Potstickers, jiaozi, or gyoza – Whatever you call them these dumplings are irresistible! During my last week of vacation I decided to stay home and concentrate on preparing my favourite foods that will last us through the next couple of months. One of my husband’s requests was jiaozi. I usually only have time to make these once every couple of months or around New Year’s because I make everything from scratch. I’m not against using ready-made wrappers, but since they’re not available at the closest and only “ethnic” grocer we have I make them from scratch. I think by making them by hand one learns more and experience and practice is key. Learning how to knead and stretch dough to achieve the correct texture is vital.
Once you’ve got the dough you’ve got to concentrate on the filling. I tend to use leaner meat but you’ll always want something with a bit of fat. After they’re boiled (and/or fried) you’ll still want some juices to come from the meat. You don’t want a dry meatball filling, but you don’t want to be making Xiaolongbao either. This will be explained in further detail as you follow along. Be warned though, this recipe is incredibly time-consuming if you make everything from scratch and don’t have the help of others!
This will be an extremely image-heavy post so I’m going to put the recipe and the tutorial behind the cut. Enjoy! Oh, and if you use this recipe or are inspired to make your own, let me know about it!
Now on to the recipe and tutorial for jiaozi!
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 cup of boiling water
- 1/8 – 1/4 tsp of salt (salt is important!)
- 400g lean ground pork
- 8-10 medium sized prawns (raw, deveined, and minced)
- about 2 cups chinese cabbage thinly sliced
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup spring onion
- dark soy sauce (for colour)
- light soy sauce (for flavour)
- sesame oil
- 2 small-medium cloves of garlic
- 1 1/2 tbsp minced ginger (use more if you love ginger!)
- xiaoxing ricewine
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp hoisin sauce (optional)
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce (optional)
I usually begin by making the filling because I want the flavours to fuse just enough, but still allow the pork and prawn to remain distinct. This recipe yields enough for about 45 pieces.
- Combine the pork, minced prawns, a few shakes of the soy sauces, ginger, garlic, a small splash of sesame oil, and ground pepper. Lightly toss them together just to infuse the flavours. (Note: Amounts of soy sauce are up to you. I love sesame oil but it’s strong. Use it sparingly. About 1/2 tsp is more than enough!)
- Carefully add the minced chinese cabbage and spring onions. At this point use your hands to create a mixture. You want it loose enough to keep moist, but try to avoid making a paste. When combined store completely covered in a glass bowl (please not metal!) in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Combine the flour and salt. Slowly add the boiled water little by little. I suggest using a chopstick to slowly bring the dough together. It will be incredibly sticky so using your hands or a spatula isn’t recommended. Essentially you want a soft and sticky dough and nothing bread-like. If you’re worried about the amount of salt consider this – salt is essential because it strengthens the gluten allowing it to stretch without breaking. A little goes a long way. Knead the dough on a floured surface for a couple minutes just to bring it together and to form a ball.
- Using a damp teatowl (I recommend one that isn’t your favourite) cover the dough and let it rest for at least an hour. When ready the dough will be soft and very elastic.
- Here’s where it all becomes a bit more time-consuming. After the dough has rested for at least an hour it should be ready to be rolled out into wrappers. I like to let it rest once more so that the dough is incredibly soft to work with. It’s up to you whether or not you want to skip this extra step. Divide the ball into 4 equal segments. Carefully roll these out into small logs. I’ve tried to show how to roll them evenly. Apply a light pressure where your palms and knuckles meet, and start to work the dough from the middle and work it outwards.
- If you want to let them rest as I do, just reuse the damp teatowel and carefully roll them in. I have an overlapping method that keeps them separated, but if you need to use another towel do so.
- When you’re ready to divide the logs into 10-12 pieces try to make them as equal as possible. You can always add more to each small ball if you want them thicker. (Do not increase the circumference!) I can’t exactly give an exact measurement, but you want to roll them out so that they fit in the palm of your hand. No bigger, no smaller. If you have really large hands I’m not really sure what this equates to.
- Roll them out on a well-floured surface. When stacking them be sure to coat them with plenty of flour. You can never have enough! They will stick together if you let them rest for too long in the fridge! 20 minutes perhaps? Since this dough can make anywhere from 40-45 wrappers I suggest dividing the stacks so that they won’t dry out or stick together too quickly.
- Here comes the fun bit! When your dumpling wrappers are ready, fill about 1 tbsp with the mixture. To save time I lay out 10 wrappers on parchment paper and place the filling in the middle. Then all you have to do is fold. I have several methods to fold them (especially when boiled and fried) but it’s really up to you. I have a little gadget that does all the work for you but it’s not as pretty in my opinion. Doing it by hand will give you more practice! I got my husband to do half of these to save even more time.
- When your dumplings are ready it’s time to cook! I prefer to boil them and then fry them, but my husband likes to fry them and then steam them. It’s really up to you. If you like gyoza or gyoza-style dumplings fry them on one side with 1 tbsp oil until golden brown, and then add about 1/2 cup of water and steam them for about 6-8 minutes. Freeze the remaining dumplings in batches. Use a baking sheet with parchment/baking paper and freeze. When they’re completely frozen transfer them to freezer bags. When you want them again just pop them into boiling water and then fry!
And there you have it! Delicious dim sum and something to brag about! If you want to make these vegetarian you can always try mushrooms, tofu, and plenty of garlic! If you want something spicier perhaps try some chili. For a dipping sauce it’s really up to your own tastes. I love hoisin sauce on it’s own so I usually just mix a little of it with some light soy and sesame oil to make it more fluid.
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