I often am surprised at how easily many popular dishes eaten at restaurants can be recreated at home. I mean, if something which tastes so good can be made just as good at home, it wouldn’t be so popular right?
Or maybe not.
A long time ago, my mum was flicking though a chinese cookbook she borrowed from her friends. She cam across a potsticker recipe which she thought would be interesting to make, especially as we love potstickers so much.
Potstickers are something we (used to) order almost whenever they’re on a menu. They usually come in lots of 10 so we would share them so that my parent would get 3 and us kids would get 4 each. Me and my sister would eat them ever so slowly, wanting to be the one to eat the last potsticker, not wanting to be the one who watched the other eat it whilst we sat there in jealousy. The potstickers at yum cha were also really good, especially as they were big (although often not hot) but they were quite expensive, as they only came in lots of three.
So you could probably imagine our excitement was my mum told us that we would be making potstickers for lunch. Taking her cooking approach of following the recipe exactly for the first attempt, my mum made her own ‘lard’, or pig fat, as the recipe called for it. We then followed the recipe step by step. It took a while -all the kneading, resting and then the rolling out of the dough took a lot longer than expected and us amateur dumpling pleaters took a while to get a hang of pleating these things. The trick to pleating these things is to only pleat one side of the dumpling, like when pleating har gow. It will naturally curve inwards, giving a nice, ‘potsticker’ shape!
20g lard (we used vegetable oil)
75g boiling water
160g Chinese cabbage
240g minced pork
20g water chestnuts
20g Sichuan preserved vegetables
1tsp chopped ginger
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp oil
Dash of sesame oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
1tsp chicken powder
1 ½ tsp bean flour
Prepare the filling:
Wash vegetables and blanch in boiling water. Squeeze dry and mince. Mince with pork and seasoning and stir well. Place in refrigerator.
1. Mix ingredients A into a dough an set aside for 1 hour to rest (this is the raw dough)
2. Boil oil and water. Pour immediately into flour. Stir and mix well. Add to raw dough and knead into a smooth dough.
3. Divide into 3 pieces and with rolling pin, press into thing circles (we do this approximately and usually end up make only around 20 from the recipe…)
4. Wrap in ingredients (about 15g- again, we do this approximately). Note: to wrap potstickers, pleat them like you would with normal dumplings but only pleat one side, leave the other side smooth. You should end up with a curved shape.
5. Heat and grease a frying pan. Line potstickers in pan and add 4-5 tablespoons of water. Cover and cook slowly for 10 minutes. When all the water has gone, add a little oil. Fry on low heat until golden brown.
Tips (from the book, not me!)
* The wrapping is the same as for mini steamer buns, ie Xiao long bao (*gasp* I didn’t realise until now!!) The advantage of using a raw and cooked dough combination is that it will not stick to the table or the rolling pin. The texture when eaten is not sticky as well.
* When the dumplings have been cooked, they should be placed on the plate so that the bottom becomes the top. (I tried it- it looked funny….)