Cooking: Making Pot Stickers

Pot stickers, known as guotie in Chinese or gyoza in Japanese, are my favorite type of dumplings second only to xiao long bao, of course!  I recently had the opportunity to learn how to make them, particularly the tricky art of correctly folding the seams, when I visited my friend Tehlin in Hong Kong.

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Tehlin and I went to university together.  Of Chinese heritage by way of the Philippines, she has tried to teach me how to make pot stickers on previous visits but my fingers were to clumsy or my patience too thin.  This time, though, I overcame the obstacles and learned how to turn out a proper pot sticker.

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To make the filling, you use fresh ground pork and, if you like, chopped shrimp meat.  Finely chop Napa cabbage, mushrooms, and a small amount of garlic.

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Once the vegetables are chopped, add a teaspoon of salt to the cabbage, stir it, and let it sit for a few minutes.  This will draw the water out from the cabbage.

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After the water has been drawn out, squeeze the cabbage and then add it to the mushroom, garlic, and meat mixture.

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Mix well, seasoning with some soy sauce, sesame oil, and ground white pepper.  If I understand the proportions correctly, about 1 kg (2 pounds) of meat will make about 100 pot stickers.

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The hardest thing for me to comprehend and do was to correctly seal and fold the seams.  While I finally figured it out, I’m still quite clumsy about the process.  First, place about a tablespoon of filling in the middle of a wrapper.  We bought them premade from the local noodle vendor.  Wipe the edges with water then hold like a taco.  Start by pinching one end.

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Then, using your index fingers, create a flap about one-quarter of the way across the edge of the dumpling.  The flap will fold over towards the already sealed end of the dumpling and is then pinched closed.  Make another flap about half way across the edge of the dumpling, folding it over and pinching, too.

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A final flap is made about three quarters of the way across the edge of the dumpling.  After is it folded and pinched, the unsealed end is pinched together.  It looks so easy when Tehlin does it, just a blur of dumpling origami.

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Me trying it was another matter.  Ultimately, I found it easier to set the wrapper on the table after making the first pinch, instead of trying to hold it in my hand.  After a few rough starts, I got the hang of it.

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We soon filled two trays, a mixture of Tehlin’s beautiful pot stickers and my less consistent ones.  Nonetheless, they turned out looking pretty good and I look forward to making some back at home.  Oh, and they tasted great, too.

 

0 thoughts on “Cooking: Making Pot Stickers

  1. Love your blog.Just a little note though. Pot stickers, ie dumplings which have been panfried, are “guotie” in Mandarin. Jiaozi refers to the boiled/ steamed version.

  2. Very nice, Chris! :)A note: When doing the folding, if you aim to create a sort of crescent shape with the potsticker by pulling in the pleats, it comes out very attractive looking. As you practice, you’ll get better at the pleats, it just takes time. Also, if you add cornstarch to the meat mixture, you’ll get the “velveting” that gives the meat the nice soft texture. You can also use a kind of panade, like you would making meatballs, though that’s fusing western technique with eastern potstickers. This is also one that comes out very nicely on a thick bottomed cast iron pan, since the even, steady heat distribution means you don’t have uneven browning and stuck dumpling skins (funny how they’re called pot stickers).

  3. Ha ha Sean Connery couldn’t hold a candle to the way you have got your eye brow raised up Chris.I love making pot stickers too. I make the wrappers myself, and that’s a chore. I wish we could buy the wrappers here like you do there.

  4. Your entry (and Michael’s) reminded me back when I was a kid in H.K., watching my grandma and mom making these yummy comfort foood. Well, nowadays, the ‘Ling Ling’ frozen potstickers from Costco are a quick fix for the real ones! I think you may need to get pointy ear extensions to authenticate your “Spock” look! hahaha~~

  5. It’s woh tiep(?) in Cantonese. [wow. chinese fail. tiep looks vietnamese].Your entry makes me want 2 things: #1. I want to try your cooking. I know it’s definitely going to be amazing, so… I’ll bring the wine. #2. I really want dim sum right now.My parents would be proud. They fold dumplings that they fry into potstickers every weekend. Quite honestly, yours looks better than theirs. Shh =$

  6. i do love pot stickers and perogees which are polish and have a potato and meat filling but for some reason i do not like ravioli except once i had some ravioli filled with sweet potatoes in a white cream sauce that were very good. your pot stickers look wonderful.

  7. The dumplings look very good. I don’t think my mom made these. But she did try those ha-gow / shrimp dumplings you see in dimsum. That was difficult for my stubby fingers. It felt like I was wrapping them in my toes. I also wrapped wontons and they were considerably easier.btw – I bet that raised eyebrow makes all the boys heart flutter a bit.

  8. i agree with matt, wontons are much easier to wrap! i’ve never tried my hand at potstickers, though. my sister learned and taught me how to make the half moon dumplings (don’t know what they’re called in chinese), but those are a lot of work! she said making siu mai is much easier… just hold the wrapper gently and stuff the filling into it, then steam it. sounds much easier to make!

  9. @kunhuo42 – But don’t you pinch the top edges of the siu mai so they are kind of fluted?  One of these days, I’d like to take a proper class on making dim sum.@ElusiveWords – Scares them off.  Except for Tawn, who is near-sighted.  LOL@grannykaren – Interesting that you don’t like ravioli but enjoy pot stickers and perofees.  So similar.  The idea of ravioli filled with sweet potato is fantastic – I must make not of that and try it one of these days.@Devilzgaysianboi – When you make it over to Thailand, Tawn and I would be happy to host you for dinner.  Don’t get me caught up in the middle of a “whose dumplings are prettier?” fight with your parents, though!  😄@murisopsis – I think it should be pretty doable.  If worse comes to worse, just fold them in half and don’t worry about the pinching and folding along the edges.@CurryPuffy – Oh, you don’t cave in for Costco pot stickers, do you?  Gary, Gary, Gary…@awoolham – Oh, you could TOTALLY do this!@arenadi – Wonderful recommendations Michael, thank you.  I’ll give it a try both with the cornstarch and also the panade.@ata_grandma – Honestly, I think you’ll have pretty good ones wherever you go, but the homemade ones have that little extra dose of love you just can’t get in a restaurant!  Ha ha…@Randy7777 – Thank you Randy.@Ikwa – Oh, I’m curious to hear how they turn out.@ZSA_MD – What do you use as a filling?  I was thinking that a curried minced lamb might be a really interesting filling. 

  10. @christao408 – That’s exactly what I use. Minced lamb or ground beef with some cilantro and chopped mint along with spices. Occasionally i use fine slices of onions, but Sayeed doesn’t like them, so I often choose not to use onions in my dumplings. Shelley is a vegetarian, so I use potatoes with peas and some herbs and minced up beansprouts. She likes them that way. 

  11. @christao408 – YEAH! She is. I wish she would eat some chicken or even fish. So when I am making biryani with beef or lamb, I make separate vegetable biryani and other vegetable dishes for her that she might like. She is so so so good, she never complains and really is grateful that I would make anything at all for her. If only she would eat some meat dishes. Poor dear heart.

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