Sunday, June 14, 2009

Daring Cooks Challenge: Chinese Dumplings/Potstickers

My kitchen is certainly getting a workout this year. Today is the Daring Cooks June challenge reveal.

This month’s challenge comes from Jen of use real butter blog: Chinese Dumplings/Potstickers (gyoza in Japanese), a treasured family recipe.

Here's a chart of the process:

Source: use real butter

Wrappers: Well yes, you could purchase pre-made dumpling wrappers at the store (NO WONTON WRAPPERS - they have egg), but they are inferior compared to homemade. The whole point of this challenge is to make the dumpling wrappers by hand. So here is the one requirement: the dumpling wrappers must be made by hand. It isn't all that hard, it just takes a little time and practice. People usually get the hang of it after making about a dozen. The point of rolling the dough is for uniformity of wrapper and to achieve a thickness otherwise difficult to attain by hand. Also, rolling is much faster than hand shaping. We're aiming for a delicate skin that does not dominate the dumpling.

Fillings: the beauty of the Chinese dumpling/potsticker is that the filling is very versatile. That's why there are so many different kinds of dumplings when you go to dim sum. The two most common are pork and shrimp. You can make them with other ground meats (beef, chicken...) or vegetarian (tofu, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, glass noodles, Chinese chives—oh yum!). The important thing to keep in mind is that the filling needs to "stick" to itself or else you make your life incredibly miserable wrapping up filling that falls apart. It's up to you how you want to fill your dumplings. Just keep it cohesive and no big chunks of hard ingredients (they poke through the wrapper dough = disaster).

Special Equipment: A rolling pin, preferably not tapered.

Time: Prep for the filling takes 30 minutes, longer if peeling and de-veining shrimp. It will depend on your proficiency with a good sharp knife. Rolling and wrapping several dozen dumplings takes about 1 hour by yourself. Cooking: cook in batches. When steaming, you can cook a dozen at a time in about 10 minutes. Potstickers: 15 minutes per 2 dozen determined by the size of your pan.

Boiling: 6 minutes per dozen or so depending on size of pot.

Chinese Dumplings/Potstickers

© June Scroggin, All Rights Reserved

Pork Filling

  • 1 lb (450g) ground pork
  • 4 large napa cabbage leaves, minced
  • 3 stalks green onions, minced
  • 7 shitake mushrooms, minced (if dried – re-hydrated and rinsed carefully)
  • 1/2 cup (75g) bamboo shoots, minced
  • 1/4 (55g) cup ginger root, minced
  • 3 tbsp (40g) soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp (28g) sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp (16g) corn starch


Shrimp Filling

  • 1/2 lb (225g) raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 lb (225g) ground pork
  • 3 stalks green onions, minced
  • 1/4 cup (55g) ginger root, minced
  • 1 cup (142g) water chestnuts, minced
  • 1 tsp (5g) salt
  • 3 tbsp (40g) sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp (16g) corn starch


(double this for the amount of filling, but easier to make it in 2 batches - or just halve the filling recipe)

  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (113g) warm water
  • flour for work surface
  • Dipping Sauce
  • 2 parts soy sauce
  • 1 part vinegar (red wine or black)
  • a few drops of sesame oil
  • chili garlic paste (optional)
  • minced ginger (optional)
  • minced garlic (optional)
  • minced green onion (optional)
  • sugar (optional)

Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to a day, but preferably within an hour or two).

Make the dough, Method 1: Place the flour in the work bowl of a food processor with the dough blade. Run the processor and pour the warm water in until incorporated. Pour the contents into a sturdy bowl or onto a work surface and knead until uniform and smooth. The dough should be firm and silky to the touch and not sticky. [Note: it’s better to have a moist dough and incorporate more flour than to have a dry and pilling dough requiring more water).

Make the dough, Method 2: In a large bowl mix flour with ¼ cup of water and stir until water is absorbed. Continue adding water one teaspoon at a time and mixing thoroughly until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. We want a firm dough barely sticky to the touch.

