Pork potsticker is a Spring Festival dish on our dinner table. Compared with boiled dumplings, we love the crispy bottoms. And one of my favorite serving ways is to match it with a spicy and savory dipping sauce.
In addition to those pork, cabbage, and carrot filling, you can also choose to make a pork and chive filling.
What are potstickers?
Potsticks are also known as guotie in China. They’re crescent-shaped Chinese dumplings filled with minced meat, vegetables, and aromatic flavorings. Pork and ginger is a popular combination and you can expect to find vegetables like green onion, carrot, and cabbage inside. Seasonings include soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and oyster sauce.
What sets them apart from other dumplings including boiled dumplings or steamed dumplings is that they’re pan-fried and crispy on one side.
Here are just some of the reasons I love potstickers:
- Texture: Nothing beats biting into a soft potsticker and hearing the crunch of the pan-fried bottom. It’s the perfect combination.
- Filling: The filling is typically always juicy and flavorful. In this instance, we have tender pork paired with chopped vegetables and seasonings like soy sauce, oyster sauce, ginger, and sesame oil.
- Easy to make at home: The number of ingredients might scare you away from this recipe. But I promise it’s easy to make and besides the pork and vegetables, I bet you have a lot of them in your kitchen already.
Step by Step Instructions
Prepare the cabbage
In a separate bowl, add the chopped cabbage and combine it with 2 teaspoons of salt. Place the shredded cabbage in a bowl filled with water and then pick up handfuls and squeeze out the water. Add these handfuls directly to the pork mixture.
Prepare the filling
You can choose to chop the pork by hand or use minced pork. Transfer the pork filling into a larger bowl so we can mix it quickly.
Make the scallion and ginger water
In a separate mixing bowl, add the white scallion and ginger, along with the 4 tablespoons of warm water. Mix quickly before letting that rest.
Add water to the filling
Add two tablespoons of water to the pork and mix until the pork absorbs the water completely. Repeat this process twice. This step can make the filling juicy and tender after cooked.
Seasoning the filling
Once it’s mixed, add salt, ground white pepper, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and egg to the bowl. Mix ingredients until combined and the pork filling becomes sticky.
Add chopped scallion (green onion) and boiling oil to the mixing bowl next. We can enhance the flavor greatly via this step, making the aroma combine well with the pork filling.
Mix in vegetables, carrots, and cabbage.
Assemble the pork potstickers one by one and then place them in a non-stick pan. You can shape it in whatever shape you want. For detailed guidelines about how to fold dumplings, check this instruction where I included ten ways of folding dumplings and potstickers.
Add around 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a non-stick pan, swirl around, then place the potstickers one by one.
Start with the middle fire and let the pork potstickers stay for a while. You can move them around for an even heat.
Add hot water along the edges of the pan, so the top part of the potsticker can be cooked via the vapor with a lid covered.
Re-heat the potsticker without the lid until the bottom becomes hardened and crispy again.
Fancy Spicy dipping sauce
Usually, we will match potsticker with a lovely dipping sauce, either vinegar with ginger sauce or chili sauce.
Now, let's make a super easy, delicious, aromatic, spicy dipping sauce.
In a small bowl, add red pepper flakes, toasted sesame seeds, garlic, ginger and chopped scallion.
Pour in around 2 tablespoons of smoky hot oil. Then add light soy sauce, oyster sauce, and black vinegar. Mix well. This is our dipping sauce
What to serve with pork potstickers
Pork potsticker is crispy and dry and the following are some of our best recommendations to serve with.
Pork Potsticker with a Chili Dipping Sauce
- 60 dumpling wrappers
- 2 tbsp. cooking oil for pan-frying the pork potsticker
- 3 cups cabbage
- 2 tsp. salt
- ¼ carrot chopped
- 4 tbsp. warm water
- 600 g pork with at least 30% fat
- 1 thumb ginger
- 3 scallion white
- 4 tbsp. warm water
- 2 tbsp. light soy sauce
- 1 tsp. oyster sauce
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground white pepper
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- ¼ cup chopped scallion
Dipping sauce ingredients
- 1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- 1 tbsp. chopped scallion
- 2 tbsp. hot boiling oil
- 1 tsp. oyster sauce
- 1 tsp. black vinegar
- 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. water
Prepare the cabbage
- In a separate bowl, add the chopped cabbage and combine it with 2 teaspoons of salt.
