Pork potstickers are without a doubt my favorite appetizer to order from Chinese restaurants. I love the crispy bottomed pillows dipped in a yummy soy dipping sauce. They’re the perfect thing to have just a few bites of before you dig into your main course. I can remember when my sister and I were kids we would gather around the kitchen table and help my mom assemble potstickers for homemade Asian feasts. There wasn’t much anything decent to offer in the way of Asian cuisine close to where we lived, so my mom brought eclectic flavors into our own kitchen once in a while. She taught us the proper technique of filling, folding, and sealing these little treasures. The assembly line was a lot of fun for me and my sister, and with the three of us working together, the work went by in a flash.
I don’t have my mom’s original recipe for the pork filling, but I like this traditional Chinese version from The Essential Wok Cookbook. I like to make a big batch of these and store the extras in the freezer. Then I fry them up quickly for an appetizer or snack.
Gyoza – Pork Potstickers
Source: Adapted from The Essential Wok Cookbook
2 1/2 cups wom bok (Chinese cabbage), very finely shredded (if you can’t find Chinese cabbage, you can also use green cabbage)
1/2 pound ground pork
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine
2 teaspoons sesame oil
40 round Flour and water dumpling wrappers
2 Tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
drizzle of sesame oil
Put the wom bok and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a colander, then sit in a large bowl and toss to combine. Leave for 30 minutes to drain, stirring occasionally. This process will draw the liquid out of the wom bok and prevent the filling from being soggy.
Put the ground pork, garlic, ginger, scallion, cornstarch, soy sauce, rice wine, and sesame oil in a bowl and mix with your hands.
Rinse the wom bok under cold running water. Press dry between layers of paper towels. Add to the pork mixture and combine well.
Place a teaspoon of mixture in the center of a wrapper, brushing the inside edge of the wrapper with a little water. Bring the two edges of the wrapper together to form a semicircle. Using your thumb and index finger, create a pleat toward one end of the semicircle, and press firmly to seal the end. Repeat on the other side of the semicircle. Gently tap the gyoza on a work surface to form a flat bottom. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling. Cover the finished potstickers with a damp kitchen towel to keep them from drying out.
Heat one tablespoon of oil in a wok or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook ten of the gyozas for two minutes, flat side down. Reduce the heat and add two tablespoons of the chicken stock, shaking the wok or pan to unstick the gyoza. Cover and steam for four to six minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated and the potstickers are cooked through. Remove and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining oil, gyoza and stock. Serve with a dipping sauce of soy sauce and sesame oil, if desired.
To freeze: Dust the bottoms of prepared pot stickers lightly with flour, lay them on a baking sheet so that they don’t touch each other, and freeze, uncovered, until frozen through. Once the pot stickers are frozen, transfer them to a large freezer bag. Cook the pot stickers as usual, without thawing (the cooking time will be longer), or thaw overnight in the refrigerator before cooking. The potstickers can be frozen for up to three months.