Over the summer I worked as an intern at a Walmart pharmacy. It was by and far one of the best jobs I’ve had, mainly because of my coworkers. The two pharmacists I worked with were both super nice and supportive, and all the pharmacy techs were really fun. We had a bunch of fun working together, and I miss them all! I really liked that I was able to make friends with all of my coworkers – usually you just try to get by and stay away from the ones that you really don’t like, but I didn’t have to do that here. On my last day working there, they even had a potluck for me! Our pharmacy closes for 30 minutes every day so the pharmacist can eat lunch, so everyone brought a dish to pass and we had a mini party during the lunch break. There was some amazing food at that potluck, and very diverse food too! Both pharmacists, Anuya and Manisha, are from India so I got to try some real, authentic Indian food and one of the pharmacy techs, Tomoko, is from Japan and she brought these pot stickers.
I’ve always wanted to try branching out and cooking some more Chinese/Japanese food, but I feel like I just don’t know enough about the ingredients and the cooking methods to do it successfully. There are so many different ingredients that I don’t use on an everyday basis or have never used at all, so when I see them in a recipe I have no idea how they will taste or work with everything else in the recipe. So when I ate these at our potluck and realized how delicious they were, I knew I had to have the recipe!
This recipe makes a TON (probably over 100) pot stickers, so if you’re not sure if you’re going to love them, I’d definitely recommend halving the recipe and then deciding if you want to make more after you taste one. The good news is that the uncooked pot stickers freeze very well, and cook up without any change in the consistency. Just make sure they’re completely thawed before you cook them.
These are a little bit time consuming, but the taste totally makes up for it. Filling the pot stickers takes the most time, but as soon as you get used to the process it goes a little bit quicker. Also, the recipe calls for round wonton wrappers, but I could only find square ones and then proceeded to cut each one into a circular shape. Huge waste of time! Next time, I’ll keep them square and just make rectangular shaped dumplings.
One last tip: make sure and use a nonstick pan for this. If you don’t, they will definitely live up to their name and completely cement themselves to the bottom of your pan. Trust me, I know this from experience.
I was able to find the sesame oil and miso paste in the ethnic foods aisle in my grocery store, but I couldn’t find sake anywhere, so I just left it out. I couldn’t really tell a difference in taste between the ones I made (without the sake) and the ones that Tomoko made (with the sake), so if you can’t find it, it won’t make much difference if you leave it out. Tomoko did say that though the miso paste might be kind of hard to find, it makes a big difference in taste, so don’t leave it out unless you absolutely can’t find it. The same goes for the sesame oil. And definitely don’t skip the dipping sauce – it only has two ingredients in it (both of which you’re very likely to already have on hand) and it makes a HUGE difference in the overall taste.
Potstickers (also known as Gyoza)
Source: Tomoko DeKilder
Makes: a lot! (Probably around 100)
2 pkgs. wonton or Gyoza wraps
1 lb. ground pork
1/2 green cabbage
2 bunches green onions or scallions, finely chopped
2 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
2 tbsp. sake
1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. miso (soy) paste
salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 – 1/2 c. water
Equal parts soy sauce and white vinear
(for just me, I do 2 tbsp. of each – for a crowd, I’ll usually 1/4 cup of each)
1) Boil the cabbage whole for 3-5 minutes. Drain and let sit until it is cool enough to handle. Roughly chop.
2) Lay a clean, dry kitchen towel out on the counter. Place half of the chopped cabbage in the middle of the towel, and pull up each side and gather at the top to form a little bundle. Squeeze and twist to extract as much water as possible. Repeat with the remaining chopped cabbage.
3) Combine all pot sticker ingredients except the wonton wrappers, water and olive oil in a large bowl.
4) To form the dumplings, place one wonton wrapper on the counter. Place about 1 teaspoon of filling into the middle of the wrapper. Brush a little bit of water around the edges of half of the wrapper. Bring the dry edges of the wrapper up to meet the wet edges and press to seal. The dumplings should sit with the crimped edges at the top. At this point, the pot stickers can be cooked or frozen for later use.
5) Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, place the pot stickers in the pan. They should sit straight up with the sealed edges at the top. Cook 1-2 minutes, until the bottoms are nicely browned.
6) Add the water to the pan and cover. (The size of your pan will determine the amount of water you use – there should be about an inch of water in the pan)
7) Cook, covered, for 5-7 minutes until the wrappers become translucent and slightly wrinkly. Remove the lid from the pan and cook until all of the water has evaporated and the bottoms have re-crisped a bit, about 3-5 minutes more.
8) For the dipping sauce, combine the soy sauce and vinegar and place in a small bowl. Serve beside the pot stickers.