Chinese Potstickers Recipe, Made with Pork & Napa Cabbage
Chinese Potstickers are also called Jiaozi or Guotie in Chinese. This is a traditional recipe using store bought potsticker wrappers and a basic filling of pork and napa cabbage. Our family loves potstickers and I have plans to share additional variations with you later but let’s start with one super easy recipe.
Big Family, Big Recipes, Lots of Fun Family Time
My mom grew up in a household with 11 siblings as well as my grandfather’s employees and making meals was always a huge production and large scaled. Even when she cooked for our immediate family of three, she and I would spend an entire Sunday afternoon making hundreds of dumplings or wontons. My mom was a savvy working mother and she set aside some of them to freeze for later.
While it was fun for me to hang out with my mom, I associated making dim sum as a huge production that required hours to make. It took me awhile to realize that it’s okay to make a small batch. I scaled down the recipe and tried it with my 12 year old son. We worked together and it took us about 10 minutes to make the filling, 10 minutes to assemble the potstickers, and 10 minutes to fry them while I cleaned up. 30 minutes of hands on time to make hot, savory, and crispy skinned potstickers sounds good, doesn’t it?
Assemble Potstickers Like a Pro
You will need a clean dry surface to work on, a small bowl of water, a tablespoon sized measuring spoon, a small spoon, a parchment paper(affiliate link) lined tray, and a paper towel to dry off your working surface as needed. Keep the potsticker wrappers inside the plastic bag and take out only what you can wrap within a few minutes, this keeps the wrappers soft and pliable.
- Place the potsticker wrapper on a clean dry surface and place 1 tablespoon of filling in the center. If the filling looks round, use the back of two spoons and give it a gentle squeeze so that it’s roughly oval shaped.
- Dip a finger into a bowl of water and wet the edge of the wrapper, and then you have your choice of how to seal it up:
- Easy seal: fold the edges together and pinch so that it’s a half circle. Sealing it this way will take up more room in your frying pan (requires cooking in two batches) and cooking time may vary.
- Easy and fancy seal: use a potsticker mold(affiliate link) to seal the potstickers and have a fancy crimp. This is fast and easy especially if anyone has any hand or dexterity issues however depending on the size of the mold, you might have use a little less filling per potsticker and will need more wrappers. Cooking time may vary.
- Intermediate pleats: If you think of the wrapper as a clock face, start at about 10 o’clock, make a small pleat and pinch, repeat 5-6 times and fold the bottom flap up. Gently check the shape and pleats to make sure the edges are sealed. Watch the video below for a demonstration.
- Traditional pleats: If you think of the wrapper as a clock face, fold the top and bottom halves of the wrapper together and pinch just 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock together. Then tuck 2 o’clock under 1 o’clock, pinch, and keep pleating and pinching until the right side is finished. Tuck 10 o’clock under 11 o’clock, pinch, and keep pleating and pinching until the left side is finished, about 3-4 on each side. Inspect the pleats and gently pinch the entire seal so that loose pleats and corners are sealed. This way might seem difficult but once you try it, you will become skilled with practice.
- Place finished potstickers on a parchment lined tray until ready to fry or freeze. The skins become soft and soggy over time so be sure to work on a dry surface and pan fry or freeze as soon as possible.
- If you have helpers or you can assemble the potstickers quickly, then you can speed up the process by laying out a few wrappers at the same time, load them with filling, and then seal them.
- This recipe makes 22 potstickers which is exactly how many I can fit in my 14 inch frying pan. If your frying pan is smaller, be prepared to pan fry in multiple batches or freeze some if you are short on time.
Make ahead options:
- You can make the potsticker filling in advance and marinate the meat for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day in advance.
- You can assemble them in advance and then freeze them without touching each other on a parchment paper lined tray for a few hours and then transfer to a freezer bag.
- When you are ready to cook the frozen potstickers, do not thaw them but allow a few extra minutes of cooking time.
- Sometimes I double or triple the recipe and end up with extra filling or unused wrappers. Between the two options, I prefer to use up all the wrappers and make sticky rice with the extra filling.
- If I dip my potstickers at all, I like using white vinegar, it’s simple and healthy. However, if I were serving potstickers to friends, I would make a simple soy-vinegar dip as I mentioned in my Scallion Pancake recipe (recipe included in the notes below).
Allergy Aware Asian Fare
It seems to me that Asian companies which make fresh noodles and wrappers use basic ingredients such as wheat and eggs. Most premade potsticker wrappers are not suitable for people with wheat allergies. I did try making a gluten free potstcker which was edible but the recipe is not ready to share yet.
