Homemade Potstickers!!! Otherwise known as Chinese Pan Fried Dumplings, these irresistible plump babies are pan fried then steamed in a skillet so they’re golden crispy on the underside, and beautifully moist inside. Time to get your dumpling game on!
AND THE WINNER OF THE JAPANESE KNIFE GIVEAWAY IS….. drumroll please….
Congratulations!!! I have emailed you to arrange for delivery asap!
Oh, and in case you’re wondering how the winner was randomly selected from all the entries on the Oven Baked Chicken Breast recipe, I used an online Random Number Generator and hired an independent contractor to strike the keyboard to generate the random number. See?
Very expensive contractor. Cost me 3 treats.
OK, let’s talk POTSTICKERS!!!
If my family hadn’t already christened me Potato Girl, I’d probably be Dumpling Girl. Neither are flattering yet I cannot deny they are totally fitting.
Dumplings have become totally “trendy” here in Sydney. 10 years ago, you’d be able to stuff yourself to bursting point for less than $8 a head at a hole-in-the-wall dumpling joint. It’s truly a travesty that all my favourite dumpling-dumps (think peeling lino floors, chipped tables and rickety folding chairs) have been “discovered” and subsequently become all fancy. Renovated interiors, glossy menus, shiny big photos on the walls.
And sky rocketing price tags. And crowds.
Hmph! Not happy!
Add to that the lack of truly great Asian food in my area, and in recent years I’ve found myself making dumplings on a fairly regular basis. And so I present to you – homemade Potstickers. Or Pan Fried Chinese Dumplings. Same thing. Just one word vs four!
There’s great variety in terms of filling with no hard and fast rules. This filling is pretty classic, with the main “things” in it being pork, shiitake mushrooms, cabbage and garlic chives. You could actually skip the mushrooms or chives, without affecting the overall tastiness of the dumplings. I include both because I love the extra umami (food tech term meaning “savouriness”) that the mushroom provides and the little hit of freshness from the chives.
As for wrapping them, it’s simple – and here’s my biggest tip: Don’t stress! Forget the pleats if it’s all too hard, just press and seal flat. 🙂 There are plenty of dumpling places around that do that and it’s obvious why – it’s far faster to make them.
But if you’re wanting to replicate the classic Chinese Potstickers, here’s how to wrap them – and the video beneath the recipe is super helpful too.
By the way, the hands in these images and the video are not mine, they belong to Mama RecipeTin. Way too difficult and messy to try to film myself wrapping dumplings!
I love that moment when all the Potstickers are wrapped and sitting there, plump and ready for cooking. It’s a chest-puffing moment, and rightly so! 😇
Now – as for cooking them. You could steam them in your steamer of choice (traditionally a bamboo steamer), but this recipe I’m sharing today are Potstickers which are Pan Fried Chinese Dumplings. I love the way they are cooked – pan fried until the base is golden, then add water so they steam to cook the surface and the inside. The bottom goes soggy while it’s steaming but then once the water evaporates, it goes crispy again.
I actually never understood why they’re called Potstickers. They aren’t cooked in a pot, and you’d be seriously peeved if they stick to the pan.
They should be called Skillet-Non-Stickers.
But I made the effort to do a little Google and was interested to learn that pan fried dumplings are called Guotie in Chinese and the literal translation is “potstickers” or “panstickers”. So I guess any other tales you hear about where the name comes from are just that – tales! 😂
Actually, here in Australia, they are more commonly referred to as just Chinese Dumplings. And menus distinguish between Pan Fried and Steamed dumplings. I call them Potstickers because it’s faster. (Seriously. Time is precious, my friends!)
Whatever you call these – Potstickers or Pan Fried Chinese Dumplings, that moment of pure bliss you experience when you dip the dumpling into the sauce then bite through the soft, tender wrapping and into the juicy filling…
THAT, my friends, is a universal language.
Happy weekend! Thank you again for all the wonderful messages in response to the Japanese Knife Giveaway, and I absolutely promise there will be another giveaway soon. Mama RecipeTin is on the case to get another knife! We probably could just get one here in Australia…. but it’s just not the same. It has to be from Tokyo, from our favourite knife shop!! – Nagi x
PS 🥟🥟🥟My favourite Dumpling places in Sydney are below the recipe. I started to write it here, but it got too long…😂
Time to get your dumpling game on! Don't fret about perfect pleats - if it's all too hard, just press the seams together without pleating, plenty of Chinese restaurants do this. The most important thing is to get a nice, fatty pork - this will ensure the filling is beautifully juicy, just like you get at the best Dumpling joints! Recipe VIDEO below.
- 5 - 6 dried shiitake mushrooms (Note 1)
- 1 ½ cups finely chopped Chinese cabbage (Napa cabbage)
- ½ tsp salt
- 250 g / 0.5 lb fatty pork mince (20 - 30% fat ideal - Note 2)
- ¼ cup garlic chives , finely chopped*
- 2 tsp light soy sauce (light or dark soy also ok)
- 1 1/2 tsp Chinese wine (Note 4)
- ½ tsp sesame oil*
- ¼ tsp white pepper (black also ok)
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- ½ tsp grated fresh ginger*
- 30 - 35 round dumpling wrappers (Note 5)
- 1/2 cup water per batch
- 4 - 6 tsp vegetable oil
Shiitake Mushroom: Place the mushrooms in a bowl and pour over plenty of boiled water. Leave for 20 minutes or until rehydrated. Squeeze out excess water, then finely chop.
Cabbage: Place cabbage in a bowl with salt. Toss with fingers, then set aside for 15 minutes. Squeeze out excess liquid from cabbage using hands.
