These Asian dumplings may seem like a big fuss but they’re really very easy to make. Fresh potsticker wrappers can be found in almost any large supermarket these days. Sometimes called gyoza or wonton wrappers they can be square or round. A package of these wrappers usually has 50-60 sheets, depending on the thickness. I usually make a double batch and then freeze the uncooked dumplings I’m not using individually on a cookie sheet for use in other recipes. When frozen solid they can just be dropped into a large freezer bag and used whenever needed. I’ve made thousands of these over the years (no exaggeration) and find that working in an assembly line fashion of 6-8 wrappers at a time means I can form 50 dumplings in less than 15 minutes.
Once assembled, you have the basic ingredient for any number of appetizer, soup or main dishes. Deep fried till crispy they become fried wontons. Dropped into hot broth they are wonton soup. Once fried and steamed as in this recipe, they can be served with a soy sauce/vinegar dip and are called potstickers or served with stir fried vegetables on top of them which makes them “subgum wonton”, one of my all time favorite take out dishes from our Chinese take-out place on the corner.
These can be filled with any combination of meat, shrimp and vegetables; this filling is a combination of chicken, cabbage and Chinese mushrooms and fills about 50 potstickers.
½ pound coarsely chopped boneless/skinless chicken thighs (about 3 medium)
4 large dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked
½ cup shredded and chopped cabbage
½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger)
2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
dash of Asian sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup peanut or vegetable oil
Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water for about an hour. Shred and then chop the cabbage. Sauté the cabbage in 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil along with the grated ginger, garlic, pepper, sugar and salt until translucent. Set aside to cool completely.
Cut the hard stem portion from the soaked mushrooms and mince very finely. Place in a bowl along with the cooled cabbage mixture. Coarsely chop the chicken meat either by hand or by pulsing in a food processor a few times. Add to the bowl along with the sesame oil and mix well.
Place a scant teaspoon filling off center on each wrapper, fold in half and seal one edge with a fingertip dipped in a beaten egg, gently crimping the edge as you go. Place on a cookie sheet till all the filling or wrappers have been used (leftover wrappers can be tightly wrapped up and frozen for future use-leftover chicken mixture can be formed into small balls and dropped into broth).
In a large non-stick skillet heat the peanut oil on medium high heat. Place the desired number of dumplings in the oil and fry without turning till golden brown on the bottom. Carefully pour enough water in the pan to come up to almost halfway up the dumplings and cover the pan with a lid. Lower the heat to medium and steam until all of the water has evaporated. Remove pan from heat and place the dumplings on a serving dish.
Serve right away with your choice of dips. A dip of soy sauce, vinegar and minced green onion is a common choice but plain soy sauce with a few drops of sesame oil, spicy chile sauce or hot Chinese mustard are also very good.