Chinese Pot Stickers

I love Pot Stickers – crunchy and golden on one side and delicately steamed and soft on the other. Whatever filling there is inside the little dumplings remains juicy and succulent. A plate of these along with a dipping sauce of your choice is hard to beat for a taste of China.

I always stock up on frozen Dumpling wrappers when I go to the Chinese supermarket and as long as I remember to take a pack out of the freezer in the morning, all that I have to do is quickly whizz up the filling in the food processor and pack it into the pastry circles. 15 minutes later, there they are ready to eat.

I wondered how difficult it would be to make the dumpling wrappers and after asking around, I was told it was super easy and the texture of the finished dumplings was far superior. I was given an authentic recipe and I’m here to report – it’s super easy! It’s a cross between making pasties and pasta.

The top tip that I was given was to use boiling water when you’re making the dough which gives it a delicate feel when it’s cooked. This pastry can be used to make any Chinese dumpling, it’s not just for Pot Stickers.

Pot Sticker Dough (Dumpling/Wanton wrappers)

Makes 40-50 – you can make half this amount, or make all of this amount and open freeze them raw ready to cook from frozen.

285g plain flour

150ml boiling water (you may need a little more)

1tsp salt

In a food processor, whizz together the flour and salt. While the motor is running, pour in the water steadily. Process for a further 20 seconds and you should end up with something that looks like wet coarse crumbs.

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Add one tablespoon more of water, process for another 10 seconds. Put the mixture into a bowl.

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Pull it together into a ball, this should be really easy to do. This is what mine looked like after a couple of squeezes.

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Knead for a couple of minutes. The dough should be soft but firm and not sticky. If your dough is too dry or sticky, add drops of water or a little flour and knead them in to adjust.

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Put the dough into a plastic bag and keep in the fridge for at least an hour. You can leave it over night if you need to.

When you are ready to use the dough, cut it into 4 pieces and leave it to come to room temperature (especially if you’ve left it overnight in the fridge).

At this point you can roll out the dough as thinly as possible or (as I did) use a pasta machine which makes everything much easier. Use the machine in the same way that you would with pasta – start on the widest setting, gradually working your way down to the thinnest. Then cut the dough into 8-10cm circles with biscuit cutters.

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Don’t stack the circles on top of each other as they will stick together. It’s better to have your bowl of filling handy, ready to make Pot Stickers with the ones that you cut out from each quarter of dough.

When it comes to crimping, there are lots of techniques that you can learn on the internet to make your dumplings look pretty, but I stick to using the same crimping that I use on the edge of pie crusts just making sure that I pinch extra hard to make more of a point. If you make a slurry out of cornflour and water to paste around the edges, even if you just pinch them together really hard, they should stay stuck during the cooking process.

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Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan/wok and then add 10-15 Pot Stickers. Fry until they start to turn light golden.

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Keep checking the side that is in contact with the frying pan/wok. You don’t need them to be really dark as you’ve got to cook them some more. Add 1/4 cup (30ml) of water to the pan (it will hiss and spit, so take care!) and cover with a lid. Turn the heat to medium low and cook for 10-12 minutes with the lid on. To check if they’re done, take one out and cut it in half. When you put your finger onto the chicken filling it should be too hot to hold there and everything should look cooked and juicy.

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Filling recipe

This is enough to make about 40 Pot Stickers. You can make this in advance and keep in covered in the fridge until you need to use it, or freeze it. Use 1tblsp for each dumpling.

850g chicken thighs or mince (you can also use turkey or pork mince)

3tblsp soy sauce

3 spring onions finely chopped

A large thumb of ginger coarsely grated

A good pinch of pepper

Use chicken thighs if you have a food processor. If you don’t, use chicken mince.

If you’re using thighs, cut them into cubes and add them to the bowl of the food processor along with everything else. Whizz until everything is finely chopped (not pureed!) and set aside.

If you’re using mince, squish everything together with your hands. Set aside.

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