Potstickers and dumplings are some of my favorite things to eat. They’re more of a pain to make for a weekday dinner, but if you make a big batch of them, you can freeze them easily.
The filling ingredients:
- baby bok choy (I used about 12-20)
- 3 squares of baked tofu
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms that have been reconstituted so that they’re tender
- 1/4 cup Chinese pickled vegetable (zha cai)
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 3 scallions (just the top part)
Rinse the baby bok choy really well because sometimes there’s a lot of grit. Drain and put them in a microwavable bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Put it into the microwave and cook on high for about 3-4 minutes, until they’re wilted and tender. Leave it in the bowl covered with plastic for a few minutes to steam. Alternatively, you can steam them on the stove top till tender, or boil them, but the microwave is the fastest.
While the bok choy is cooking, cut the 3 squares of baked tofu into chunks the size of your thumb and throw into a food processor with the rest of the filling ingredients. Pulse and process until the filling is chopped, but not mush. Remove and set aside. If no food processor is available, you can do it by hand by chopping everything finely.
Pull the bok choy out, drain and squeeze to release most of the liquid. You don’t want the filling to be watery. Put the drained bok choy into the food processor and pulse until chopped finely.
Combine the chopped bok choy with the rest of the ingredients and add salt to taste.
Place about a tablespoon of the filling on the wrapper and wrap it however you like. I need to do a better video of my dumpling wrapping, but here’s an animated gif version.
Put a flat bottomed pan with a cover (I used our cast iron one) onto medium-low heat and put in enough oil to coat the entire bottom. It doesn’t have to be deep-frying high, but every part of the bottom of the pan should have oil on it. Gently place the dumplings into the pan, flat side to the bottom. You can crowd them so that they’re touching, but don’t press them against each other.
Once all the dumplings are in the pan, pour in 1/4 cup of water and cover immediately. This steams the top and inside of the dumpling. Keep covered for about 7 minutes, and then check. The tops of the dumplings should look cooked, and not floury or white. If not, cover for a minute more. If the water’s already evaporated, add a few tablespoons more and cover.
When the tops of the dumplings look done, take the cover off. If the water’s all gone, and the bottom of the dumpling are browned, they’re ready to be removed from the pan and served. If not, let them sit on the heat for longer. Once they’re sufficiently browned, they should release from the pan easily.
Line a steamer with napa cabbage. I used kale because that’s all I had in the fridge. Place the dumplings in the steamer, cover, and steam for 20 minutes.
Peel ginger and cut into tiny slivers. Top with black vinegar.