Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Freezer Favorite: Pork Potstickers

I get cravings. It starts as a thought, over time becomes a strong desire and finally ends up as an all consuming urge to fulfill. Brownies. Brick Chicken. Linguine alle Vongole. These are all examples of foods that, once they have a hold of me, you'll find me in the kitchen or on my way to a restaurant no matter what time of day it is. Strangely, I can't recall one craving from my pregnancy, but that's probably because I freely indulged every urge the minute I felt it. Last week, while I was salivating over anything dairy, I also started thinking about Chinese food, specifically Pork Potstickers and Peking Duck. While I'm pretty sure Peking Duck is above my paygrade, Pork Potstickers are doable.

I couldn't track down any pasture-fed ground pork in my neighborhood so I searched online until I found an amazing butcher, Dickson's Farmstand Meats in Chelsea Market. All of their meats are from local farmers and are humanely raised. Plus, they buy the whole animal so there a loads of hard to find cuts like lamb's neck and pork belly. When I arrived, a middle aged man and his wife were there. They kept buying and buying everything in sight! Luckily, the ground pork wasn't in the case. I also bought a whole chicken, which the butcher gladly chopped into pieces for me (My Chinese inspired chicken should be coming to you next week!).

To create the recipe, I did a little research on what generally goes in dumplings. My research led me to the conclusion that just about anything can go in there and dumplings probably were created as a repository for all the leftovers. I decided to use ginger, garlic, scallions, soy sauce and sesame oil. It's a winning flavor combination in my book and also is typical in potstickers.

While the hubby and I have a year's worth in the freezer, I recommend making these over a couple days: doing the filling and dough on day one and then filling and freezing the potstickers on day two. Otherwise you might find yourself getting tired and angry and annoyed and wondering why you read my blog and thinking that I'm a crazy crazy lady for suggesting you make these dumplings. The work comes in the actual filling of the dumplings, which is tedious. Plus, baby girl wasn't happy that she couldn't smear raw pork all over her face. I know, I'm a terrible mother. However, once you've filled them and then frozen all but the few you plan on rewarding yourself with, you'll be glad to have such a tasty meal on hand that is filled with only good things and not all that MSG and god knows what else. Enjoy!

Pork Potstickers with Dipping Sauce
I created my own recipe for the filling, but I adapted Use Real Butter's dough
(These dumplings taste just like you might find at your local Chinese restaurant, but, to me, the dough is a bit chewier and finer. Think about serving these with a helping of sauteed baby bok choy.)

What You'll Need:

For the Filling:
7 1/2 cups Nappa Cabbage finely chopped
2 pounds Ground Pork
4 tbsp Fresh Ginger minced
4 tbsp Garlic minced (About 1.5 heads)
5 tbsp Soy Sauce
3 tbsp Sesame Oil
2 bunches scallions sliced in thin rings, green and white parts (About 2 cups)

For the Dough:
6 cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water (plus more on hand in case you need it

For the Dipping Sauce:
9 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
3 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Sesame Oil
1 Scallion thinly sliced into rings, green and white parts

Fill a large bowl with cold water, add two tablespoons of salt and stir. Add the cabbage and soak for 10 minutes. This will help draw water out of the cabbage. Drain through a cheese cloth and press out as much water as possible.

In a large bowl combine all of the filling ingredients including the drained cabbage. Mix well and set aside.

In a food processor fitted with the dough blade, add the flour and salt. Cover and turn on the processor and slowly drizzle in the water. Keep adding water until the dough comes together in a ball. Remove the dough from the processor and knead several times until it feels elastic and bouncy. If it's too wet, sprinkle with flour. Too Dry? Sprinkle with water. It's very easy to work with. You want this dough to have a lot of give. Cover with saran wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.

At this point, you can refrigerate the dough and filling overnight and resume in the morning.

Set out a rolling mat or very large cutting board. Flour the surface and turn the dough out. Working in batches, roll out about a quarter of the dough (keep the rest of it covered) to about an eighth of an inch thick. With 2 inch biscuit cutter, cut out circles of dough and set aside on a floured surface. Put the dough scraps back with the dough ball.