Filling: Place cabbage, mushrooms and remaining Filling ingredients in a bowl. Mix with your hands until well combined.
Peel one wrapper off and place on the palm of your left hand (if right handed). Dip your finger in water and run it along half the edge of the wrapper.
Place 1 heaped tablespoon of Filling in the centre. Fold wrapper over, then pleat to seal. Alternatively, just press together with no pleats.
Finish so the dumpling is curved slightly, see photos in post, with the pleats on the top.
Place on tray. Cover with cling wrap or wet tea towel (important). Repeat with remaining dumplings. Should make 30, if yours are extremely plump you may only make 25.
Make sure your pan has a lid that fits it half decently (Note 6).
Heat 2 tsp oil in a non stick pan over medium high heat. Add dumplings, pressing down firmly to flatten the base onto the pan. Cook around 8 to 10 per batch.
When the base is golden brown (check them), add 1/2 cup of water into the pan.
Immediately clamp the lid on, then leave for 7 minutes (any less and the pleats won't be cooked through so if your water dries out, add a bit more).
Remove lid - most of the water should be evaporated, the pleats should be cooked through. Leave the pan on the stove until the base dries and the underside of the dumplings are once again crisp.
Remove dumplings from pan and transfer to serving plate. Repeat with remaining Dumplings.
Serve with Dipping Sauces of choice. (Note 7)
* Can be omitted. There are no hard and fast rules for what goes in the Filling, and it varies across China and certainly all over the world. Some Fillings can be very simple, so these ones marked with an Asterix can be omitted and it's still going to taste terrific (and "real"!).
1. I love using dried shiitake mushrooms in the filling because it adds incredible umami ("savouriness"). Dried is better than fresh in terms of flavour intensity. You can find dried shiitake mushrooms at Asian grocery stores and some speciality shops. It can be substituted with fresh shiitake mushrooms. If you can't find either, just leave it out - don't worry, your dumplings will still taste terrific!
2. My favourite is to ask the butcher to mince pork belly, second favourite is pork shoulder. You want the fat! If you use lean pork mince form standard supermarkets, you may be disappointed with the lack of juiciness of the Filling. If you can only get supermarket pork mince, I would urge you to add at least 2 tbsp vegetable or canola oil into the Filling mixture and mix for at least 2 minutes with your hands.
3. The garlic chives are optional. I adore dumplings with garlic chives in them, and I love the little specks of green in the dumplings.
4. Or Mirin, sake or dry sherry. If you can't have alcohol, leave this out and add an extra pinch of salt and sugar.
5. The dumpling wrappers I use are pictured in the post (Double Merino brand, Gow Gee pastry) and is sold at large supermarkets in Australia (Woolies, Coles) as well as Harris Farms and Asian Grocery stores. They are about 8 cm / 3.5" wide and 2mm / 1/10" thick. If you'd like to try your hand at homemade dumpling wrappers, try this recipe by Maggie from Omnivores Cookbook, one of my favourite Chinese blogs. She has an excellent video tutorial in that recipe.
6. None of my favourite skillets came with lids, so I always make do with lids from large pots.
7. Dipping Sauces- my favourite is soy sauce with chilli oil or paste. Other common ones are soy sauce + Chinese black vinegar, or even white vinegar.
8. STORING: Place uncooked dumplings in a single layer in an airtight container (use paper between layers) and store for up to 2 days in the fridge, or 3 months in the freezer. To cook, defrost, then cook per recipe. Store cooked dumplings in the fridge for up to 2 days - I like to microwave to reheat then pan fry to re-crisp the bottom!
9. Nutrition per dumpling. The weight per dumpling is off because it doesn't factor in the liquid absorbed by the dumpling wrapper. Guessing it's closer to 60g / 2 oz per piece.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
BEST DUMPLINGS IN SYDNEY
Just in case you need a dumpling fix and you want someone else to make them for you, here are my favourite dumpling haunts in Sydney:
- Shanghai Night (Ashfield) – This is about as no frills as it gets as far as proper Chinese dumpling dives in Sydney go. You won’t see any tourists here at this Ashfield institution. Service and decor are “minimalist”, it’s all about the pan fried and soup dumplings (xiao long bau ie soup in the dumplings) here.
- Din Tai Fung (Sydney CBD and other locations) – Famous for their soup dumplings, they aren’t a worldwide chain for no reason! Their other non-dumpling dishes are also delicious (but avoid the weird things like rainbow dumplings….).
- Mr Wong (Sydney CBD) – They ain’t cheap but then these are meticulously made, all about top quality ingredients, and sometimes unusual creations you won’t see anywhere else. As if their dumplings weren’t good enough, the rest of the menu is possibly even more amazing …
- Chinese Noodle Restaurant (Haymarket, China Town) – Don’t get it mixed up with Chinese Noodle House, which is confusingly on the other side of the small court. Just remember “the one on the left”. This is place to go in Chinatown for big plates of potstickers at rock bottom prices.
- Tim Ho Wan (Chatswood, Sydney CBD) – Originally from Hong Kong, Tim Ho Wan was a hole-in-the-wall that shot to fame some years ago as the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant. Their prawn dumplings and siu mai are awesome, along with their famous baked pork bun.
- Taste of Shanghai (Eastwood and other locations) – One of the offenders of going up market and expanding all over Sydney. 😩 But still a perfectly respectable place to get a dumpling fix. Try the dumplings in chilli oil, and the Xiao Long Bau (soup inside dumplings). The Eastwood and Ashfield ones are my favourite locations.
LIFE OF DOZER
Being put to work – random selection of the winner of the Japanese Knife Giveaway. Great job Dozer!