Potstickers are real easy to make. Part pan fried, part steamed, the dumplings have a crisp base and a soft top. In this recipe, we have filled the dumplings with crabmeat and chives, but you can also fill the dumplings with pork or chicken, or just a mushroom medley.
The aromatic dipping sauce (adapted from Fuchsia Dunlop’s “Land of Plenty”) is a full flavored sauce that stirs up all your tastebuds – sweet, sour, salty, hot and the numbing, tingling and buzzing feel of Sichuan peppercorns.
Chef’s tip: It is important that the seams are tighly sealed so that the steam is trapped to cook the filling. In addition, when you pour the water into the pan, drizzle in a little at a time and never soak the dumplings. We want steamed dumplings, not boiled!
Aromatic Soy Sauce:
1 inch ginger, crushed
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 whole star anise
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn
Cheese cloth with kitchen twine
1 cinnamon stick
½ cup dark soy sauce
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup water
6 Tablespoons sweet, aromatic soy sauce
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon chili oil
1 Tablespoon Sichuan peppercorn oil
1 Tablespoon Chinkiang vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ginger juice
2 Tablespoons cold water
1 lb fresh crabmeat (from 1 large 2½ pound cooked Dungeness crab)
1 egg white
4 Tablespoons chives, chopped finely
2 Tablespoons cilantro leaves and stems, minced
2 Tablespoons carrot, grated
2 Tablespoons water chestnut, chopped finely
1 Tablespoon ginger, grated
1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
½ teaspoon kosher salt
30 wonton wrappers, preferably square
1 Tablespoon cornstarch for dusting
½ cup water for brushing
2 Tablespoons peanut oil
Black sesame seeds, toasted
Preparing the sauce
1. To make the aromatic soy sauce, place ginger, fennel, star anise, and Sichuan peppercorn in a cheesecloth and bundle tightly together with kitchen twine. Place spice bag with cinnamon, dark soy sauce, brown sugar and water in a small pot, bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove all spices. The sauce can be kept for 6 months in a glass jar without refrigeration.
2. To make the dipping sauce, mix all dipping sauce ingredients (aromatic soy, soy, chili oil, peppercorn oil, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger juice and water) together. Set aside.
Preparing the dumplings
3. Pick over the crabmeat to remove any bits of shells. Mix all filling ingredients (crabmeat, egg white, chives, cilantro, carrot, water chestnut, ginger, vinegar, sesame seeds, salt) together.
4. On a lightly floured surface, brush edges of the wonton wrapper with a little water (just slightly damp). Mound about 1 Tablespoon of the filling in the center of each wrapper. If using square wonton skins, gather four corners of each wrapper and seal into a point. If using round skins, fold into a half moon, and make three small pleats over the top piece of the skin and press to seal. Make sure seams are well-sealed and place on a tray dusted with cornstarch.
Frying the dumplings
5. In a large nonstick pan, heat 1 Tablespoon oil over medium heat until hot. Place pot stickers leaving ½ inch space between them. Fry until undersides are lightly golden, about 1 min.
6. Slowly drizzle ¼ cup water down the side of pan. Water should barely cover the pan, and not soak the dumplings. Cover pan and steam pot stickers over moderately low heat until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove lid and cook pot stickers until water is evaporated, and wonton skin is translucent. Add more water if skin is not translucent and repeat the process
7. Sprinkle dumplings with black sesame seeds and serve with dipping sauce
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