3.25.14 Pork, Bok Choy, and Scallion Potstickers
I’ve recently come to the realization that I might be a little bit of a dumpling snob. This was not always the case. There was a time where I would buy a pack of frozen potstickers from the store, cook them up, dump on a little soy sauce, and be completely satisfied. Not anymore. After traveling to Taiwan last spring and experiencing the culinary bliss that is good, handmade dumplings, I returned home to find that, really, all I wanted to eat in the dumpling department was just that - good, handmade dumplings. Those frozen, store-bought dumplings just didn’t cut it any more. And so, I set about making my own.
Now there are many types of dumplings out there, all requiring different levels of difficulty to make. I’ve attempted to make several kinds, to varying degrees of success. I will say that I can make a mean soup dumpling (xiao long bao), but the process required to make them is a little daunting. In general, when I go to make my own dumplings, I opt to make potstickers. They’re relatively easy to make, especially if you use pre-made wrappers. Plus, you can make a huge batch, freeze them, and have homemade potstickers ready at your beck and call whenever you want them. Which, I’m sure you can agree, is pretty fantastic
For my potstickers I decided to go with a filling of pork and scallion, with some bok choy for added crunch and flavor. And of course, because I’m always craving some heat, I added in a bit of sambal oelek (raw chili paste) as well. I like to use the Huy Fong brand, which isn’t overly spicy, but will add some kick. If you use a different brand, taste it first before adding it to your filling - it may be more spicy, requiring less to reach your desired heat level. If you’re looking to make an especially interesting dumpling, I also recommend the addition of some Szechuan pepper. If you’re not familiar with this spice, it’s worth seeking some out to try it (I get whole Szechuan peppercorns at Penzeys). The peppercorns have a unique flavor and create a bit of a tingly numbness in your mouth when you eat them. Amazing? I think yes.
Pork, Bok Choy, and Scallion Potstickers
makes about 30 potstickers
Chinese black vinegar also makes an awesome dipping sauce for these potstickers. This recipe makes a lot of potstickers, but don’t worry - extra potstickers freeze wonderfully! Just freeze them on a parchment lined baking sheet, and once they are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag for storage. To cook them from frozen, just add a couple of extra minutes onto the cook time.
- ½ lb ground pork
- 1 cup finely chopped bok choy (leaves and stems)
- ¼ cup finely chopped scallions
- 2 tsp (or more to taste) sambal oelek (I recommend Huy Fong brand)
- 1 tsp finely chopped garlic
- 1 tsp finely grated ginger
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- ½ tsp rice vinegar
- ½ tsp ground Szechuan peppercorn (optional)
- dumpling or wonton wrappers (approximately 30)
- sesame oil for cooking
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp water
- ½ tsp rice vinegar
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- ½ tsp Sriracha
- ½ tsp finely chopped scallion
1. In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, bok choy, scallions, sambal oelek, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and Szechuan pepper. Mix together until everything is well combined.
2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and fill a small bowl with warm water. Lay one dumpling or wonton wrapper out on your workspace. It’s easiest to work with a round wrapper, so if you have a square wrapper, I like to fold each corner in slightly to approximate a more round shape. Then, dip your finger into the water bowl, and then run your finger around the edges of the wrapper to moisten them.
3. Place one heaping teaspoon of filling in the center of the wrapper, then bring the front and back edges of the wrapper together over the filling, crimping along the top and sides to form a tight seal around the filling.
4. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling, placing completed potstickers on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
5. To cook potstickers, heat about 1 tsp sesame oil over high heat in a large saute pan. When oil is hot, add the potickers. Make sure not to crowd them - they should have enough room to cook without touching each other. I find that 6-8 potstickers is a good number to cook at one time - if you plan to make more, cook them in batches.
6. Cook potstickers in hot pan until the bottoms of them are browned and crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Add 2 Tbsp of water to the pan, and cover immediately to steam potstickers. Steam for an additional 2-3 minutes, then remove from pan.
7. To make the dipping sauce, whisk together all of the dipping sauce ingredients, and serve with the potstickers.