potstickers

This year, Chinese New Years was on February 3rd and is celebrated for 15 days (doesn’t a 2-week vacation sound amazing?).   Chinese New Years is like the equivalent of Christmas and Thanksgiving combined.  So naturally, food is a huge part of the celebration.  Dinners tend to be very elaborate involving dozens of dishes of delicious food.

One of the traditional food that is made during New Years, especially in Northern China, is potstickers, also called dumplings (jiao zi).  Potstickers are shaped like the golden ingots (yuan bao) used during the Ming Dynasty for money.  So serving them in the New Year brings the promise of prosperity for the new year.

Potstickers can have different types of meat fillings, but my favorite is with ground pork and Chinese chives/leeks (jiu cai).  Maybe I’m a little bias, but my mom’s pork and chive potstickers are the best.  :)  I truly believe she has perfected this!  Here’s her recipe:

First, start out with some ground pork in a large bowl.

Add in some minced ginger and hoisin sauce to the pork.

Then add some soy sauce, rice cooking wine, and chicken bouillon powder.

Next, pour in some olive oil.

Then add some corn starch, baking soda, and chopped dried shrimp.

Finally, pour in some water and start stirring until all ingredients are completely combined.  Let the ground pork mixture marinade for at least a few hours.  I usually make the mixture the night before, and let it sit covered in the fridge overnight.

Here’s some Chinese chives, some call it leeks.  Chop them into small pieces.

Then, combine the chopped chives into the pork mixture.  The mixture should be smooth and there should be a little bit of a sheen to it.  If it looks a little on the dry side, add 1-2 tablespoons more of olive oil to the mixture.

After the mixture is well blended, we can start making the potstickers.  I use store bought potsticker skins.  You can make your own with flour and water, but the extra hour it takes to make the skins from scratch is not worth it to me.

With chopsticks or a spoon, scoop a meatball-size amount of the filling onto the center of the potsticker skin.

Next, moisten the edges of the wrapper skin with water .  It’s a good idea to have a small bowl of water to make this process easier.  Now, fold one side of the potsticker skin to meet the other (like a taco), and pinch/seal the middle.

Then, starting from one end (corner) of the potsticker and start pinching a little by little towards the center, making pretty pleats as you pinch.  Do the same thing to the other side and make sure to pinch and fold towards the center.

Pinch the edges to make sure it’s all sealed.

The result:

After you’ve made all of the potstickers, fill a large pot half way with water and bring it to boil.  Drop 20-30 potstickers in at a time.  Do not boil too many at once or else they may stick together if they feel squished.  Potstickers are high maintenance.  :)  The potstickers will tell you when they’re done … because they’ll float to the top.  This should take about 3-5 minutes.  Use a ladle to scoop these up and they’re ready to eat!  Mmmm.

You can serve these with some dipping sauce.  Mmmm.

They look delicious, huh?  Here’s the recipe:

Pork and Chive Potstickers

Print this Recipe!

Makes 8 servings
Prep Time:  2 hours
Total Time:   4 hours

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon of minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of Hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of rice cooking wine
  • 1 teaspoon of chicken bouillon powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3/4 cup of corn starch
  • pinch of baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons of dried shrimp, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 packets of potsticker skins

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine ground pork, ginger, Hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice cooking wine, chicken bouillon powder, olive oil, corn starch, baking soda, chopped dried shrimp, and water.  Stir the mixture until well-blended.   Cover the bowl and let the mixture marinade for a few hours in the refrigerator.
  2. Chop Chinese chives into small pieces.   Add them into the pork mixture.  Combine until the mixture is evenly distributed.  The mixture should give off a little bit of a sheen from the oil.  If the mixture looks a little dry, mix in 1-2 tablespoons more of olive oil to the mixture.
  3. Scoop a meatball-size amount (about  1-2 tablespoons) of the pork mixture onto the center of a round potsticker skin.
  4. Moisten the edges of the skin with water.
  5. Fold the skin in half like the shape of the taco and pinch the middle of the potsticker to seal the top.
  6. Seal the rest of the potsticker by pinching and folding the potsticker skin, starting from the far end and working towards the center.  This will make pretty pleats.  Be sure that the edges are all sealed or else the filling will leak out during cooking.
  7. Fill a large pot halfway full of water.  Bring to boil.
  8. Boil 20-30 potstickers at a time for 3-5 minutes, or until all the potstickers have floated to the top of the water.
  9. Scoop out the potstickers and serve with some dipping sauce.

Note:  You don’t need to boil all the potstickers if you can’t finish them.  You can freeze any that you don’t plan to eat at the time.  But, be sure not to freeze the potstickers while they’re sticking together, or it’ll be hard to separate them when they’re frozen.  Instead, put the potstickers on a plate and put them in the freezer for about 10 minutes.  Then take them out and you’ll see that the exterior is now slightly frozen.  Now you can put these into ziplock bags and they won’t stick together.  Viola!  When I make large batches of potstickers, I like to put about 12 – 15 potstickers in each bag.  It’s the perfect size for a meal for one on a future day.  :)

There are many different variation of dipping sauces for potstickers, but this is the one I typically make:

Potsticker Dipping Sauce

Print this Recipe!

Makes 8 servings
Prep Time:  2 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of Chinese black vinegar (my favorite: Chinkiang Vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped green onions (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of sriracha sauce or chili sauce (optional)

Directions

  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Ready to serve.

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