Published March 1, 2006.
Can you really make great Chinese-restaurant dumplings at home? We wanted a light filling, the right wrapper, and the perfect mix of flavors.
Too often, potstickers are dense, flavorless meatballs wrapped in a doughy blanket.
We wanted soft, savory pillows filled with tender ground meat and crunchy cabbage and spiked with a pleasing hit of garlic, ginger, and soy. And we weren't willing to make wrappers from scratch.
We started with the filling--ground pork can form a dense, solid mass when it's shaped and cooked, becoming more of a meatball than a tender dumpling. To lighten it up a bit, we increased the amount of cabbage after first salting and draining it to get rid of excess moisture and then added lightly beaten egg whites. Turning to the wrappers, we found that store-bought gyoza-style wrappers and wonton wrappers both made terrific potstickers, although tasters preferred the slightly chewy texture of the gyoza-style. To keep the filling in place and the wrapper from puffing up and away from the meat during cooking, we found it best to fold each meat-filled wrapper into a half-moon, pinch the middle closed, then carefully press out any air while sealing the edges. Our final challenge was the cooking procedure. A sequence of browning, steaming, then cranking up the heat produced potstickers with a pleasing balance of soft and crispy textures.list of recipes