Monday, March 8, 2010

Perfect Crispy Pot Stickers

When I was a kid my family knew the owners of this awesome Chinese restaurant. There's a pretty big Chinese population in Korea, and my grandfather was the doctor of a famous family of Chinese chefs. When the son decided to move to the US, he contacted my grandfather and moved to St. Louis to set up shop. The son used to test recipes on my grandmother and her friends at lunch parties, and our family always went there for big dinners for years. They always had our favorites: crispy sweet and sour beef, happy family, home made kim chee (which was the real reason we went there), and pot stickers. They had the best pot stickers of all Chinese restaurants in the area. The recipe had been passed down from first son to first son for five generations. They would bring out a huge plate of sizzling pot stickers and ceremoniously pour over a bit of soy sauce and a bit of vinegar. The combination just made the whole dish pop, and when the pot stickers were all gone I'd pour the soy-vinegar mixture over my rice. Mmmmm.

When I was a little older, in high school but before we had cars, my friends and I would end up back at my house a lot of weekend nights. I think I was the least embarrassed by my parents and, more importantly, my mom would make pot stickers. She'd steam them, but serve them with the soy-vinegar mixture. To this day my friends still talk about how great that was at the end of a night "out."

But man those things are hard to make from scratch. SO time consuming. The women in my family would sit around the table and make them together and gossip all afternoon, but I just don't have the time these days. But luckily there are some pretty good frozen brands. Safeway carries a good one with pork and chicken. But the trick is all in how you make them. I believe I have perfected the process of the frozen pot sticker, and I'm going to spill the beans.

First, use a non-stick pan that has a tight lid. Very important. Then, using a mild or unflavored oil (like vegetable oil).

1) Heat two tablespoons in the pan on medium high.
2) Place about 6 frozen pot stickers directly in the oil, or however many fit on the bottom of the pan. Cook for about 2 mins.
3) Then add in 6 tablespoons of water all at once and quickly cover the pan. Let the pot stickers steam in the water for 6 minutes.
4) Then take the lid off the pan and continue to cook until all the water evaporates from the pan and the bottom of the pot stickers are browned and crispy.
5) Serve with a mixture of half soy sauce and half vinegar with chopped scallions.

The perfect little late night snack, and easier to make than it looks. I hope you try it and when you bite into that first pot sticker that's perfectly steamed through but crispy on the bottom, you'll know what I'm talking about.


  1. I don't want to write my research paper right now, so I decided to read this instead. Congratulations on making my mouth water and helping me procrastinate! :)

  2. we had dumpling soup just the other day! i turned to halabuji and said, "wow, halabuji! this is your favorite!" and he looked at me, wrinkled his forhead, smiled and nodded. No words because his mouth was full!