I love pot stickers. Who doesn’t? Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know and love these little pan fried Japanese dumplings. They’re always the first thing we order when we’re at a Japanese restaurant, and they disappear in a flash. I get so excited when I see that fat stack of gyoza (Japanese for potsticker) wrappers in my fridge. That means I don’t have to order them in pathetic little bunches of 6 at a time. I don’t have to fight anyone for the last one. I can make a hundred pot stickers if I want to. I can fill them with whatever I want. I’m a happy camper.
Since I’ve already done CHICKEN GYOZA on the blog, I wanted to try something a little unusual. I considered a vegetable version, but I have to say I am usually underwhelmed by veggie potstickers. Not enough flavor, not satisfying enough to make a meal out of. And that’s my aim, to make a light spring dinner out of these for Grant and me. We’re still coming off the food overload of our week in Florida and we need to lighten things up for a while. Nothing does that better than Japanese food.
I chose to go with a filling of lightly poached salmon mixed with lots of zesty spring onions and fresh ginger. I wanted the filling to be clean and light, and taste like salmon, so I avoided unnecessary ingredients. I love the texture of these because it’s slightly chunky but at the same time super tender. In restaurants potsticker fillings are usually ground, and more dense. These are better, if I do say so myself.
Potstickers get their characteristic browned and crusty bottom after a short stint in a hot pan, and the rest of the dough goes all translucent as it steams for the last few minutes of cooking. You know they’re ready when you can start to see the pale pink of the salmon showing through the soft folds of dough.
The folding of the dumpling is much less complicated than you probably think. In fact you don’t have to do the traditional folding at all if you don’t want to. As long as you moisten the edges of the dough with a wet fingertip, it will stick together in whatever form you choose. Make a simple crescent shape if you want to. One side will get crusty and brown and the whole thing will steam to perfection, that’s all that matters.
If you want to be traditional and fold it the right way, here’s how— basically you spoon your filling on the round of dough, and then run a wet finger around the edge to moisten it. Fold the dough over the filling and pinch it right in the center top. Then begin to fold little pleats, 3 on each side, working towards the center, making the fold on the front edge of the dough only, pinching it together as you go. This creates the little pouch shape. Don’t stress about it, when you have it in front of you you’ll figure it out. Promise.
Anyway, the main point is that these babies are insanely good. The wasabi sauce packs a punch and is so pretty. A simple soy, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil sauce mixed to taste would be perfect, too. That’s usually the way you’ll get it in restaurants.
- round gyoza or potsticker wrappers (find them in the refrigerated section)
- 1/2 lb salmon, poached*
- 1 bunch (about 8) spring onions
- 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
- salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- peanut oil for sauteing
- sesame seeds and snipped chives for garnish (optional)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp grated ginger
- 2 to 3 tsp wasabi powder or paste
- 3 Tbsp lime juice
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- To make the sauce: Put all the ingredients in a small food processor and process until everything is mixed and the cilantro is finely ground. Taste to adjust the seasonings. Refrigerate until needed.
- Cut the salmon into a small dice and put in a bowl. Trim and thinly slice the spring onions, using the white part, and several inches of the tender green part. Add in the ginger, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix everything together, breaking up the salmon a little as you mix, but retain some texture, you don't want to grind it into a paste.
- Set out a small bowl of water next to your work area. Lay out a gyoza wrapper and place a small mound, about a teaspoon, of the salmon mix into the center. Dip your finger into the water and run it around the edge of the circle to dampen it. Fold the dough over the salmon and pinch it together at the center top.
- Make little pleats on either side of the center top, folding the dough toward the center and working with the front of the dumpling only, Pinch the dough together as you fold. This forms a little pouch.. If you have trouble with the folds, just pinch the dumpling together along the edges in a simple half moon shape.
- Heat a saute pan over medium high heat. Coat the bottom with oil and when the oil is hot, set the dumplings in the pan, flat bottom side down. You should hear a good sizzle when you put them in, if not, wait longer for the oil to get hotter.
- When the dumplings are a rich brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes, pour about 1/8 cup water into the pan and cover the pan tightly. Let the dumplings steam for another 2 minutes or so,
- Serve hot, with sauce on the side.
It can be a challenge to find round gyoza wrappers. They will be in the refrigerated section of the store along with wonton and spring roll wrappers. Ask the manager to order them for you if your store doesn't stock them. To lightly poach salmon I put the fillet in a saucepan and cover it with cold water. I slowly bring the water to a simmer, then I turn off the heat and cover the pan tightly. I let it sit for 20 minutes, and the salmon is perfectly poached. My Wasabi sauce recipe is from Betty Crocker.com. If you want to buy a ready made sauce, I like Kikkoman.