Now, get the pork filling out of the fridge and fill a little ramekin with water. Roll out each individual dough circle again as thinly as you can. Use Real Butter called it a second skin. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of pork filling (or more if it will fit) into the center of the dough. Dip your finger in the water and run it around the dough circle's edge. Starting in the middle, gather up either side of the dough circle and bring them up over the filling to meet. The dough should be very forgiving and very elastic and it should stretch over the filling to meet the dough. Press the two sides together and then, working your way down one side, tug one side of the dough and fold it slightly to meet the other side. Keep doing this until you get to the seam. At the seam, fold the seam over itself and into the edges and press tightly to seal the dumpling. Repeat on the other side and then place the finished dumpling on a parchment paper lined tray.

As you work, don't let the raw dumpling touch each other as the dough is somewhat sticky. I found myself with a plateful of mangled dumplings before I figured it out. Also, I did my best to describe the technique for sealing the dumplings, but don't be hard on yourself. As long as it seals, your good. 

To freeze the dumplings, place the trays in the freezer and then, after about a half hour, when the dumplings are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag. Or, you can seal them individually in Press n' Seal.

To cook, set a pan over a medium high heat and add a splash of vegetable oil. Once the oil is shimmering, set the dumplings in the pan in a single layer. Cook uncovered for about 4-5 minutes until the bottoms are nicely browned. Add a 1/2 cup of water and cover. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the dumplings are cooked through.

For the dipping sauce, combine all of the ingredients and whisk vigorously.

To serve, we ate about five dumplings per person with a little ramekin of dipping sauce per person. I forgot to pick up some chopsticks and so we had some issue with losing little bits of dumpling to the sauce. I also recommend a side of bok choy sauteed in soy sauce to round out the meal. Enjoy!

Approximate Dinner Cost:
Groceries: $27
Cost per Meal: Expect 6-7 dozen dumplings depending on the size you make them.

Bookmark and Share


  1. I always make twice what I need and freeze the rest.Dumpligs and egg rolls are some of my favorite foods to do this with.

  2. I've never made egg rolls before, but I had some friends growing up whose mom use to. I'll have to try that out. I feel a craving coming on!

  3. I love Chinese dumplings and like you make enough to put in the freezer. For your gluten-free readers, there is also a dish called Pearl Balls which is pork meatballs covered in sticky rice and steamed. Another great fave of mine since they taste amazing, look stylish and are easy to make.

    I guest posted the recipe for that last year over at Wasabimon! for Chinese New Year. http://www.wasabimon.com/archive/chinese-pearl-balls-recipe-for-chinese-new-year/

  4. Peggy
    I applaude you for trying (and succeeding) to make these potstickers. Not only do they look professional but I bet they taste delicious as well. Bravo.

  5. Great post Peggy! I shared this with my followers on Facebook and twitter.

  6. I am mad about potstickers, but have never made my own dough. You've motivated me to try!

  7. Melanie! Those sound divine and gluten-free is such a bonus.

    Taste of Beirut - thanks so much for the kudos! Always appreciated.

    Michelle - so kind of you to share my post! Thank you so very much!

    Marthandme - When you make your own dough, it makes all the difference. The store-bought wrappers are tasteless, but homemade dough makes the dumplings look and taste like the real thing! However, do include teen Martha and mr Martha in the process if you can!!

  8. UPDATE!! Hi everyone!! So sorry, but I just realized I forgot to include the Nappa Cabbage in the recipe!!! I hope no one has undertaken this yet, but I hope you will. And, please include the cabbage. It makes all the difference. Apologies all around.

  9. I love potstickers, too. But I can't imagine taking on a project like this myself. You are quite the cook! How about instead, I drop over and help you clear out your freezer? :)

  10. This is so great!
    I wrote a post on my blog about "dumpling parties" where people would get together and make and eat loads of dumplings. My friends and I used to do them in college and grad school, and more recently, I've done them a few times with my children. It's nice to have little helpers to help roll out the dough! And if you have extra dough, you can pan fry it alone (or mix in scallions to make scallion pancakes) - delicious!

  11. Your pictures always look so amazing. Potstickers are so good for the kids and adults in the family -- I am putting these on my list to try ASAP.

  12. Christine - that is a great idea. I think next time I'll definitely host a dumplings party. And, you've inspired me to mix up some more flour and water. I have scallions and ginger in the fridge and they're dying for some fried dumpling dough. Thank you!

    Everyone, please let me know if you try these out and what you think!!

  13. I really, really should NOT read food blogs at lunch. Suddenly, what's in the kitchen doesn't sound so hot.

  14. Fantastic job! I want to do a bunch of dumplings but I just haven't found the time...maybe tomorrow, though, since we're supposed to have a big snow...thanks for the nudge to try these out!



Blog Widget by LinkWithin