90% Home-made Pot Stickers

Last week was the lunar new year. Happy year of the sheep, friends!

The finished product, mid-bite.
The finished product, mid-bite.

My spouse and I had a few friends over to make and eat pot stickers. My parents used to do this when I was a kid, back in the day when frozen pot stickers were not readily available in Asian groceries in the Midwest. Making these on your own turns tedious and feels unrewarding fast, but getting a bunch of people together to take turns at it and eat them together is much more fun. Turns out when you get a handful of adult friends in on it, they get kind of competitive with the folding. We wrapped about twice as many as we were able to eat that night!

Thanks for pitching in, friends!
Thanks for pitching in, friends!

Without further ado, a recipe from my lifelong friend Jenny. It was nice that even though she couldn’t make it, her recipe was still there to help. I doubled it and split the difference between cabbage and spinach-based filling –but it’s not worth bothering with that.

Fried Dumplings (a.k.a. Pot Stickers)

Mix crack (er...baking soda),  defrost wrappers, wrap pot stickers.
Mix crack (er…baking soda) in with meat and veg, defrost wrappers, wrap pot stickers.


    • Two packages of frozen wonton or gyoza wrappers (12 oz per pack, about 30 pieces each, available at asian grocery) -this is the 10% non-homemade part
    • 1 pound ground beef or pork
    • 1 package of shredded cabbage (iceberg salad mix works, or half a flat chinese cabbage + 1 medium carrot) OR use 1 pkg defrosted spinach
    • 1 bunch scallions – I did a mix with garlic chives with this
    • 1/4 teaspoon minced ginger OR powdered ginger
Sample folded dumpling.
Sample folded dumpling.
  • Salt
  • 3T Sesame oil
  • 2T Soy sauce (gluten-free)
  • 2T cornstarch
  • Ground pepper
  • Egg
  • Water
  • Cooking oil
Pot stickers in the frying pan.
Pot stickers in the frying pan.

Dumpling sauce:

  • 2T soy sauce
  • 1T sesame oil
  • 1/2 t rice vinegar
  • dash of garlic powder and sugar, to taste
  • Scallions, minced

1. Place 5 cups of cabbage in a large bowl. Add 1T salt and mix. Let stand
for 1 hour to de-hydrate and soften the cabbage a bit. Squeeze out excess
water from cabbage. If using spinach, drain and wring out as much as possible.
2. Combine cabbage, ground meat with 1 egg, 2T soy sauce, 3T sesame oil,
chopped scallion, minced ginger, 1/2t ground pepper and 2T cornstarch. Stir
and mix the content. Add more cornstarch if the mixture seems loose.
3. Place 2T packed filling in the center of each wrapper. Wet the edge with
water, and then fold over to make a half-moon shape. Pinch edge together to
form small peaks along the round edge using the thumb and index finger of
one hand.
4. Spread out 2T of cooking oil on a large frying pan. Set stove at medium
high heat. Arrange dumplings tightly but not overlapping. SautÈ until
bottoms are golden (3-5 minutes, depending on how many you put in). Add 3/4-1C water (depends on pan, 1/8″ deep). Cover and cook until water has
evaporated (bout 8-10 minutes). Place a serving plate over the pan and invert
the pan quickly.
5. Serve with dumpling sauce.

The final product, atop delicious sides of cucumber salad and carrots brought by guests, and charred green beans and rice.
The final product, atop delicious sides of cucumber salad and carrots brought by guests, and charred green beans and rice.
Left: special sauce. Right: freezing frozen pot stickers for later (ironically being processed atop a bag of pre-made pot stickers).
Left: special sauce. Right: freezing for later.

Storage tip: you can freeze the raw pot stickers after wrapping, being careful to let them freeze on a dish lightly dusted with flour to prevent them from freezing in one clump, then cook as usual plus a couple minutes.

Gluten-free addendum:
Yes, i made two attempts at gluten-free pot sticker skins with varying result. One: per Broke Ass Gourmet‘s recommendation for rice paper wrappers. A second: per Food and Wine‘s recipe for from-scratch wrappers. I was lazy and used only Pamela’s gluten-free flour mix, no rice flour. If I tried it again I might try it with rice flour and egg and/or xantham gum.

If you want gluten-free wrappers, you may want to practice a few times and add more elastic additives (egg? extra xantham gum?) to help the wrappers to hold up and get thing enough.
Practice rolling GF dough a few times to make sure they hold up to proper elasticity before letting them into the wild.
Gluten-free pot stickers start to look a little like pirogies after frying, if you leave the dough thick.
Gluten-free pot stickers start to look a little like pirogies after frying, if you leave the dough too thick like this.

Today’s Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
5 of 5 stars.
The base recipe is best, it’s not even worth trying to get fancy since the starting point is so good. The novelty lies in the fact I only bother trying it out around once a year or so.
Likelihood of Repeat: 100%
Lesson learned: Rice wrappers are even more sticky and frustrating to use as pot sticker wrappers than for summer rolls.
Also: “these aren’t meatballs, they’re naked pot stickers.” That’s what you’ll hear if you roll leftover filling into balls, bake them at 350 until they are sufficiently crisp and reach safe eating temp of 160, and serve them. The meatballs turn out pretty darn salty too.


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