Making Pot Stickers from scratch (Jiaozi style)
One of my personal favourites. Best made in large batches.
I first learned to make the boiled vesion of these as part of a chinese new year celebration at my highschool. Jiao Zhi is a staple of rural chinees cusine and the filling can be whatever you want but the most common is: pork, cabbage, onion, garlic, ginger and chili.
For the dough:
- Plain white flour
- Pinch of salt
- Few drops of sunflour/vegatable oil
- Cold water
- Optional: half a pinch of turmeric for colour
For the filling:
- Pork, finely chopped (or minced if your in a hurry) Belly Pork is the best choice for flavour.
- Green cabbage or spring greens
- Garlic, minced or finely chopped Korean Kim Chi can be used. Wash and pat dry the same as the salted cabbage.
- Fresh root ginger, grated or very finely chopped.
- Fresh chili, finely chopped. Deseeded
- Finely chopped white onion, and/or salad/spring onion.
- Few teaspoons of light soy.
- Optional: half a teaspoon of cornflour to bind it.(mix with soy before adding.)
- Tablespoon of oil for frying
- Half a cup of water
- Frying pan with a lid. Very important! Preferably non-stick with a glass lid.
Make the dough by mixing the flour, oil, salt (and optional turmuric) in a bowl. Slowly pour in the cold water a little at a time, mixing as you go. Do this by spooning water from a cup or bowl a little at a time, i wouldn't recoment using a tap directly. When the dough starts to come to gether turn it out onto a floured worksurface and kneed untill even.
Place the dough in an air tight bag or container (or cover with cling film) and leave in the fridge for at least half an hour.
If you are using cabbage in your filling finely chop it and mix in a few tablespoons of salt. Leave for at least half an hour to wilt. When ready wash off the excess salt and squeeze the moisture out.
Finely chop the garlic, fresh ginger, onion and chili. Some consider the chili to be optional, but not many. If you are using a food processor make sure that it doesnt purée it too much.
Mix the meat, spice paste, wilted cabbage, soy, cornflower and pinch of salt in bowl untill it has an even consistancy. Cover and refigerat until needed
Dust your worktop with some plain flour and set asside a handfull for use when rolling out later.
Take the rested dough and knead again for a few minuites. This makes it easier to work with.
Break of A thid of the dough and roll it into a cylinder about 2.5 cm / 1 inch wide. Now cut the cylinder into 2.5 cm / 1 inch wide segments and roll each of them into a ball with
Flatten one of the balls in the palms of your hands gently. Place on the work top and roll out into a flat disk about 3mm in thickness.
Place about a heap tablespoon of filling into the center of the dumpling in a slight oblong shape.
Dip one of your fingers in a bowl of water and sightly moisten the edge of the disk of pasta. You only need 1 or 2 drops, no more.
Fold the pasta over the filling to make a semi-circle. Press the pasta at the top close first, then work your finders down each edge one at a time making sure to masage out any air bubbles before you seal it completely. It is very important that you get the air out, otherwise your dumplings may burst open while cooking. If your finding this part hard, dont worry, its something that comes with practice. Try rolling the pastery a little thicker if its your first time.
See Photos Below
Place the finnished dumpling on a floured tray while you make the rest of your dumplings. It helps if its non stick as well. If you are making more than 25, you may find that oiling the tray may be better.
Cook immediatly or refrigerate for up to 8 hours. If you wish to freeze them, freeze them on a tray. Once frozen they can be placed in a sealed bag or tupperware without the risk of them deforming and sticking to each other.
Place a flat bottomed pan on the hob and bring to a medium-high heat. Add 2 table spoons of oil and sprinkle half a teaspoon of salt across the pan. This helps prevent the dumplings from sticking when you fry them and also seasons the pasta when it is cooking.
Add the dumplings one by one and fry on one side until the pasta starts to go crisp. This will take about 2-3 minuites. You don't want the colour to brown at this point, so if you are making a lot its best not to have the pan too hot to start with. The aim is to have the pasta cooked enough that the dumplings no longer stick to the bottom of the pan.
Now comes the fun part! With the lid at the ready in one hand and the glass of water in the other - pour the water into the hot pan and put the lid on fast (Don not be looking over the pan at this point). Holding the lid down, give the pan a gental shake so the water coats the dumplings. Turn the heat down to medium and cook with the lid on for 5-10 minuites, shaking the pan occsionally.
As the dumplings cook, they absorb the water and eventually most of it will be gone. At this point remove the lid and allow the starchy remains to evaporate off
With the lid off, fry the dumplings again for a few minuites until golden brown on one side (or more if you prefer).
Serve immediatly with a dipping sauce of equal parts light soy to rice vinegar - sweetened to taste. Black vinegar is traditionally often used here, it has a treacle/molasses like tase.
You can also prepare the dumplings as above and then boil them in lightly salted water or steam them in a bamboo basket, instead of the steam-frying described above.