There’s nothing more appealing, in my opinion, than steaming hot potstickers, soft yet crispy. We’re serving up traditional Chinese dumplings just in time for Chinese New Year (or Super Bowl!)
Today is Chinese New Year! So I decided my last “Super Bowl” recipe of the season would be a multi-tasker. How about serving potstickers tonight for Chinese New Year, and saving some to share with friends during Sunday’s game?
Believe it or not, I learned to make Chinese dumplings on a coffee table in China 20 years ago.
20 years?! Geeze!!
When I was 17 years old, and fresh out of high school, I had the opportunity to go overseas on a mission/study trip to the north western province of Xinjiang, China.
We spent our days studying Chinese history and language, exploring markets and monuments, and making friends.
Most Chinese universities had “English Club” meetings once a week. We would often show up to these meetings and be welcomed enthusiastically as new friends to practice on. They practiced their broken English on us and we practiced our broken Mandarin on them.
We spent the summer getting to know our new friends… their thoughts on life and social issues, family history, and Chinese customs.
And of course that eventually led us to food.
They were interested in traditional American cuisine, having heard of strange dishes like grits and stuffed turkey. And we were equally enamored by their day to day dishes.
We decided we would prepare a half American half Chinese feast together. So we went to the market in search of ingredients we could turn into something very American, which was quite a challenge in the remote town where we were staying.
We settled on fried chicken and home fries as the American portion, bringing back a whole chicken with its head still attached. I ended up with the task of beheading and cleaning the bird… my first experience with boning a chicken. Yet even with our limited ingredient options and lack of experience, our dishes turned out fairly well.
Our Chinese friends taught us how to make potstickers, a dish they told us they always made at family gatherings.
We sat on the floor around a coffee table in a small apartment rolling out circles of dough and learning to properly crimp the Chinese dumplings… Laughing through our language barrier, smiling, and making memories that will last a lifetime.
Today’s potstickers are the Chinese dumplings I was taught to make so many years ago, with soft pork and veggie filling and a homemade 2-ingredient dough that blows wonton wrappers out of the water. And let’s not forget the spicy soy dipping sauce!
Of course you could substitute the dough for store-bought wonton wrappers as so many do, but you really do lose something in taste and texture. Real Chinese potstickers are doughy, not like the thin wonton sheets.
If you make rolling and stuffing your dumplings a two-person job (or family affair as the Chinese do) it’s a pretty quick process.
After making the dough and filling, cut the dough into 50-60 equal little pieces. One by one, roll each piece of dough into a ball and then roll out flat on a well floured surface.
Place a teaspoon of pork and veggie filling in the center of the wrapper and then fold up like a taco. Pleat and crimp the edges to seal.
Heat a large skillet with oil and pan fry the dumplings to create a crispy crust before steaming them. Be prepared, the aroma that will waft out of the pan is utterly intoxicating.
Dip them in spicy soy sauce and swoon over your made from scratch Chinese dumpling masterpieces!
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