Making Homemade Chicken Potstickers With Sweet Chili Soy Sauce
April 18, 2020 - By Alex Eady
As the years go on, I find myself more and more obsessed with asian cuisine. The unique flavor combinations and textures make staples like sushi, dumplings and rice dishes my favorite kind of meals. Though I love this type of food, I usually stick to restaurant takeout rather than trying to recreate a knock-off version of a dish in my kitchen. Now more than ever, I'm longing for my favorite authentic asian dishes now that this period of quarantine has begun. Wanting to step out of my cooking comfort zone, I hopped on Pinterest to browse recipes for something I've been craving recently- potstickers.
What Is a Potsticker?
Not to be confused with a wonton, baozi, or any other steamed or boiled dumpling, potstickers are a Chinese, pan-fried dumpling identified by their signature crispy bottom. They are most typically filled with pork or chicken.
The main reason this recipe caught my eye was how simple and easy it seemed to make. Like anything from scratch, homemade dumpling dough seems pretty intimidating, but as I read the recipe, I found I only needed a few simple ingredients which I already had in my kitchen. For the potsticker filling and garnish, I had to grab a few other ingredients, like ginger paste, sesame seeds, soy sauce and green onions.
Following the recipe step-by-step, I began with making my dough. Continue reading below for a few tips I learned in the cooking process.
TIP #1: Generously flour your tabletop and continually add flour to your mixture to avoid sticky dough. My toughest challenge when rolling out my dough was it being too tacky and it either sticking to my rolling pin or to my (sanitized) tabletop. Avoid this by sprinkling plenty of flour onto your dough and table between kneading.
TIP #2: Let your dough rest! Cooling it in the fridge for about an hour prior to rolling it out makes the dough much easier to work with. I missed this very important step and ended up rolling out my dough twice. Overworking your dough can give it a gummy texture once cooked- the opposite of the the thin and crispy texture you should aim for.
TIP #3: Choose a way to seal your potstickers that's easiest for you.
As you may know, these dumplings are sealed with water along their edges and pleated before they're pan-fried. There's many styles in which you can seal them and in true overachiever fashion, I wanted to do the most intricate style of pleating although I had no experience. My advice is to stick to a simple pleat to avoid frustration and ending up with potstickers that look deformed. (Not pictured) Take a look at this how-to video I referenced to learn how to pleat my potstickers.
TIP #4: Only add a thin layer of Canola oil to your frying pan to avoid them being too saturated and soggy. To cook them, you'll first sear them on their flat side until crispy brown. To finish them off, the instructions call for about 1/4 cup of water to be added in the pan WITH the oil, and covered immediately. The idea is to steam the potstickers through for the last few minutes to finish cooking. The concept of adding water to hot oil sounded strange and dangerous, but I trusted it. My advice: having minimal oil in the pan allows for less popping. Reduce your heat to low, have your lid ready and cover them quick to trap in the steam! Remove them from the pan after about 5 minutes.
Though this recipe was fun to make, this honestly took me hours to complete from start to finish. Nonetheless, I loved the process and the chance to try something new and completely out of my comfort zone. Through all of my cooking mistakes, I still yielded about 15 delicious potstickers that were flavorful and filling. Plus, my homemade sweet chili soy sauce was the icing on the cake. Aside from hiccups in the dough texture, I was surprised at how close my version came to some of my favorite dishes made by the pros. I'm a ways away from becoming an expert, but I'm excited to try this recipe again as I keep trying my hand at cooking asian cuisine.
I’ve been trying to find new ways to constantly renew myself during this quarantine. From new routines, to trying new recipes, I'm doing my best to find new avenues within myself to explore. Although it may feel like we're all a bit stuck, I'm grateful this time has brought me closer to my new happy place: the kitchen. Leave a comment if this might be a new recipe you're inspired to make!
Be sure to check out the original recipe I followed!