- Place the shredded cabbage in a bowl filled with water and then pick up handfuls and squeeze out the water. Add these handfuls directly to the pork mixture.
Pork Potsticker Filling
- Give your ground pork a chop before adding it to a mixing bowl.
- In a separate mixing bowl, add the white scallion and ginger, along with the 4 tablespoons of warm water. Mix quickly before letting that rest.
- Add two tablespoons of water to the pork and mix to loosen it up.
- Repeat this process, but instead, I recommend using your gloved hand to really mix the water and pork together.
- Once it’s mixed, add salt, ground white pepper, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and egg to the bowl. Mix ingredients together until combined.
- Add chopped scallion (green onion) and boiling hot oil to the mixing bowl next.
- Add the chopped carrot and mix the cabbage into the pork.
Assemble the potsticker
- Place a tablespoon of the potsticker mixture into the middle of a dumpling wrapper.
- Dip your finger into water and then rub this along one edge. Press the wet and non-wet sides together to seal the dumpling. Watch the video to see how I make the pleated edges.
Pan fry the Pork Potsticker
- Add your potstickers to an oiled skillet in a single layer.
- Once the potstickers are golden brown on one side (usually this only takes 2 to 3 minutes), add ¼ cup of water to the skillet and place the lid on top to steam them for a further 3 to 4 minutes.
- When the dumpling wrapper becomes harden and crispy again, you can remove the potstickers from the skillet.
Prepare the dipping sauce.
- To make the dipping sauce, place the first 5 dry ingredients (chili pepper flakes, sesame seeds, garlic, ginger and scallion) in a bowl and mix them together.
- Pour smoky hot oil on top. Then add the remaining 4 ingredients and mix together once more. Dip your pork potsticker into the dipping sauce and enjoy!
Are potstickers fried or steamed?
Potstickers are both pan-fried and steamed. It’s a technique called “steam frying”.
If you make potstickers with freshly held ones, then simply pan-frying until the bottom becomes crispy and golden. Then we add some hot water and cover the lid to cook the remaining part of the potstickers with vapor - that's a type of steaming.
- In the States, dumpling wrappers are found in the refrigerated section of Asian supermarkets. As mentioned, they’re the same as gyoza, so you can use gyoza wrappers instead. Otherwise, make fresh dumpling wrappers at home.
- Once you add the water to the skillet, it’s going to spit at you. So have the lid ready to go in your other hand.
- Other common vegetables to add to potstickers include chopped celery and chopped Shiitake mushrooms.
- Besides oyster sauce, you can use teriyaki sauce or hoisin sauce in the potsticker filling.
- If you don’t want to make the homemade dipping sauce, you can just serve the potstickers with soy sauce if you like. This is what commonly accompanies them in Chinese restaurants.
What’s the difference between potstickers, dumplings, and wontons?
Potstickers, dumplings, and wontons are all popular Chinese street food options. I already have a comprehensive guide to the differences. But here’s a recap: potstickers are a type of dumpling. They include a thicker wrapper with pleated edges, while wontons use a thinner wrapper. Wontons are also typically square or round and the filling doesn’t include vegetables, just meat and seasonings.
As for the cooking style, wontons are boiled and fried, while dumplings are pan-fried and then steamed. Wontons are also most commonly served in soup or noodles, while you’ll find potstickers and dumplings served solo with a dipping sauce.
Can you freeze those potstickers?
Yes, you can freeze cooked and uncooked dumplings. I recommend freezing them uncooked as they’ll last longer (3 months compared to 4 weeks for cooked dumplings). Freeze them on a lined baking sheet in a single layer, otherwise, they’ll stick together. After several hours, you can place the frozen dumplings in a freezer-safe container or ziplock bag.
Next time you feel like some pork potstickers, I hope you try this homemade recipe! The dipping sauce just makes them that extra bit delicious.