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Apr 15, 2007 10:11 AM

Potsticker cooking assistance

Inspired by Pei's sexy potsticker photo (, I have been trying to replicate this at home. I have very nice dumplings from a local restaurant, so I should be able to at least get somewhat decent results, but so far not so much.

The first time I cooked them in oil, added water, covered and steamed. Then I realized that I'd probably added too much water and it wasn't ever going to evaporate with the cover on. I took off the lid after 10 minutes or so and let the water boil off (which took maybe another 10 minutes?). Eventually it all boiled off and I ended up with a superthin layer of goo, which crisped up somewhat, but not enough.

The second time I added less water, but it still didn't go down much at all with the cover on. About how long should the cover-on phase of cooking last? I know this isn't an exact thing, but even just a really rough estimate would be a big help (like, 5 minutes? 30?). Anyway, I once again gave up and took the cover off with still quite a bit of water left. This time I tried boiling it off over lower heat (the first time I had the heat fairly high since otherwise it would've taken all night to get rid of all that water), but it seems like this worked even less well since this time I didn't even get a thin layer of goo. Where is my starchy goo?

Any ideas?

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  1. depending how large 3-5 minutes. I like the upper end tho. Add a thin amount and watch. You can always add more, you are looking for steam not boil.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jfood

      I use a non stick pan. put oil in it (couple of table spoons). heat until the oil shimmers. Put dumplings in (can be fresh or frozen rock hard). I then add water and cover (if fresh 3 to 5 covered on medium high) (if frozen about 10 minutes medium high). I add about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of water. Cover and cook. I don't actually keep time but I know when it is done when I can feel the wrapping (also take a piece off the top to see if the dough has a cooked taste). then take the cover off and let the water evaporate. Oil will be left and it will brown and crisp very nicely.

      1. re: Soup

        I do it pretty much the way Soup does. Non stick skillet, heat the oil in it, pop in the dumplings, let them cook over highish heat about 5 minutes - until the bottom is browning up nicely, add a little bit of water, turn the heat down to medium or so, cover and let cook until the tops are done 5-10 minutes, uncover, return to high to boil off the water if necessary, and serve.

    2. Here's an excerpt from the recipe I've used successfully many times. It's from America's Test Kitchen.

      Add 2 teaspoons oil to 12-inch nonstick skillet and quickly spread oil with paper towel to distribute evenly. Arrange 12 dumplings in skillet, lying flat on one side, with all seams facing same direction, overlapping just slightly, if necessary. Place skillet over medium-high heat and cook, without moving, until dumplings are golden brown on bottoms, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add 1/2 cup chicken stock to skillet, and cover immediately. Cook, covered, until most of stock is absorbed and wrappers are slightly translucent, about 10 minutes. Uncover skillet and increase heat to medium-high; cook, without stirring, until dumpling bottoms are well browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes more. Turn off burner and slide dumplings from skillet onto double layer paper towels, browned side down, to blot excess oil. Transfer to platter and serve immediately.

      1 Reply
      1. re: CindyJ

        I've used that method too - it's a winner.

      2. I find this to be a very quick process (usually to feed a pack of hungry tennage boys). I have a nonstick skillet with a glass lid sp O can see somewhat what is going on in the steam. Add just under a tablespoon of oil, heat, put frozen potstickers (my Asian markets have a wonderful selection) in spaced well. It spatters and sizzles right away. Usually cover after about 30 seconds. Then contrary to popular advice I check them in a minute or so and if getting that pretty caramel brown on one side I usually flip them and let them get it on the other side too (I know potstickers are supposed to look like they stuck to pot on one side but we like this). As soon as have some browning on both sides I add just maybe 2 tablespoons of water, cover and let go to town. Not boiling madly but definately simmering. As water is almost cooked off, I remove lid and let it dry out. The whole process is not more than 10 to 12 minutes. Good luck.

        1 Reply
        1. re: torty

          I like the method described in Shun Lee's book: Steam first for a few minutes, then finish in a non stick frying pan with just a touch of oil.