Pot Stickers (Chinese dumplings)

makes approx 40 dumplings

Whenever we have Chinese cabbage or Bok Choi at the farm, I think of pot stickers (fried Chinese dumplings).  These are usually served as appetizers in Chinese restaurants, but I have fond memories of eating whole plate-fuls in the night market in Taiwan.  I like to make these during a party when there are enough hands around to make assembly short work.

This is my recipe for them.  They can be fried, boiled, or steamed (only the fried ones are called pot stickers).  I’ve included recipes for two fillings, one with meat and the other vegetarian.  You can use whatever ingredients you have on hand, though they are best if there is a base of Chinese cabbage. Bok Choi or other greens.  I’ve also included my recipe for the dough skins, but you can also use pre-made eggroll or wonton wrappers from the grocery store – buy round ones.

Wrappers:
2 ½ cups All-purpose flour
2/3 cups boiling water
1/3 cups cold water

Add boiling water to flour, mix, then add cold water.  Knead it very well (about 5 minutes) and let stand for at least 15 minutes, covered.

Meat filling:
3/4 lb. lean ground pork
10 oz bok choi or Chinese cabbage, finely chopped (about 2 cups)(or can use regular cabbage if you blanch it first)
4 oz shelled shrimp (optional)
3 dried black mushrooms, soaked and chopped
1 TBS green onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
2 TBS soy sauce
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
¼ tsp freshly-ground black pepper
½ tsp salt

Vegetarian filling:
10 dried black or shitake mushrooms, soaked and minced
¼ lb. fresh mushrooms
12 oz. bok choi or Chinese cabbage, finely chopped (about 2 cups)(or can use regular cabbage if you blanch it first)
1 med. rib celery, trimmed peeled and finely chopped
1 TBS green onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
2 TBS soy sauce
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 TBS canola oil
¼ tsp freshly-ground black pepper
½ tsp salt

Directions:

Filling: Combine all filling ingredients in a bowl, mix well, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Wrappers: Remove dough to a floured board, knead again until smooth.  Divide off ¼ of the dough and roll it into a sausage shape, about 1 inch in diameter (set the reminder aside in a covered bowl) .  Then divide it into 10 pieces.  Flatten each piece with hand and then roll into a 2 ½” round thin wrapper with a rolling pin and a little flour.  Put about 1 TBS of filling in the center; moisten ½ of the circumference (the half towards you) of the wrapper with water and then fold over to make a half circle – pinch edges together.  I usually fold pleats on the upper layer of the wrapper when folding (3 on each side for a total of 6), but this is mainly for looks.  Carefully stretch the dumpling to make it a little longer (do this only if your are going to fry the dumplings).  Set finished dumpling on a floured surface or pastry cloth – if they stick to your surface they will rip open when you try to pick them up.

Cooking: Heat a frying pan until very hot, add 1 TBS peanut oil.  Add enough dumplings to cover bottom of pan without touching each other (about 10-12).  Fry dumplings until bottoms are golden (about 1 minute), then add about 1/3 cup water, cover and cook until the water has evaporated.  Fry one more minute, then place on a serving plate.  Now cook the rest of them!

Serving: Serve on a platter with dipping sauce and enjoy!  I usually offer two dipping sauces, one with hot pepper and one without.

Dipping Sauce:
6 TBS soy sauce
3 TBS rice wine vinegar
1 TBS toasted sesame oil
2 TBS minced scallions
2 tsp hot pepper oil or chili paste (optional)

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