This week I tried something new, making potstickers with homemade wrappers using recipes from Ellen Leong Blonder’s Dim Sum: The Art of Chinese Tea Lunch. I know this was starting to look like a baking blog but never fear, we have savory recipes too! This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge, which connects food bloggers and inspires us to try new things! This month’s link up is hosted by Mr Fitz from Cooking with Mr Fitz.
For those of you who’ve never tried postickers, they’re little packages of pan fried delicousness that are crispy on the bottom, chewy, and filled with ground meat, tofu or veggies seasoned with ginger and sesame oil. I love dumplings of all kinds, and I was first drawn to Ellen Blonder’s book by its beautiful watercolor illustrations (by the author!) and thoughtful explanations of ingredients that were new to me. While I used the dumpling shape shown above for my potstickers, I developed my own filling based on another recipe in this book for vegetarian potstickers with a flour wrapper.
I’ve made pasta before and I’ve made potstickers using store bought wrappers, but making potstickers with homemade wrappers is a little bit different than either of those. As with homemade vs. store bought pasta, the homemade wrapper dough has a very different texture and cooking time than a store bought wrapper. The homemade dough is tender and translucent enough to hint at the filling inside, while store bought wrappers are much chewier and more sturdy.
The dough for the wrappers is STICKY. It’s also one of the most finicky, high maintenance doughs I’ve ever worked with. Is is worth it? Yes, once you figure out a method for wrapping the postickers that works for you and accept that (sadly) not all of your potstickers are going to make it. In this post I’ll walk you through all the mistakes I made as a dim sum newbie to help you start making beautiful, tasty dumplings from the get go. I would love to hear in the comments from those of you experienced with dim sum and those who are starting with this recipe about tips and tricks that you’ve learned along the way.
Things don’t always go as planned when you’re trying a new recipe, here’s what worked for me and what didn’t:
- The recipe I followed indicated to let the dough rest for 20 minutes before rolling out. I actually had better results without resting the dough (it was more pliable and easier to work with.)
- With my first batch of dough I tried rolling half of the batch out very thin and using a cookie cutter to cut out the individual wrappers. The dough was so thin that it just stuck to itself when I tried to peel it off the counter. Cutting the dough into small pieces and then rolling out each piece was much more successful.
- If you have a wrapper that splits after wrapping it around the filling, just use an extra piece of dough to patch it up, the taste will be the same and as far as appearance goes it won’t be noticeable.
- To make potstickers ahead, freeze them before pan-frying. However, do as I say and not as I did. Be sure to freeze them on a piece of parchment or wax paper rather than directly on a plate. If you freeze your potstickers, allow them to thaw for 45 minutes before frying.
Mushroom and Tofu Potstickers with Broccoli Rabe
Make it Vegan: Saute the mushrooms and onion in Canola oil rather than butter and deglaze the pan using water in place of chicken broth.
Recipe Notes: In the filling it’s very important to use coarse salt (such as kosher salt) rather than fine table salt so that the filling isn’t overly salty. Do not use a non-stick pan to cook potstickers.
For the Filling:
- 8 oz finely shredded Napa cabbage (about 3 cups)
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt (divided use)
- About 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons crushed or finely minced peeled fresh ginger
- 4 oz firm tofu, mashed
- 4 oz shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
For the Wrappers and Preparing the Potstickers:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for working
- canola oil
For the Broccoli Rabe and Soy-Vinegar Sauce:
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe, large leaves removed, ends trimmed
- 6 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- a pinch of red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons scallions, very thinly sliced on the bias
- Prepare the filling: In a large bowl, toss Napa cabbage with 1 tablespoon salt and let stand for about 30 minutes, or until cabbage wilts. Rinse the cabbage and squeeze out as much water as possible. You should have about 2 cups cabbage.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, mushrooms, ginger and 1/4 teaspoon salt and saute until mushrooms and onion are tender, 5-7 minutes. Slowly add sherry and cook, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- In a large bowl, combine mushroom mixture with cabbage, tofu, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and white pepper. Set filling aside
- Make the wrappers 1 batch of dough at a time. Two batches should be sufficient for this recipe. For each batch of dough combine 3/4 cup flour and 1/3 cup water. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 4 minutes, working in additional flour as you go (dough will be very sticky.) When finished kneading the dough will be fairly stiff and you’ll be able to form it into a smooth ball.
- Divide dough in half and roll each half into a 8-9″ log. Working with one log at a time, (cover dough you aren’t using with plastic wrap or a damp paper towel) cut the dough into pieces about 3/4″ long. Cover remaining dough pieces while you’re rolling out the wrapper for each potsticker.
- Roll each piece of dough into a circle about 3″ wide, flouring the dough and turning it over a few times as you go. The dough will be very thin and may appear translucent in places. Spoon a scant 1 tablespoon of filling into the lower half of the wrapper and fold the top half over filling. Working from the right to the left, fold the seam of the wrapper over in a series of overlapping pleats to seal. Cover finished potstickers while working.
- Meanwhile, steam broccoli rabe for 3-4 minutes or until bright green and tender. Immediately transfer broccoli rabe to a bowl of cold water and allow to cool to room temperature. Drain broccoli rabe, dry it off and set aside.
- Set a pie plate in oven and set oven to warm or 200°. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. The pan is hot enough to add potstickers when a few drops of water sizzle loudly when added to the pan. Working in batches, add 5-6 potsickers to the pan, being careful not to overcrowd pan. Pan-fry potstickers until they are a deep, even golden brown on the bottom.
- Slowly add 1/2 cup water to the pan and cover, allow postickers to steam for 3-5 minutes or until translucent in places on top and an even golden color.
- Uncover and raise heat to high. Cook potstickers until most (but not all) of the liquid evaporates, 2-3 minutes. Transfer potstickers to oven, browned side up, and keep warm while cooking remaining potstickers.
- While potstickers are steaming, whisk together ingredients for sauce: soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, red pepper flakes and scallions. Serve potstickers and broccoli rabe with soy-vinegar sauce on the side. (Dip postickers and broccoli rabe in the sauce or pour a small amount over the food.)