Another year gone by, another Chinese New Year to celebrate. There are all kinds of traditions that come along with the celebrations, but my personal favorite involves making dumplings and eating lots of them. In some Chinese traditions, dumplings are made to resemble yuanbao—gold and silver ingots used as currency in ancient times—so eating them during the Lunar New Year is thought to bring wealth and prosperity.
I once heard an apocryphal rumor that potstickers came about when the emperor's chef made a mistake: he forgot his dumplings on the stove, charring one side. Thinking fast, he served them to the emperor, stating that they were a new recipe, and of course the emperor loved them. This is a story that I can totally get behind; I mean, who doesn't mess up when cooking every once in a while? But singed potstickers are a happy accident that have turned into one of my favorite snacks, which I'll often eat as a whole meal.
While you can make your own dumpling wrappers, I save time by using store-bought dumpling wrappers instead. That gives me time to focus on the filling, which I’ve adapted from a couple recipes from Chinese cooking ace Fuchsia Dunlop: ground pork mixed with cabbage, ginger, soy sauce, and rice wine, with a pinch of sugar and a splash of toasted sesame oil to round it out.
I cook this filling before folding it into the wrappers, so give it some time to cool before sealing your dumplings. Steam them to cook the wrappers, then crisp them up in a hot pan with a little oil. Or save them for another day; I often form these guys and keep them in my freezer, then pull out a few here and there whenever I get that craving.
Now, I've never gained anything other than weight by eating dumplings, but I'll carry on celebrating just in case my luck changes and some money comes my way.
Get the recipe for Pork and Cabbage Potstickers »