Both dough methods: Knead the dough about twenty strokes then cover with a damp towel for 15 minutes. Take the dough and form a flattened dome. Cut into strips about 1½ to 2 inches wide. Shape the strips into rounded long cylinders. On a floured surface, cut the strips into 3/4 inch pieces. Press palm down on each piece to form a flat circle (you can shape the corners in with your fingers). With a rolling pin, roll out a circular wrapper from each flat disc. Take care not to roll out too thin or the dumplings will break during cooking, roll about 1/16th-inch thick. Leave the centers slightly thicker than the edges. Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper and fold the dough in half, pleating the edges along one side. Keep all unused dough under damp cloth.

To boil: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add dumplings to pot. Boil the dumplings until they float.

To steam: Place dumplings on a single layer of Napa cabbage leaves or on a well-greased surface in a steamer basket with lid. Steam covered for about 6 minutes.

To freeze: Assemble dumplings on a baking sheet so they are not touching. It helps to rub the base of the dumpling in a little flour before setting on the baking sheet for ease of release. Freeze for 20–30 minutes until dumplings are no longer soft. Place in Ziploc bag and freeze for up to a couple of months. Prepare per the above instructions, but allow extra time to ensure the filling is thoroughly cooked.

To serve: Serve dumplings or potstickers hot with your choice of dipping sauce combinations.

The Results

© June Scroggin, All Rights Reserved

I used pork filling since I can’t eat shrimp. Dough Method 1 worked fine for me, but I think my wrappers could be a bit thinner. All-in-all, the results of this challenge came out quite nicely and made for a nice lunch.


Audax said...

Just love the flower and the pixs look fab. Great that you liked them. Hope the other challenges are as much fun.

Anula said...

Love the plating :) your dumplings look delicious! I also loved the challenge and this recipe is a keeper! Cheers.

Lisa Michelle said...

Junie, your dumplings came out picture perfect and they look delicious. Wonderful job!!

jenncuisine said...

They look beautiful! great job!

singinghorse said...

Your plating photo looks really pretty. Your dumplings came out beautiful too. Congratulations!

Amy I. said...

Your dumplings look lovely! I really enjoyed this challenge as's fun to read everyone else's posts!

Heather B said...

Your dumplings look perfect! Great job on the challenge!

Diane Schuller said...

You know what? I think I could easily do these. Sure, there are a few steps but upon reading this, it's not really a complicated thing to do is it? You have just convinced me to give them a try from scratch like you have. Great photo of them too!

Jen Yu said...

Oh, what an awesome plate of gorgeous dumplings. You totally rocked the challenge this month!

tina said...

Beautiful photos. Great job!

dandelion said...

Delicious! Love the parsley in the center of the dumplings. I am just learning how to plate food. Your's is pretty.

Shauna said...

"Jiaozi" (饺子), as they're known in Mandarin, are quite possibly one of my absolute favorite foods in the entire world (behind Mom's veggie soup, Dad's steaks and my mint chocolate snow-top cookies, of course). I remember making these with my instructors when I was in language school, and they were amazing. We found that a small spoonful of hoisin sauce in the filling made our dumplings out-of-this-world. Your recipe (and the result) looks fantastic - I hope to try your recipe next weekend with the addition of my secret weapon! ;)


Isolated Foodie said...

The plating is so stunning, it would hardly matter what the dumplings tasted like. They look delicious, though!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

June, your dumplings look so perfect and so scrumptious! I had a little trouble with crimping mine properly and kind of just ruffled them, but I was so happy with their taste, and I'll definitely make them again. I'm glad you joined in on doing the Daring Kitchen challenges!

Thimbleanna said...

Gosh -- you make your own dough??? These look awesome June -- thanks for posting!!!

(Can't wait to see those cakes!)

LegalAlien said...

Very nice and very well displayed!

erushi said...

Loved the flower-presentation. Your dumplings look fab!

Storybook Woods said...

Your potstickers look beautiful, well done !!! Clarice

Margie said...

I really love your presentation -- the dumpling flower on that gorgeous plate! They look fabulous. I agree, this was a terrific challenge.

Valérie said...

Beautiful pictures and presentation! Great job!

Ammie said...

mmm! Delicious.

ice tea: sugar high said...

Your dumplings look great. Love the way you plate it and that lovely photos.