Step into any Chinese restaurant, whether Americanized or traditional, and there is a high chance that pot stickers will be on the menu. In fact, most grocery stores are even providing frozen options that make a quick and delicious weeknight meal. As told by my relatives growing up, legend has it that pot stickers were invented by the chef of the king during the Song Dynasty of Imperial China. The chef was preparing dumplings for the Imperial Court, and he accidentally overcooked them. As a result, all of the dumplings became stuck to the pot, and had browned bottoms. Unsure of what to serve as it was time to deliver the food, one of his assistants suggested that the chef plate the overcooked dumplings and describe them as a new creation of his called pot stickers. The guests loved them, and the rest is history!
Flash forward to the 21st century, and pot stickers are still as popular as ever. Growing up, my parents would make homemade pot stickers from scratch. Every weekend, they would sit down at the dinner table while my brother and I sat next to them, watching them make those meticulous pleats with their hands. As we became older, we started joining them at the dinner table, placing little scoops of meat and vegetable filling into those circle flour wrappers, using our fingers to dab some water onto half of the wrap, and then slowly closing them. Then, we would all wait in the living room as my mom would pan fry them. Once the sizzle stopped, we would rush to the dinner table with anticipation. Served piping hot, biting into the super crispy bottoms of the skin would give way to tender meat and vegetables and bursts of broth. Nowadays, I think back to those fond memories and am instantly transported back home. For a healthier alternative to takeout, try making your own pot stickers at home
Serving size: 10 Pot stickers
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ cup water
1 pound ground chicken
3 cups shredded green cabbage
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1.) Slowly add water to the flour in a large bowl, mixing until combined.
2.) Using your hands, make balls that are about 1 inch in size.
3.) Flatten with a rolling pin to form wraps with diameters of about 4 inches.
4.) Combine the chicken, cabbage, garlic, ginger, canola oil, soy sauce, and pepper in a large bowl, mixing with your hands to blend. Once blended, add in the cornstarch.
5.) Take a dumpling wrapper and place it in your hand.
6.) Dip your index finger into a bowl of water and paint half of the border of the dumpling wrapper.
7.) Place a tablespoon of filling into the center of the wrapper.
8.) Fold the wet side onto the dry side, forming a half moon.
9.) Pinch the edges closed, making three to five pleats.
10.) Heat a pan using medium-high heat and add canola oil, swirling to coat the entire pan.
Place the pot stickers in the pan, making sure to leave a little space in-between each one.
11.) Once they start to reach a golden brown, about two minutes, sprinkle two tablespoons of
water into the pan and cover for three to five minutes.
12.) Remove the lid and turn off the heat. Once the sizzling stops, carefully use a spatula to
transfer the pot stickers to a plate, flat side down.
13.) Eat immediately alone or with your favorite low-sodium soy sauce!
Nutrition Facts: Each serving of 10 pot stickers provides 192 calories, 10 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of sugar, 1 gram of fiber, 21 grams of protein, and 205 mg of sodium.
By Rose Tan, UNH Dietetic Intern