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Pork Pot Stickers

Makes about 45 dumplings

Pork pot stickers, which are Chinese dumplings, are delicious as an appetizer, finger food on a buffet or a main dish. The term pot sticker comes from the fact that the dumplings are first browned on one side, then steamed by the addition of broth, then browned a little more when the liquid evaporates. You must be very careful or they will literally 'stick' to the pot. The number of dumplings this recipe yields will vary with the size and shape of the wonton wrappers. If possible, get round wrappers, but there are times when I can only get square and they work as well. Pot stickers take some time to prepare but the process is easy and well worth the effort. They can be prepared ahead of time without cooking. See the notes below for details. Traditionally, pot stickers are served with a soy-ginger dipping sauce, as in the recipe in the similar and related recipes links. However, as part of a buffet, you can include other sauces, such as a sweet and sour duck sauce. This recipe can be halved or doubled as needed.

Ingredients

Chop the cabbage very finely. Place in a kitchen towel and squeeze firmly to get out as much of the moisture as possible. Place in a large bowl. Add the pork, ginger, garlic, rice wine or dry sherry, soy sauce and sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper, being careful not to overdo the salt since the soy sauce is salty. Mix together until thoroughly blended. If desired, take a little piece of the mixture and cook in the microwave or a small skillet until no longer pink; taste for seasoning and adjust to taste.

To fill the dumplings, place a wonton wrapper on your work surface. (Read the directions on the package for working with the wrappers. Most will tell you to keep the remaining wrappers covered with a damp towel. Some will suggest the work surface be lightly floured.) Place 2 teaspoons of the filling in the center, being careful not to allow the filling to touch the edges or they might not seal. Using your finger or a small brush, moisten the edges of the wrapper with a little water. Fold the wrapper in half across the filling and pinch together at the center of the edge. Starting at one open end, make pleats to gather the dough around the filling. Pinch along the top of the dumpling to seal the pleated edges tightly together. Set the dumpling, sealed side up, flattening the bottom slightly, on a lightly floured cookie sheet. Keep covered with a dry towel. Repeat with the remaining wrappers. (If your wrappers are square, use the same method, folding the wrapper into a triangle, and then pleating the ends. The shape will be different, but it works the same. Since square wrappers are usually a little larger, you might need to use 1 tablespoon of filling per dumpling.)

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the oil to the pan, making sure there is just enough to cover the bottom. Add the dumplings, sealed side up, as close as possible without touching the sides together, and cook until the bottoms are brown, about 2 minutes. Do not turn the dumplings. Add the chicken broth carefully, as it will splatter. Cover immediately. Steam until the dumplings are firm and fully cooked, about 10 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated. (Check the dumplings in 5 minutes. Depending on how quickly the liquid evaporates, you might have to add a little more broth or water for the dumplings to fully cook.) Remove the lid and cook for about 1 more minute so they brown a little more. Carefully lift them out of the pan with a spatula. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

Notes: The dumplings can be made several hours ahead, filled, formed and refrigerated on a lightly floured baking sheet until needed. Alternately, they can be frozen. Place in one layer on a lightly floured cookie sheet and freeze, then place the frozen dumplings in a freezer bag for up to six months. Thaw before cooking.