Potstickers | Basics with Babish

Potstickers | Basics with Babish

(lively music) (gentle music) – So one of the key components of pot stickers is dumpling wrappers, and these are widely available at Asian grocers but if you can’t find ’em, here’s how to make your own.

We’re simply mixing together 250 grams of all-purpose flour with 130 milliliters of water, at first with a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon and then our hands, until a shaggy bowl of dough forms and no dry spots remain.

Then we’re covering with plastic wrap and allowing to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. This is gonna allow the flour to hydrate. Then we have to knead it for about five minutes or until completely smooth.

Obviously, you can do this by hand but a stand mixer is much easier. Pull it off the hook once or twice throughout the kneading process, and knead for anywhere from five to eight minutes on medium speed until soft, and elastic, and supple.

Then we are covering once again and allowing to rest for one hour, plenty of time to make our filling. Starting with one pound of ground pork, plop that into a large bowl and start adding stuff. First off, one carrot peeled and grated through the large holes of a cheese grater, the green and white parts of two scallions, roots removed and thinly sliced.

Then something that is traditional but can be a little bit more difficult to find is Napa cabbage. We want about one cups worth, thinly sliced into julienne strips. You could substitute with green cabbage but make sure that you cook it first because it is tougher.

We’re also gonna add one grated clove of garlic and some freshly peeled and grated ginger to your taste. I usually go for about an inch worth. One whole egg, a tablespoon of dark soy sauce, a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil, and a tablespoon of mirin.

We also, of course, want to season generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Now that everybody’s in the van, it’s time to get where we’re going. That metaphor didn’t really work. Just mix until evenly combined.

And there you have it, our filling, which we’re gonna cover and fridge for at least an hour so those flavors can get to know each other. During which time, we’re gonna negotiate our dumpling wrappers.

Now, traditionally, these are rolled out one at a time, but if you’re like me and you’re continuing to cheat using your stand mixer, the pasta rolling attachment really works wonders. Our objective here is to get the dough as thin as possible.

So we’re gonna start on the widest setting, generously dusting the dough with flour as necessary to prevent stickage. And one notch at a time, roll it out thinner and thinner until we can roll no more.

This is going to give us beautifully thin-skinned, delicate little dumplings. Now beyond just being nontraditional, this method is a bit more wasteful because we’re gonna use a three-inch biscuit cutter to stamp out our individual wrappers.

These, we are going to stack. Lightly dust it with flour until we’ve got about 30 wrappers. Even with my short cuts and cheats, this is still an arduous process. So if you can get these at the store, just get ’em at the store.

Once we got everybody rolled out and cut, it’s time to start filling. We’re gonna place about two tablespoons of our pork mixture in each wrapper, wet one side of the round with water using our finger, and seal the dumpling shut using a series of pleats.

Now, this takes a bit of practice, and as you’re about to see, I’m going to discard my first one because I screwed it up. But in the process of rolling about 30 of these, you’re gonna figure it out. Let’s see if we can glean some information from the closeup.

You’re basically repeatedly folding the wetted side of the dumpling over itself, creating a decorative crimped edge and naturally curving the seam of the dumpling. Once you’ve placed all your pleats, give it a little squeeze to seal it shut, and rinse and repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers.

There are definitely videos on YouTube that illustrate this more clearly, so I will link to one in the video description. Once you’ve got these all done and dusted, you can cook them or freeze them right on the sheet tray, placing them in a plastic bag once frozen solid for an easy snack or appetizer any time.

Whenever you’re ready to eat them, we need a dipping sauce. For that, we’re gonna combine 1/2 a cup of soy sauce with a 1/4 cup of rice vinegar, one tablespoon of sugar, about a 1/2 inch of grated ginger, some sliced scallions, one tablespoon toasted sesame oil, a little squirt of sriracha if that’s your thing, and a 1/4 cup of water.

Tiny whisk to combine and taste for seasoning, adjusting however you want. This is your dumpling sauce. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Next and last, it’s time to cook our dumplings. We’re adding about a tablespoon of vegetable oil to a preheated nonstick skillet, arranging the dumplings inside and allowing to fry for about three minutes or until blistered and brown.

And now to cook them through, we’re gonna add a big squirt of water to the skillet, maybe about a 1/4 cup, cover and allow to steam over medium-low heat for anywhere from seven to 10 minutes. After which time, the wrappers should be cooked, the bottom should be crisp, and the pork should be cooked through.

Go ahead and arrange neatly and decoratively on a plate with our dipping sauce. Make the dipping sauce live up to its name and chow down. A nice light beer or a cloudy glass of sake completes the picture.

And while these pot stickers are already stunningly delicious, there is a step that we can take to make them even deliciouser. In a small bowl, we are combining one teaspoon cornstarch with a 1/2 teaspoon of all-purpose flour, tiny whisking to combine, and adding to about a 1/2 a cup of water along with a 1/4 teaspoon rice vinegar.

Tiny whisk this until it is a homogenous slurry, and then we’re going to repeat the dumpling cooking process. Lightly frying in a little bit of oil until they have browned and bubbly bottoms, then we’re going to arrange the dumplings in a decorative pattern, and instead of splash of water, add our slurry until the bottom of the pan is covered.

Same as before, we’re gonna cover and steam for about seven minutes. After which time, you’ll remove the lid to discover a gross ectoplasmic goo around the bottom of your dumplings. But do not despair, we’re gonna keep cooking over medium heat until the goo dries out and starts to lightly brown.

Then, we’re taking it off the heat, putting our plate directly into the frying pan, and using it to invert the dumplings, like so. Make sure you’re wearing oven gloves to protect your delicate skin from errant oil spatters, and behold, the wafer-thin, delicate, crispy skirt around the bottom of our dumplings.

This both looks pretty nice and adds a whole lot of crunch to each and every bite, taking this dish from great to really great. I really hope you guys try this one for yourselves, ’cause it’s a really delicious way to spend an afternoon, and pot stickers freeze beautifully, and the cooking process for frozen pot stickers is virtually the same as fresh ones.

I literally took some out of the freezer and made them as I was doing the voiceover for this episode. Really, really good, but oh, it’s hot. Very, very hot. (upbeat music)