I buy potsticker wrappers made by New Hong Kong Noodles, which is a large local company with distribution along the West Coast. When I called them, they weren’t effusive but told me that they do not use nuts in their facility. However they do use egg in some products but not in the potsticker wrappers so it’s safer to assume that there is a risk of cross contact with eggs.
I have also tried Dynasty’s gyoza wrappers and they do not contain egg in the ingredients, but I suspect that they are made on shared equipment with egg as well. Readers who are allergic to egg need to call or email the manufacturers of potsticker wrappers before using.
My children love when I made potstickers from a hot water dough instead of store bought wrappers. However due to the gluten in the dough, I only have patience to make small batches which means I have to also make other entrees to round out our meals. Maybe with my new found acceptance of making small batches, I might be able to master it. If you want to try a recipe with a homemade from scratch wrapper, try my recipe for Chicken with Corn Potstickers.
Be sure to refer to What’s in Nut Free Wok’s Cupboard for more details about the products I use to season the pork filling. If you are allergic to an ingredient, it’s okay to omit it or substitute something similar that you can safely eat but results may vary.
- If you are Soy free: try other soy sauce substitutes or soy free soy sauce or salt (approximately 1/8th of a teaspoon of salt per 1 teaspoon of soy sauce), check oyster sauce ingredients
- If you are Shellfish free: omit the oyster sauce and use the equivalent of soy sauce with a pinch of sugar
- If you are Sesame free: omit, no substitute needed
- If you are Corn free: use tapioca or potato starch and check oyster sauce ingredients
- 4 oz napa cabbage leaves (approximately 6 leaves)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ pound ground pork
- 1 scallion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder or 1 clove minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon white pepper (or black pepper)
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 22 potsticker wrappers (have a few extras just in case)
- 1 teaspoon oil (whatever is safe for you, I like olive oil)
- Nonstick cooking spray (optional)
- ⅓ cup hot water (more might be needed)
- White vinegar or dipping sauce for serving (see notes below)
- MAKE FILLING: Wash, dry, and finely chop napa cabbage (I like to stack them, cut the stem into ¼ inch strips and then chop).
- Add the chopped napa cabbage into a medium bowl, add salt and mix, set aside for 10 minutes.
- Place ground pork into a large mixing bowl and add chopped scallions, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, garlic, sugar, and black pepper and mix.
- Add cornstarch to the pork mixture and mix.
- Grab small handfuls of napa cabbage and squeeze out the excess liquid, add the napa cabbage to the pork mixture, and mix evenly (discard the salty napa cabbage liquid).
- ASSEMBLE POTSTICKERS (refer to blog post for detailed instructions)
- Place a wrapper on a clean dry surface and add 1 tablespoon of filling in the center, give the meat a tiny squeeze between two spoons to give it an oval potsticker shape.
- Dip a finger into a bowl of water and wet the edge of the wrapper, and then pleat to seal:
- Think of the wrapper as a clock face, start at about 10 o'clock, make a small pleat and pinch, repeat 5-6 times and fold the bottom flap up.
- Gently check the shape and pleats to make sure the edges are sealed (see video for a demonstration).
- Inspect the pleats and gently pinch the entire seal so that loose pleats and corners are sealed.
- PAN FRY THE POTSTICKERS: Heat up a large frying pan on medium high heat (be sure that whatever pan you use that it has a matching lid), I use a 14 inch stainless steel heavy frying pan.
- When the frying pan is hot and drop of water sizzles and dances on the frying pan, add oil and swirl, add non-stick cooking spray if desired (optional).
- Quickly arrange the potstickers in the frying pan and pan fry for about 3-4 minutes until the bottoms are golden brown.
- Have a lid in one hand and use your other hand to add the hot water to the frying pan, the water will sizzle and steam, immediately cover the frying pan with the lid to steam the potstickers.
- Do not open the lid and allow the dumplings to steam for 6 minutes on medium heat.
- Check for doneness, if the potsticker skins are still slightly opaque, add 2 tablespoons of hot water, cover, and steam for another 2 minutes (definitely do this step if cooking frozen potstickers)
- When the potsticker skins are no longer opaque and are slightly translucent then cook for another minute to allow the potsticker bottoms to become crisp again and serve with white vinegar or a soy-vinegar dipping sauce (see notes below).
WHEN COOKING FROZEN POTSTICKERS: do not thaw but allow extra cooking time by adding more hot water at step 17.
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