Pork and cabbage potstickers are not too difficult to make. Once you cook fresh potstickers at home, you’ll want to make them all the time. There is nothing like biting into a dumpling with a juicy filling and crispy bottoms!
Up until my sophomore year of high school, I attended Chinese school every Saturday morning in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Each class was an excruciating three hours long with a few short recesses sprinkled in between. I often walked to the dim sum shops next door during recess to buy snacks like pork and cabbage potstickers. Eating them somehow made class go by a lot faster. That’s why I have a strong affinity for these dumplings.
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST PORK POTSTICKERS
You have a choice between making fresh wrappers (or dumpling skins) or buying them from an Asian supermarket. If you want to make homemade dumpling wrappers, try my recipe here.
Rolling out 30 something dumpling wrappers and then filling and pleating them can be a daunting task, even for me. That’s why I use store-bought wrappers often because it saves a few hours of my time. (See the photo above for the brand that I typically use.)
For potstickers, you want to look for wrappers that are slightly thicker. These dumplings need to withstand the heat of pan frying and hot steam, so thicker wrappers are better suited for the task. You can usually find dumpling wrappers in the refrigerated sections of Asian supermarkets (often times near the tofu section). Gyoza wrappers work as well.
ACHIEVING JUICY & TENDER PORK FILLING
Stirring ground pork with starch and water for several minutes makes the meat more tender. I started doing this last year, and I have noticed the texture is better than when I do nothing to the meat.
Typically, I stir the meat with tapioca starch, but cornstarch or potato starch works as well. When your stir the meat with the starch and water for a few minutes, you’ll start to notice that the meat turns into a paste-like consistency. That’s exactly what you want.
DUMPLING PLEATING METHOD
For these potstickers, I chose a pleating method where the pleats move towards the center, creating an inverted “v” shape in the middle (refer to photos above). It is not necessary to pleat them this way—I merely did this for aesthetic reasons. (Watch video at the top of the post or recipe card for a demonstration.)
This method of pleating is a lot easier with fresh wrappers because you can seal the dumplings without water. It is more difficult with wet wrappers because the wrapper constantly sticks to your fingers as you pleat.
The first step is to fold the dumpling in half, as if you were making a taco. Pinch the wrapper together in the center. The rest of the dumplings are not sealed yet except for the small pinch that you made at the center.
Next, you’ll be creating pleats with the side of the dumpling that’s facing you.
Start by creating pleats to the left of the pinched center. Use your index finger and thumb to gather dough to make a pleat towards the right. Then, press it down to seal. Once the pleat is sealed, move along the left of the dumpling wrapper and continue creating and sealing pleats towards the right. I made 4 pleats on this side of the dumpling.
Once you are done on the left, repeat the same thing on the right. This time, you’ll seal the pleats to the left. To create the pretty “v” shape, I made sure that the first pleat on the right side completely overlapped the first pleat I made on the left side. Keep moving along the dumpling wrapper until you have finished sealing the entire dumpling. I made 4 pleats for this side as well. Be sure to seal the dumplings completely so that it doesn’t pop open as they cook.
Again, if this pleat seems complicated, skip it. You can also try my alternate pleating techniques, which you can find here and here.
GETTING CRISPY BOTTOMS ON YOUR DUMPLINGS
I love my potstickers super crispy and deep brown on the bottom. The best way to get your potstickers this way is to pan fry them for 2 to 3 minutes, until the potstickers are golden on the bottom. Then, pour water into the pan and cover the pan with a lid to steam. After 5 to 6 minutes of steaming, you should see the beautiful golden color on the bottoms of the dumplings.
If you like boiling dumplings before pan frying, you probably won’t get the same kind of crispy bottoms because of all the moisture in the dumplings.
Freeze dumplings in a single layer for several hours. Make sure that the dumplings do not touch each other, as they can get stuck together once frozen. I like to line my plates with parchment paper so that the frozen dumplings don’t stick to the plate. See my how to freeze dumplings post for all my tips on this topic.
MORE DUMPLING RECIPES
- Cantonese Shumai
- Vegetable Potstickers
- Red Curry Wontons with Zucchini Noodles
- Curried Potato Fried Dumplings
- You can also visit my complete dumpling archives here.
