Our easy pot stickers recipe makes crispy Chinese fried dumplings with homemade wrappers and a savoury ground chicken and vegetable filling. First fried until crunchy then quickly steamed in the wok, they’re super-easy to make – can’t beat homemade – and also versatile: fill them with minced pork and vegetables or just vegetables. Fry them one side or both, even skip the steaming.
This easy chicken pot stickers recipe for Chinese dumplings filled with savoury chicken mince and vegetables makes a dumpling that is first fried then steamed to make a dumpling that is both delightfully crunchy and has a moist flavourful filling.
The homemade wrappers are a cinch to prepare and it’s hard to beat homemade dough when it comes to pot stickers – or any Chinese dumplings, or any dumplings, for that matter – however, you could use store-bought wrappers if you’re short on time.
I personally prefer to wait to make these until Terence and I have more time to enjoy the process – it’s much more fun to make dumplings with loved-ones – and we can put some jazz on and open a bottle of wine and enjoy our dumpling-making.
If you’re a dumpling lover, these Cambodian-Chinese pork and chive dumplings are also fantastic and easy to make.
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Pot Stickers Recipe for Easy Homemade Chinese Fried Dumplings with Chicken and Vegetables
The term ‘pot sticker’ was invented by the Chinese authors of the first systematic English language Chinese cookbook, How to Cook and Eat in Chinese, published in 1945. Written by Chao Yang Buwei (Zhao Yang Buwei; 1889–1981) and her Harvard-educated linguist husband Chao Yuenren (Zhao Yuanren; 1892–1982), the cookbook provided an incredibly entertaining introduction to Chinese food and Chinese foodways that would become enormously influential.
Although I have to confess that I didn’t come across the term ‘pot sticker’ until the 1990s when I began researching and writing on food, and researching Chinese cuisines, including Chinese-Australian food and Chinese-American food. The impetus was my first paid story commission: a small boxed text on dim sum for a Sydney guide that took me an embarrassingly amount of time to write.
Chinese dumplings were Chinese dumplings to this Australian kid of part Russian heritage, who grew up in the 1970s in Sydney’s western suburbs, where her parents took her out for a Chinese dinner to our favourite neighbourhood Chinese restaurant every Thursday evening – after ‘late-night shopping’. Shops were closed on other nights and on weekends back in those days when people had their priorities right.
There were no pot stickers in the Chinese-Australian restaurants we dined at. Menus listed dumplings and wontons and we knew the distinction. But when I eventually came across the term ‘pot sticker’ a few decades later – after we’d travelled to China and learnt about jiaozi, gaau ji, guotie, guo tie, and wor tip. Pot sticker kind of stuck. Then I discovered the fascinating history of pot stickers and learnt about the extraordinary Chinese couple who coined that term.
I’ll tell you more about the couple and their groundbreaking cookbook in my next post on stir-frying – another term they invented. For now, just a few tips to making this easy homemade pot stickers recipe for crispy Chinese fried dumplings with chicken and vegetables.
Tips to Making this Easy Homemade Pot Stickers Recipe for Crispy Chinese Fried Dumplings with Chicken and Vegetables
I only have a handful of tips to making this easy homemade chicken and vegetable pot stickers recipe for crunchy Chinese dumplings that are fried and steamed.
Firstly, let’s talk about the pot sticker dough casings or wrappings or wrappers or whatever you wish to call them. Sure, you could save a lot of time by using store-bought dumpling wrappers, but if you’re going to do that, you may as well just buy the frozen pot-stickers, right? Where’s the fun in that?
For me, what makes these Chinese pot stickers so delicious and so satisfying is that they’re completely homemade and I have to say that I find the process of making pot stickers from scratch somewhat therapeutic, and even fun when you recruit a dumpling-making partner.
Making the dough is easy, you just need to allow an hour for the dough to rest, so start it an hour before you’re going to gather your loved-ones around and start wrapping and filling, because once you do that, you need to fry the dumplings and then eat them immediately.
As I say in the recipe below, a lot of recipes bewilderingly call for a skillet or fry pan, but we use a wok – a big round flat-bottomed wok with a glass lid – which we use for almost everything here in Cambodia, even Italian food.
The seasoning of soy sauces, Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, and sugar is a fairly classic pot-sticker filling seasoning. You probably won’t need salt, but I actually add salt, although I didn’t include it in the recipe. I also adore white pepper, hence that addition. I’ve added fish sauce before, because I’m addicted to the stuff, but not to this recipe because I wanted to provide a fairly classic recipe.
