I love making my own “takeout” at home. It’s such a fun cooking theme, both for weeknight dinners and entertaining friends. While I’ve often ordered potstickers in restaurants and purchased them ready-to-cook in the grocery store, I was surprised to learn how easy they are to make yourself. In our favorite Chicken and Vegetable Potstickers, I combine ground chicken, cabbage, carrots, ginger, garlic, scallions, soy sauce, and toasted sesame oil for a fresh filling that’s big on flavor. These tender, crisp-bottomed dumplings are delicious served alongside a honey-soy dipping sauce, with an optional touch of Sriracha for a light kick. Plus, you can assemble them ahead of time and freeze them for later use, making wholesome, homemade potstickers just as convenient as store-bought. Sounds like a plan to me!
The key to making excellent potstickers at home is the wrapper. If possible, you want to look for “gyoza wrappers” or “dumpling skins” instead of wontons. Many regular grocery stores are carrying them these days (look for them in the refrigerated section, near the tofu), though if you have access to an Asian market, you’ll be treated to a much greater selection of authentic choices. While wonton skins are workable for this recipe (and I’ve used them many times myself), they’re a bit thinner than what is usually used for potstickers. The gyoza or dumpling wrappers stand up better to the filling and are easier to pleat and cook without tearing. If you can find them, they’re definitely worth it!
Potstickers do take a bit of time to fill and shape, but once you’re comfortable with the technique, the process gets quicker. Even better than assembling them alone: invite your friends over for a potsticker party and let everyone get in on the fun! To assemble, place a dollop of filling in the center of the wrapper (resist the urge to overfill), dampen the perimeter with water, and fold the wrapper in half over the filling. Use your thumb and forefinger to fold anywhere from 3-6 pleats in the top layer of the wrapper (I find I can add more pleats as I get in my assembly groove), keeping the bottom layer of the wrapper flat. The dumpling will naturally form a crescent shape with a flat base, but you can help it along if necessary. The most important thing is that the potsticker edges are sealed, and that you’ve pressed out any air in the dumpling as you’ve pleated them so they don’t split when steamed. If you like, you can get creative with your pleats as you go along, but trust me when I say that even if the pleats aren’t perfect (mine never are), the potstickers will still taste delicious!
I like to use the classic potsticker cooking method of fry-steam-fry: brown the bottoms of the potstickers, steam them through, and give them a final crisp in the pan before serving. The two-stage crisping gives the potstickers a nice contrast of texture and color. As I mentioned, the dumplings can be filled and folded in advance and frozen, uncooked. Place the assembled potstickers on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer and freeze until solid. Then, just transfer to a zip-top freezer bag for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to serve, cook as directed in the recipe (no need to defrost), increasing the steaming time by a few minutes until the dumplings are cooked through. Fresh or frozen, homemade potstickers are an easy and delicious treat for an appetizer or light meal!
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