Chinese Dumplings! Also known as Potstickers, these irresistible plump babies have a traditional pork and cabbage filling, pan fried then steamed in a skillet so they’re golden crispy on the underside and steamy and soft on the surface.
Chinese Dumplings aka Potstickers
There was a time when I had a handful of favourite hole-in-the-wall dumpling joints complete with peeling lino floors, chipped tables and rickety chairs where we could stuff ourselves silly for less than $8 a head.
Nowadays, dumplings have become “all the rage” and many such places have become fancy. Renovated interiors, glossy menus. And sky rocketing price tags. And crowds.
Hmph! Not happy!
So in recent years I’ve found myself making dumplings on a fairly regular basis. Potstickers being my favourite – also known as Pan Fried Chinese Dumplings.
Golden crispy on the underside with a juicy pork filling inside, these Chinese dumplings stack up to the very best dumpling joints!
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. And I’ve since shared my Vegetable Filling too (it’s so good!).
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.
How to wrap Chinese Dumplings
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! 😇
How to cook Chinese Dumplings
There are 3 ways to cook Chinese dumplings:
Steamed – in your steamer of choice (traditionally a bamboo steamer);
Pan fried – this is the recipe I’m sharing today, Pan Fried Chinese Dumplings. I love the way they are cooked – pan fried until the base is golden, then water is added so they steam to cook the inside. The bottom goes soggy while it’s steaming but then once the water evaporates, it goes crispy again.
Boiled – Dumplings can also be boiled. Try adding them into a Chinese Noodle Soup!
Why are they called Potstickers in the States??
I actually never understood why they’re called Potstickers in the States. 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! 😂 – Nagi x
More great dumplings of the world
Gyoza (Japanese dumplings)
Siu mai (Chinese yum cha steamed pork and prawn dumplings)
Chinese dumplings (potstickers)
Watch how to make it
Chinese dumplings (Potstickers!)
- 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.
Make Dumplings (watch video + see photos in post):
- 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)
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 Knife Giveaway. Great job Dozer!