Pork and Cabbage Potstickers
- 1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped green cabbage
- 2 tablespoons minced ginger
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 pound 80% lean ground pork, see note 1
- 2 teaspoons tapioca starch
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 35 to 40 round dumpling wrappers, see note 2
Cooking Dumplings (1 Batch of 15 to 17 dumplings)
- 2 tablespoons peanut, canola, or vegetable oil, any neutral oil works
- 1/4 cup water
Prepare the Filling
- Heat the peanut or canola oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the cabbage, ginger, garlic, and scallions. Cook everything for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt and stir. Turn off the heat and transfer the vegetables to a plate to cool for 10 minutes (see note 4).
- Place the ground pork in a large bowl. Add the tapioca starch and water. Using chopsticks or a wooden spoon, stir the ingredients together for several minutes. After about a minute, you should hear squishing sounds and the meat should become more paste-like.
- Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and sugar to the bowl. Stir for about a minute to incorporate all the ingredients. Pour the vegetables into the bowl with the meat and stir together.
Prepare the Dumpling-Making Station
- If you are using store-bought wrappers, fill a small bowl with water for wrapping and sealing the dumplings. If you are using fresh dumpling wrappers, cover the wrappers with a dry cloth or a layer of plastic wrap to keep them from drying out.
- Grab a baking sheet for the finished dumplings and a towel to cover the sealed dumplings to keep them from drying. Get a spoon for scooping the dumpling filling.
Making the Dumplings
- If you are using store-bought wrappers: Dip the dumpling wrapper into the bowl of water. Rotate the wrapper so that 3/4 of the wrapper is wet, creating a wet border about 1/4 to 1/2-inch wide. Lay the wrapper on your left hand, the wet side facing you. Place about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling into the center of the wrapper (you may use more or less depending on the size of your dumpling wrapper).
- If you are using fresh wrappers: Add the filling to the center of the wrapper. You do not need to moisten the edges.
- For the “v” shape pleating method (see video below for demonstration): Start folding up the dumpling like a taco, and pinch together the wrapper in the center (the left and right sides of the dumpling are not sealed). You will be creating pleats on the side of the wrapper that is facing you.
- Start creating pleats to the left of this center pinch. Use your index finger and thumb to gather a pleat and seal it to the right. Continue gathering dough and sealing pleats to the right until you reach the end. Use the photos in the blog post as a reference.
- After the left side is finished, continue with the right side. Gather up dough to the right of the center pinch and seal the pleat towards the left. I like overlapping this pleat with the first pleat you made on the other side to create a “v” shape in the center of the dumpling (see photos in post for reference). Continue creating and sealing the pleats to the left until you reach the end.
- Place the finished dumpling on the sheet pan and cover it with a towel. Continue wrapping and pleating the remaining dumplings until there is no filling left.
Cook the Dumplings
- Heat a well-seasoned large cast iron skillet or large nonstick pan with 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Arrange the dumplings over the pan. I usually cook about 15 to 17 dumplings at a time. Pan fry the dumplings for 2 to 3 minutes, until the bottoms are golden brown.
- Next, hold the pan lid with one hand and pour about 1/4 cup of water into the pan with your other hand. You want just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. When the water comes in contact with the hot oil, there will be a lot of splattering, so use the lid of the pan as a shield. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes.
- Uncover the pan and let the dumplings cook for another minute, until the water is evaporated.
- Transfer the cooked dumplings to a plate.
- Repeat this entire cooking process if you want to cook the remaining dumplings. If you want to cook the dumplings later, freeze them. Refer to this post for more tips on freezing dumplings.
- The potstickers are great with my soy and vinegar dumpling sauce or sweet chili sauce!
- I think ground pork with more fat content makes juicier, more tender filling. If you can only find 90% or 95% lean ground pork, add about a tablespoon of peanut or canola oil to the filling.
- If you are making dumpling wrappers from scratch, you want each wrapper to be somewhere between 14g to 16g. Roll them out into a circle that is about 3 1/2 inches in diameter.
- I like cooking the cabbage and aromatics for a few minutes because I think it helps to release some flavor and it softens the cabbage. Some people don’t bother with this step, and that’s perfectly fine.
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