Daring Cooks' Challenge: Potstickers

For this month's Daring Cooks' Challenge -- my second challenge -- Jen at use real butter asked us all to make potstickers. She only required that we not use wonton wrappers and make the dough ourselves. This challenge intrigued me because I love potstickers and I have always wanted to make them from scratch.

Jen provided an amazing step-by-step tutorial on her blog, which I highly recommend if you ever decide to make these.

I like potstickers best when they are pan-fried and when the dough thinly veils the filling. I can't stand thick, gummy potstickers or dumplings. But as I've made pierogi a few times before, I wasn't too worried about working with the dough and rolling it thin enough for the potstickers.

My major recommendation on these is to enlist some help. I went into this recipe thinking I could do it alone. And I could have, but it would have taken me much longer. Luckily, my boyfriend was home -- and hungry -- so he jumped in and helped me.

I first made the filling. To me, one of the most annoying things to prep is ginger. Its knobbiness makes peeling it quite a chore. I even tried using a spoon, which is supposed to be easier than using a peeler. It was still difficult and time-consuming. But once I finally had the ginger peeled and minced, the rest was pretty simple.

I sliced some scallions.

And then I mixed the scallions and ginger into some ground pork and added some corn starch and soy sauce.

I put the filling in the fridge while I made the sauce and dough. I figured the earlier I made the sauce, the longer the flavors would have to mingle. In a small bowl I combined some more minced ginger and sliced scallions with soy sauce, red wine vinegar, sesame oil, and a pinch of sugar.

The dough is simply a mixture of flour and water. Jen provides instructions for making this in a food processor or by hand. I opted to use the food processor. I measured in my flour and then poured in water and set the machine to its task. The dough was still pretty sticky when I took it out, so I had to knead a little flour into it.

I then had to divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll each piece into a log. I kept the logs under a moist towel until we were ready to work with them.

My boyfriend cut each log into about 10 pieces.

He then took each piece and flattened it into a circle with his hands and then used a rolling pin to thin the dough even more.

I then took each prepared round and scooped some filling into it.

Then came the more challenging part. It takes a bit of work to give potstickers their unique shape.

I pinched the dough together at the middle...

...and then pleated one side...

...and then the other, tucking the ends in and pinching them closed.

As I finished forming each potsticker, I would dip it in a little flour and set it on a plate.

When the potstickers were all formed and ready, I heated some oil in a frying pan and placed 10 potstickers in the pan. (I froze the rest for later use.) Once the potstickers were golden brown on the bottom, I poured in a cup of water and covered the pan. The steam cooks the filling and the dough.

I also flipped my potstickers on their sides once the water was absorbed and fried the sides too.

I thought they were just as good as some that I've had out at Chinese restaurants and better than the ones we buy in bulk at Costco. They took a little work, and I plan to play around with the filling a little next time, but overall they weren't too difficult to make, and having someone there to help me made the whole process go so smoothly.

I love the crunchy outside and the meaty filling. If you love potstickers and you've never made your own before, you definitely should give it a try! This challenge was a huge success.