‘wo tip’- the Cantonese pronunciations for pan-fried dumplings, which literally means ‘pot stick’, therefore some people call them ‘pot-stickers’.
As far as I know, everyone likes dumplings and I have to say: Dumplings really are my number one favorite! Steamed, fried, in a soup; Chinese, Japanese or Korean style, I love them all! So you can imagine, I make them very often. As a soup I either make them in a chicken or beef broth (sometimes with noodles as well), or I pan-fried them like I did for this week’s recipe. So easy and so delicious! My daughter is absolutely crazy about it; she can eat 8-10 pieces in one meal!! A little person like her, that’s pretty impressive!
Dumplings pastry is widely available in Asian markets, some for soup and some for frying. I used Japanese round Gyoza pastry here. There are plenty of choices for the filling, either meat or vegetarian. Normally, the filling mostly consists of meat, Chinese cabbage, spring onion and grated ginger. The common meat version is minced pork, but of course minced beef or chicken are also two popular ingredients. For a vegetarian version, just simply omit the meat.
I think it is quite tricky to wrap these dumplings for the first time, but it gets easier once you got the hang of it. In this recipe, instead of making pleats around the edge, I simply fold the wrapper over to form a half moon shape and pinch the edge and seal with water. Then make a flat base on the side of the filling to make the bottom crispy when frying.
Note: Use a damp kitchen paper to cover the wrapper while you are working, to prevent them from drying out. Again, for the same reason, place a large piece of cling film on top of the ready dumplings while you continue to prepare the remaining dumplings. These dumplings also freeze very well. Freeze uncooked dumplings on a plate individually and once they are frozen, put them in a zip back. Cook them from frozen as per the recipe, but it will take a little bit longer to cook.
(makes about 40 pieces)
For the dumplings:
- Dumpling / Gyoza wrappers
- 200g Organic minced pork or mixture of beef and pork
- 2 Chinese cabbage leaves, finely chop
- 1 stick spring onion, finely chop
- 1 heap tsp. minced fresh ginger
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 6-8 raw prawns, finely diced (optional)
- Small bowl of water, for wrapping
Seasoning for the dumplings:
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. sake or Shaoxing rice wine
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- Grounded pepper
- Vegetable oil
- Sesame oil
Dipping sauce to serve: (serves one)
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
- Chili oil or Japanese chili pepper powder
To make the dipping sauce: put all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside until serve.
To prepare the filling: mix all the ingredients for the filling in a medium sized mixing bowl. Then add the seasoning and combine well (the best is to use your hand!). Set aside.
To make the dumplings: prepare a large platter dust with flour (to prevent the dumplings from sticking to the platter). Place a dumpling wrapper on one of your hands (on the fingers and upper part of the palm). Put a teaspoon of filling in the center of the wrapper, wet one fingertip of your other hand and trace around the edge of half the wrapper. Fold over the wrapper to form a half moon shape, pinch the edge and seal. Make sure the wrapper is completely sealed. Push the bottom part of the dumpling (where the filling is) flat with your two thumbs and at the same time form it towards the sealed edge to create a crescent shape. Place the dumpling on the prepared platter and cover with cling film. Repeat with the rest of the wrappers and filling.
To cook the dumplings, place a non-stick pan on medium high heat, grease the pan with vegetable oil with a kitchen towel (like greasing a cake tin). Place the dumplings one by one in the pan; bring about 5 pieces close in contact with each other (they will stick together at the bottom and it makes it easier to remove them), for about 2 minutes. Pick one dumpling up and check if the bottom has started to brown (be careful, at this stage the wrapper can easily burn).
Once the bottom is lightly brown, pour in some water slowly to cover the bottom of the pan, about 1/3 way up to the dumplings. Cover with a lid and let them steam and cook until liquid has nearly gone (about 3-4 minutes).
Then remove the lid, turn the heat down to medium, then let the rest of the liquid evaporate, add in some sesame oil. Now the dumplings will start to frying again – do not attempt to move them around. After about 2 minutes, check the bottom of the dumplings: if they are crispy brown, it means they are ready. Repeat with the next batch until all are cooked.
Use a spatula to careful lift the dumplings (5 pieces together) onto a serving plate, bottoms up (see picture). Serve with dipping sauce.