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Pork and Cabbage Dumplings—Wor Tip

Published March 2006

Why This Recipe Works

We wanted a recipe for soft, savory pillows filled with tender pork and crunchy cabbage and spiked with a pleasing hit of garlic, ginger, and soy. To get there, we lightened up our filling by increasing the amount of cabbage after first salting and draining it to get rid of excess moisture and then adding lightly beaten egg whites. A sequence of browning, steaming, and cranking up the heat produced a potsticker recipe with a pleasing balance of soft and crispy textures.

Ingredients

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Filling

3 cups minced napa cabbage leaves (about 1/2 medium head)
¾ teaspoon table salt
¾ pound ground pork
4 minced scallions (about 6 tablespoons)
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
4 teaspoons soy sauce
1 ½ teaspoons minced or grated fresh ginger
1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
teaspoon ground black pepper

Dumplings

24 round gyoza wrappers (see note)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup water, plus extra for brushing

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Instructions

Makes 24 dumplings, 6 first course servings

We prefer to use gyoza wrappers. You can substitute wonton wrappers, but the cooking time in step 4 will be reduced from 10 minutes to 5 or 6 minutes and note that the yield will increase to 40 potstickers (see chart below Step 4 for more information). These dumplings, also known as potstickers, are best served hot from the skillet; we recommend that you serve the first batch immediately, then cook the second batch. To freeze, place filled, uncooked dumplings in the freezer in a single layer on a plate until frozen, then transfer to a storage bag. There's no need to thaw frozen dumplings; just proceed with the recipe.

1. For the filling:: Toss cabbage with the salt in colander set over a bowl and let stand until cabbage begins to wilt, about 20 minutes. Press the cabbage gently with rubber spatula to squeeze out any excess moisture, the transfer to a medium bowl. Add the remaining filling ingredients and mix thoroughly to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until mixture is cold, at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

2. For the dumplings: Working with 4 wrappers at a time (keep the remaining wrappers covered with plastic wrap), follow the photos below to fill, seal, and shape the dumplings using one slightly rounded tablespoon of the chilled filling per dumpling. Transfer the dumplings to a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling; you should have about 24 dumplings. (The dumplings can be wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 1 day, or frozen for up to 1 month. Once frozen, the dumplings can be transferred to a zipper-lock bag to save space in the freezer; do not thaw before cooking.)

3. Line a large plate with a double layer of paper towels; set aside. Brush 1 tablespoon of the oil over the bottom of a 12-inch nonstick skillet and arrange half of the dumplings in the skillet, with a flat side facing down (overlapping just slightly if necessary). Place the skillet over medium-high heat and cook the dumplings, without moving, until golden brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes.

4. Reduce the heat to low, add 1⁄2 cup of the water, and cover immediately. Continue to cook, covered, until most of the water is absorbed and the wrappers are slightly translucent, about 10 minutes. Uncover the skillet, increase the heat to medium-high, and continue to cook, without stirring, until the dumpling bottoms are well browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes more. Slide the dumplings onto the paper towel-lined plate, browned side facing down, and let drain briefly. Transfer the dumplings to a serving platter and serve with scallion dipping sauce (see related recipe). Let the skillet cool until just warm, then wipe it clean with a wad of paper towels and repeat step 3 with the remaining dumplings, oil, and water.

Choosing the Right WrapTasters preferred the slightly chewy texture of gyoza-style wrappers to thinner wonton wrappers, but both styles produced terrific potstickers. Although we developed our recipe using round wrappers, square or rectangular wrappers can be used as well. Here's how to adjust filling amount and steaming time. Because the smaller wrappers yield more dumplings, you'll need to cook them in multiple batches. (For wrapping instructions, see instructions below.)

WRAPPER

  • Round gyoza (3 3/4 inches diameter), fill with 1 rounded tablespoon, steam for 10 minutes
  • Round wonton (3 3/4 inches diameter), fill with 1 rounded tablespoon, steam for 6 minutes
  • Square wonton (3 3/8 inches square), fill with 2 rounded teaspoons, steam for 6 minutes
  • Rectangular wonton (3 1/4 inches by 2 3/4 inches), fill with 1 rounded teaspoon, steam for 5 minutes

Technique

Wrapping Potstickers

The instructions below are for round wrappers, our preferred shape. If using square wrappers, fold diagonally into a triangle (step 2) and proceed with the recipe. For rectangular wrappers, fold in half lengthwise.

1. FILL: Place rounded tablespoon of filling in center of gyoza wrapper.

2. FOLD: After moistening edge of wrapper, fold it in half to make half-moon shape.

3. PINCH: With forefinger and thumb, pinch dumpling closed, pressing out any air pockets.

4. FLATTEN: Place dumpling on its side and press gently to flatten bottom.

Recipe Testing

Clearing the Air

During testing, we discovered that air left between wrapper and filling can cause "ballooning" during steaming, as the wrapper puffs up and away from the meat. The result? A messy first bite. Once we were mindful to press the air out before sealing the wrappers, our potstickers came out right every time.

PERFECT FIT

TOO MUCH AIR