This is a very versatile recipe. You could also use ground duck instead of ground chicken, or lamb mince, or ground pork, or beef mince, or a combination of ground beef and pork. You can make a vegetarian or vegan pot sticker. Bean sprouts are a great addition for instance.
Traditionally, these pot stickers are only fried on one side and then steamed, however, as we discovered in China, particularly in Beijing, it’s perfectly acceptable to fry them on both sides. There’s also an infinite array of fillings beyond the classic pot sticker fillings, so don’t feel restricted and do get creative.
Whatever you fill your pot stickers with and whether you fry both sides or not, it’s important to serve them immediately and serve them with your favourite dipping sauces, don’t feel that you need to follow traditions.
We love to eat our pot stickers with our homemade Sichuan red chilli oil and homemade Sriracha sauce, but you could also buy Sichuan-style chilli oil and whatever kind of Sriracha you can get your hands on.
And as I mention in the recipe, below, if you happen to have any leftover pot sticker filling (sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t) it can be frozen or combined with noodles or rice to make a fantastic fried noodles or fried rice.
Pot Stickers Recipe for Homemade Chinese Fried Dumplings
- 200 g plain flour
- 200 ml water
- 5 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 small onion - around 180 g, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic - finely chopped
- ½ head white/green cabbage - around 300 g, shredded
- 150 g carrot - grated
- 120 g shiitake mushrooms - finely chopped
- 450 g ground chicken
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp sugar
- To make the pot sticker wrappings: in a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and water and knead the dough for about 5 minutes (don’t worry about lumps) then cover the bowl with a damp cloth and rest for one hour.
- To make the pot sticker filling: in a big round flat-bottomed wok (with glass lid) over medium heat, heat two tablespoons oil and fry the onion until soft and translucent, add the garlic and fry until fragrant, then add the shredded cabbage, grated carrot and finely chopped mushrooms, and stir well to combine for five minutes or so. Pop the lid on and cook for another 5 minutes until the cabbage and carrot are soft, stirring occasionally if needed.
- Transfer the pot sticker filling to a large mixing bowl, then add the ground chicken, soy sauces, Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, white pepper, sugar, and one tablespoon of oil, and using a pair of large chopsticks, stir the filling in one direction for about five minutes or so until it takes on a paste-like texture. Refrigerate until needed.
- To make the pot stickers: sprinkle a little flour on your kitchen work surface and a tray, then divide the ball of dough in two or four equal pieces (depending how large your work space is), roll out one piece (keep the other piece/s in the bowl, covered with the damp cloth) and use a 7cm pastry ring to cut out circles, rolling up whatever dough scraps are left into a small ball, which you can join to the large ball of dough.
- Holding a pastry round in one hand, scoop a heaped teaspoon of pot sticker filling onto the centre of the circle, then pull one side over to join the other side then press the rims together, or if you like fold the edge of the dough to create a pleating pattern.
- Place the finished dumpling on the floured tray, bottom down, pleated rim up, pressing it a little to create a flattish bottom, then repeat until you’ve filled all rounds, then do the same with the other piece(s) of dough until you’ve finished the dough.
- To cook the pot stickers: in a clean flat round-bottomed wok, over medium heat, heat two tablespoons of oil, and, working quickly, brush any excess flour off the dumpling bottoms and use a fish slice to transfer 8 dumplings, one at a time, into the wok, bottom down, ensuring they’re not touching and there’s room to turn them.
- Fry the pot stickers until the bottoms are crispy and golden brown (taking care not to let them burn), then work quickly with tongs to turn each dumpling over onto its side, one at a time, to fry one side. Once done, you have a choice of steaming them immediately and thus leaving one side of each dumpling un-fried – or, you could do as I like to do for crunchier pot stickers and fry the second side before steaming.
- To steam the pot stickers: slip on some oven mitts, stand back a little, hold the wok lid up so as to shield yourself from any splutter, add 90 ml/3 oz of water to the wok, then quickly put the lid on the wok to steam the dumplings. When you can see that the water has steamed off, uncover, continue to fry for a minute then transfer the dumplings to a rack. Repeat until you’ve cooked all dumplings.
- Serve immediately with your favourite dipping sauces, hot sauces and chilli oil.
- Note: any leftover pot sticker filling can be frozen or is fantastic stir-fried with noodles or rice.
Please do let us know if you make our easy Chinese pot stickers recipe as we’d love to know how it turns out for you.