We're big fans of potstickers - my 9 year old especially - but don't always want to order the loads of Chinese food that typically accompanies them. Fortunately they're easy to make from scratch, and kids have fun filling and sealing the wonton wrappers (which are easy to find fresh or frozen in most grocery stores). They can be frozen in their uncooked state, then dropped into simmering broth for wonton soup, or cooked right away in a hot skillet, creating the crunchy bottoms that gave them their name.
A potsticker isn't supposed to really stick to the pot - it does at first, then develops wonderfully dark, crunchy bottoms that help them release from the pan and give them so much of their flavour. Let the bottoms get nicely golden first, then pour in some stock or water and cover the pan to allow the rest of the dumplings cook through. It only takes about ten minutes, and you have a batch of fresh, flavourful dumplings that are as fun to make as they are to eat.
One of the great things about potstickers is their versatility - you can really make the filling out of anything. Swap coarsely chopped raw shrimp for the pork, turkey or chicken, or go all veggie by sauteeing a panful of mushrooms and chopped cabbage or bok choy until all their excess moisture has cooked off. Kids have fun helping out - set out a bowl of filling, a dish of water and a pile of wonton wrappers, and they'll keep busy helping you get dinner on the table.
1 lb. lean ground pork, turkey or chicken
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 pkg. wonton wrappers
chicken or veggie stock, or water
In a medium bowl, stir together the pork, green onions, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sugar and sesame oil and mix it all up with your hands.
To fill wontons, place a small spoonful of filling in the middle of each wrapper; moisten the edges with water (just use your finger) and fold over, pressing the edge tightly to seal. Place seam side up on a cookie sheet, pressing lightly to flatten the bottom. Cover with a tea towel to prevent them from drying out. (Dumplings can be prepared up to this point, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours or frozen.)
When you’re ready to cook the potstickers, heat a drizzle of canola oil in a largeish skillet set over medium-high heat. Place half the dumplings at a time in the skillet and cook for a minute or two, until deep golden brown on the bottom, shaking the pan a few times to keep them from sticking. Don’t crowd the pan too much.
Pour about 1/4 cup stock or water into the pan. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes – this will allow them to steam, cooking them through.
Makes 2 – 3 dozen potstickers.