Hearty Homemade Pot Stickers


I should preface this post with saying that I'm not a professional pot sticker-maker.  Actually, this was my first time.  I was staring at a bag of frozen pot stickers from Costco, and looking at my bag of freshly milled flour from Sonrisa Farm, and thought to myself, "I could do this...and I bet it would be better because it's fresh, whole-wheat, and full of local goodies." So I gave it a whirl.  I was surprised at how easy it is to make homemade pot stickers, and in case I miss the convenience of pulling them out of the freezer for a quick meal: This recipe made enough for filling our bellies and the freezer.

Filling: 1 lb ground pork, chicken, or pressed tofu 1 head of napa cabbage 1 bunch green onions, chopped 1-2 tbs grated fresh ginger 6 garlic cloves, minced 1 Tbs toasted sesame oil 1 Tbs soy sauce 1 Tbs Mirin (or can use honey and rice vinegar) 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Dough: 1 lb (3 cups) Sonrisa Farm stone ground whole wheat flour 1 tsp salt (optional) 1 cup warm water

Sauce: 1 recipe for Teriyaki Marinade and Stir Fry Sauce (or make a simple dipping sauce with rice vinegar, honey, soy sauce and garlic)

Method: Wash and thinly slice the napa cabbage.  Place in a bowl and salt generously to draw out the moisture.  Let stand for about 15 minutes. When the cabbage has wilted, squeeze out the moisture (you can use your hands or wrap it in cheesecloth or strong paper towels).  Place the cabbage in a large bowl with the ground meat or tofu and the remaining ingredients.  Mix well with your hands so the ingredients are thoroughly combined.  If you want to test the mixture for flavor balance beforehand (which I recommend, because the strength of your ginger and garlic can vary), cook a spoonful of the mixture in oil or water for about 5 minutes.  Adjust seasonings to the filling as necessary. Cover and refrigerate until the dough is ready.

To prepare the dough, mix the salt into the flour and slowly add the warm water while stirring with a fork.  When the ingredients are combined the dough will feel quite firm (harder than a pizza dough, softer than pasta dough).  Let rest for 10 minutes.  Then begin to knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until the texture is uniform.  Pinch off one-inch cube pieces of dough (or less if you want smaller pot stickers), roll into a firm ball and set aside until you have portioned out all of the dough.  With a rolling pin, flatten and turn the dough until you have made a circle a bit larger than the palm of your hand.  It may stick to your rolling pin a bit, but should peel off easily.  You can use a little flour for dusting the board and pin, but be careful to not use too much or the pot stickers may not seal easily.  If you have someone to help with the filling and sealing, the process can go quite quickly.

Put a spoon or two of the filling in the center of the disc of dough and stretch the dough around the filling and pinch the sides together across the top.  Place the pot stickers in a heated, well-oiled, non-stick skillet with enough water to cover the bottoms of the pot stickers by about 1/3.  Cover with a lid and steam for 15 minutes. Serve with Teriyaki sauce or a simple dipping sauce.  If you want to freeze extras, place the uncooked pot stickers on a baking sheet covered with waxed or parchment paper and freeze.  Once frozen, place in a freezer-proof bag or container.  Cook as directed above.