The Year of the Dragon begins January 23. What would a Chinese New Year celebration be without some hot and spicy pork fried dumplings, aka potstickers? I’m not talking about those all too familiar doughy lumps one sometimes finds, but crisp and delicate dumplings redolent with fresh Chinese flavors. Served alongside a garlicky dipping sauce, they will have your guests craving more. Not to worry. Here is a recipe, complete with filling and pleating direction to make a batch of 50.
1 pound ground pork (approx. 80 % lean, 20% fat)
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 cup finely chopped water chestnuts
1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well just until combined. Don’t overmix.
50 to 60 round dumpling wrappers
½ cup chicken broth or water for steaming dumplings
Spicy Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chile paste such as Sambal Oelek*
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons finely sliced scallions
Combine ingredients in a small bowl and serve with potstickers.
*Add another ½ teaspoon if you like it very spicy.
Forming the Potstickers
Buy a package of round dumpling wrappers.* Keep the wrappers covered with a cloth as you work to prevent them from drying out. Fill them as follows:
Place about 1 ½ to 2 level teaspoons of filling in the center of the dough in a slightly oval shape. With your finger, very lightly smear a dab of water around the edge of the top half of the wrapper.
Bring up the edges of the dough and pinch together firmly in the center, forming a filled crescent. Leave each end open.
Gather up the balance of the dough on the side away from you, pleating toward the center in 3 or 4 pleats.
As each dumpling is finished, place it on a lightly floured board and cover with a cloth to prevent drying out.
When ready to cook, heat 2 tablespoons of peanut or vegetable oil in a 10 or 11 inch skillet with a tight fitting lid.. When it is hot add the dumplings, bottom side down. Don’t crowd the dumplings. You may have to cook them in two batches or use two skillets. Cover and cook about 2 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom. Pour ½ cup chicken broth or water all around the dumplings and cover as tightly as possible with the lid.
Cook over medium high heat until the water almost boils away, about 3 minutes, then turn the heat to low. After about 9 minutes’ total cooking time, potstickers should be done. If not yet well browned, turn the heat to high briefly. Watch them closely and do not let them burn.
Transfer the dumplings from the skillet bottom side up onto a serving platter. Serve spicy dipping sauce on the side. Yield: about 50 dumplings
*Dumpling wrappers and other ingredients may be purchased at Asian supermarkets and at other well stocked supermarkets.
Photos by sweetpaprika