Berries andPie

baking, cooking, recipes, eating, and obsessing over food

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Chicken, Ginger, and Water Chestnut Chinese Dumplings or Potstickers


Warning - this is a REALLY long post

It's been a busy month. Hair-tearing-outering busy. With this in mind I can only think I was in a state of utter delerium when I thought "I can be a Daring Baker! Sign me up!" Shortly thereafter, I decided I could be a Daring Cook, too, and joined.

A thrill of excitement ran through me when I saw I had access to the Daring Cooks private forums, and i'm SO excited to participate in my first challenge! I've been watching the amazing work from the monthly challenges with curiosity for a few months now, and I'm overwhelmingly eager to participate!

My first Daring Cooks challenge is hosted by Jen of Use Real Butter, and is Chinese Dumplings/Potstickers. I nearly choked when I saw the announcement. Dumplings? Me? Make? What?

I decided to get it done and out of the way, but I was pleasantly surprised with the result. While I'm so not a pro (not nearly!) the dumplings were tasty and actually ok! This is entirely to do with excellent instructions as provided by the fabulous Jen.

The filling is easy, it just requires a bit of chopping. The real challenge here is making the dumpling wrappers. So not easy. But worth it. On my first attempt I didn't read Jen's post properly (or look at the photos closely enough), and I was pleating both sides of the dumpling together. Not a huge issue, but it made the process a lot trickier.

So, here are my steps for Chicken, Ginger, and Water Chestnut Chinese Dumplings or Potstickers

Makes 20-30, depending on the size


For the filling:
250g Chicken Mince
3 cabbage, leaves chopped finely/minced
1/4 cup (125g) water chestnuts, finely chopped/minced
2-3 spring onions, minced
1-1.5 tbspn chopped/minced fresh ginger (to taste)
2 tbspn corn flour/corn starch
1 1/2 tbspn soy sauce
1 tbspn sesame oil
I also included some Chinese chives, but these may be hard to come by. They look like long grass, and have a slight garlicy aftertaste. I found them at the markets, but you may find them in Asian grocers. I included about a 1/4 cup of these, minced.

For the wrappers:
2 cups (250g) of plain flour (you're much better off weighing this if you can)
1/2 cup of water


To make the wrappers:
I initially made these in a food processor, but found it a lot easier by hand.

Placed the flour in a large bowl, and create a well in the middle. Pour the water into the well. Using a fork, or your hands, mix together itill combined, then knead until just smooth. It is quite a dry dough, so it won't be like bread. It will be quite firm. Don't overknead the dough. It doesn't have yeast to put air back into it!

Put your dough to the side and cover with a damp cloth while you make your filling (for about 15 minutes).

The dough - dry and smooth, and not at all sticky.

To make the filling:
Time to get your hands dirty! Combine all your filling ingredients in a bowl, and mix thoroughly. That was hard, wasn't it?

The filling - chopped up and mixed.

Okies' here's where it gets tricky.

Get your dough, and shape it into a "flattened dome". You're aiming for a flat circle with a consistent thickness of about 1 inch throughout. Next up, cut 1 inch wide strips. From these 1 inch strips, cut off 1 inch pieces. These will be your wrappers. Cut these off as you work, not all upfront, or they'll stick back together anyhows.

Take one of your pieces of dough, and after covering the rest up with your damp cloth, shape a ball from the dough. On a well floured surface, flatten the ball with your hand, and using a rolling pin, roll out into a very thin, flat circle. The shape is important. As round as possible. Not splatter shaped! The dumpling wrapper should be a little thicker in the centre, but around the edges you're aiming for about 1mm.

ready to fold
The dumpling wrapper: rolled-out and ready to fold

Place a tablespoon of your filling in the centre of the dumpling wrapper. Using your fingers/chopsticks/psychic powers, shape into an oval (no need to be too pedantic here: near enough is good enough). Now fold your dumpling wrapper in half over the filling and join the edges in the middle. You now want to pleat the edges of the side of the wrapper closest to you. This is a simple enough idea, but it is very fiddly, and kind of hard to explain. You basically want to create about 3 pleats on the right, and 3 on the left, of the side of the wrap facing you, then fold the sides of the ends together to seal. Jen has a fantastic, and well photographed post on pleating/folding the dumpling wrappers on her blog, and you should definitely read this.

Once you have assembled your dumplings, it's time to cook them! I steamed mine the first time round, and made Potstickers (fried dumplings) the 2nd time round.

The dumpling all wrapped up and ready to cook. Yum!

To steam:
Place you dumplings in a steamer basket lined with cabbage leaves, or well greased, and steam for 6 minutes, then serve. Voila!

To fry (potstickers):
Heat 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil (not olive!) in a frying pan that you have a lid for, and add your dumplings, bottoms down. Fry until light brown on the bases, then, with lid in in hand, pour a 1/4 of a cup of water into the bottom of the pan all at once (please don't burn yourself!) and clamp the lid on immediately. Allow the dumplings to steam for about 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat and serve.

I made a dipping sauce of 2 parts soy sauce, 1/2 part white vinegar, 1 part Shaosin Wine, a few drops of sesame oil, and a bit of fresh minced garlic, which was great, but hubby used sweet chilli sauce from the bottle. I laughed at him for a bit, but it really wasn't bad and complimented the flavours well, so each his (and her) own!

All up, these are pretty time consuming, so not a weekday dinner. The dumplings were fantastic, though, and would make a great weekend meal, so set aside a couple of hours and have fun! I made these a second time round I liked them so much!



Jen advises that once the dumplings are assembled you can actualy freeze them for a couple of months, and second time round I did this. They're a fantastic, and essentially healthy, food that make a good stand-by lunch and are really quick to cook. To freeze them, put them on a baking tray, making sure they're not touching. Once they're hard (so the dough is not sticky), take them off the tray, and put them in a container or ziplock bag and keep for up to 2 months! Easy!


  1. This is a lovely post. Your dumplings and your photos are both lovely. I hope you have a wonderful day.

  2. "Actually okay"? Are you kidding? Your dumplings look awesome. I mean, the pleats both before and after cooking are perfect. I think you need to give yourself a little more credit, dear. Great job on the challenge. Way to go!

  3. As I look at more and more of the posts on this challenge, I think to myself how well the dumplings take light. Yours look and sound delicious.

  4. chook ginger and waterchest nuts WOW what a great filling and your dumplings like perfect to me and the end results so worth it - I made a lot (about 200) and froze them so good to have plenty on hand! This recipe really is a group recipe it is very calming making and filling the potstickers. WOnderful effort on your 1st Daring Cooks' Challenge hope you have many more happy experiences. Cheers Audax in Australia.

  5. Sorry chook is Aussie slang for chicken. Yours

  6. Love your pictures! Great job on the challenge.

  7. Your dumplings pleats look so nice! Great job on the challenge!

  8. If you call these OK, what's great? Your pleats are perfect, your filling sounds perfect, I wish I had gotten a chance to taste them.

  9. Everyone is correct. Your dumplings look marvelous. So...much more than "okay"! ;) I agree with your posts. Jen's great instructions made this experience so much easier. Much of my "dumpling anxiety" was taken care of by her careful direction. This was my first Daring Cooks challenge too. Loved it!

  10. LOVE your photos!! those dumplings looked stunning. Well done!

  11. I LOVE your ginger chicken filling, and your dumplings look fantastic, as do the photos. Lovely job all around!