them out if you plan to make these, as it is very helpful in the folding and cooking process. I have deviated a little in some of my filling ingredients and used a dough recipe I have worked with through trial and error (very simple). However, I am planning to try using some pot sticker dough (Jiaozi) or maybe even try the wonton wrappers next time I go to the store. The dumplings can be boiled/steamed (I prefer steaming them rather than boiling), and if you like a little extra flavor, try making them into pot stickers and frying them in a little oil. I used a process of combined steaming/frying in one pan. Check out my pictures and recipe- meanwhile, practice never tasted so good!
This is my meat filling- so flavorful!
These are the pot stickers just out of the frying pan and cooling a little on paper towels.
Is your mouth watering yet? Well, here is my recipe and some explanations of how the process went.
4 1/2- 5 cups all-purpose flour
2 2/3 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
Mix 4 1/2 cups flour with the salt and the entire amount of water. Stir well and mix in the remaining flour, if able. If it is getting too hard to stir, put out on a floured surface and knead in the remaining flour amounts. You may even need a little extra flour- you want to have a dough that is not sticky. After you have kneaded it to the desired consistency, then let it rest, covered, for approximately 30 minutes. Meanwhile, start making your meat filling.
1 pound ground pork
1- 1 1/2 tsp salt (I used Goya Adobo seasoned salt with cumin)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2-3 tsp grated ginger (see my hint at the bottom)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (I used some I had chopped up and frozen earlier)
1/8 tsp five-spice powder (optional)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp corn flour (I used 2 tsp flour and 1 tsp cornmeal)
1/4-1/3 cup water
Assemble your ingredients and mix all the ingredients well, adding only 1/4 cup water initially. The pork should become a pasty "mess"- so add more water if needed to get a smooth consistency.
When the dough has rested, roll out into a rope on a floured surface. Cut the rope into equal pieces- approximately 50. Keep these floured so they do not stick together. Have a small bowl of water handy to moisten the sides of the dough. Then take the dough pieces and roll out into a circle approximately 6 inches in diameter. Put a teaspoonful of filling in the center of the dough circle and moisten the edges with a little water. Then take one side of the circle and start pleating it around about halfway. Then fold up the other edge to cover the meat and press into the side with the pleats. If necessary, moisten the edges to keep them together. It does get a little tricky to moisten the edges and not have the dough edges turn gooey and stick to your fingers- so don't use too much water. After you have made a dumpling, put it on a well-floured plate and continue making them. You can make some, fry them and then assemble more- doing the various parts in shifts.
To cook, place in a non-stick saucepan with enough boiling water to come up about 1 inch. I also added about 2 Tbsp (more or less) of oil into the boiling water. This way, I don't have to worry about them burning before I get the oil in. So I covered the pan of dumplings in the water/oil mixture and boil/steamed them for about 7-8 minutes. Then I uncovered the pan and continued cooking to evaporate the remainder of the water. (If the water went down too much before the initial cooking time was finished, then I added a little more to the pan.) As the water evaporated, the oil was there to assist in the frying and I just kept turning them as they browned. The oil splattered quite a lot- if you don't have a screen to use, you might want to cover the pot and vent it a little so your kitchen is not covered in oil. When you have browned them enough- drain on paper towels and then enjoy!
If you use the premade dumpling discs, then you can skip the most tedious part (in my opinion). These can be enjoyed with your favorite chinese sauce- sweet or savory. You also can eat them after they have boiled (skip adding the oil to the water) for a healthier/lowfat alternative- but not as tasty, in my opinion.
*Hint for fresh ginger- it is pretty much readily available in a larger grocery store in the produce section and a little goes a long ways. I learned from Rachel Ray that you can take fresh ginger and store it in the freezer and take it out when you need it. I have bought a lot when it was on sale or marked down and put it in a ziplock bag and frozen it. When I need some fresh ginger, I remove it, gnaw off a chunk with a knife (it might be easier to use if you cut it into pieces prior to freezing) and then peel it. It is then ready to slice, chop or grate for a recipe. It is such a great flavor, better for certain recipes than the dry ground ginger.