‘Soy-Butt’ Potstickers: Crusty Bottoms Taste Good!

I haven’t met a dumpling that I didn’t like. Well, ok … maybe a filling or two that I wasn’t fond of but when you wrap anything in a thin layer of carbs, it just tastes magical!

I started making my own dumplings a few years ago, first wonton and then soon came potstickers. I’ve played with my potsticker recipe ever since and finally tweaking it recently. They are moist and tender, packed with flavor and perfect for a snack or quick dinner. I finish the postickers in what I affectionately call ‘soy-butt’ style, a splash of soy sauce during the final minute which caramelizes on the bottoms of the potstickers leaving a salty crust.

Potsticker Filling
1 head Napa cabbage (about 6 cups shredded)
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 lbs ground pork
2 tablespoons corn starch
8 green onions, minced (whites and greens)
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 inch piece ginger, grated
3 garlic cloves, grated
4 oz. silken tofu

The filling is quick to prepare and I often let it sit overnight in the refrigerator to let the flavors mingle. Begin by thinly shredding the cabbage. Place into a colander and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt. Toss with your fingers to coat all of the cabbage with the salt. Allow to sit for 20 minutes to draw out the excess water. While it sits, I continue preparing the filling.

To a large bowl add the ground pork, corn starch, minced green onion and soy sauce. Grate in the ginger and garlic. The key to the filling is to have all of the ingredients in the smallest pieces as possible, so the filling isn’t chunky and the flavors are mixed evenly throughout.

The final ingredient is one that I had heard about for some time and finally tried. The silken tofu adds an extra bit of moisture to the filling and you won’t even know it’s in there. Add it to the meat mixture and use a spoon to blend everything together. Bash it around good to break up all of the meat so it’s almost like a paste.

Place the cabbage into a clean kitchen towel and draw up the sides, squeezing the cabbage of its excess water. You will be shocked how much water comes out. Continue squeezing until no more comes out, then place into your meat mixture. Give a few final stirs to integrate the cabbage. Refrigerate until ready for use.

You can buy round potsticker dumpling skins in the refrigerated grocery section of most grocery stores. I’ve always used them but decided to try making my own skins for my very first time. I did dread rolling out the dough and contemplated it for a day or two. I was about to give up on making the skins when I realized that I could use my pasta attachment for my mixer and use the lasagna roller. Whew! Crisis averted.

Potsticker Dough
2 cups flour
1 cup hot water
dash of salt

The ratio can be increased using 2 parts flour, 1 part hot water. I placed the flour into my mixer with a dough hook. I slowly added the water until the dough formed. Allow it to knead for a few minutes until a smooth ball forms. The dough should be soft and not tacky to the touch. If it’s too wet, add a few tablespoons of flour and mix again. Depending on the humidity of your kitchen, you may need more or less water.

Place the dough on a flat surface and cover with a moist towel. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Once the dough has rested, cut into 4 pieces. Working with one piece at a time, use your hands to flatten the dough into just under 1/2″ thick patties. These pieces of dough will be run through a pasta roller. Alternatively, you can use a rolling pin to roll the dough.

The dough is soft and smooth but I found that it didn’t like to be played with too much. Running it through the pasta roller twice was all that it took. If I tried running it through more than twice, it tended to break apart and loose its smooth texture.

Take one patty of dough and dust it on both sides with flour. On the first run, set your pasta roller to its largest opening and run the dough through. Coat each side of the dough with another sprinkling of flour. Then, set your pasta roller to a medium thinness … on my attachment it was ‘3’.

Lay the dough on a firm cutting surface and cut into 4 inch circles. I used a cocktail glass and it worked perfectly. Make sure the circles are nicely floured so they don’t stick together when stacked.

Since the dough is soft, you should work with it quickly. I made the dumplings in small batches and placed into the freezer immediately. Then, I would roll another piece of dough and fill another batch of skins. I did not take any photos of how to fill and fold the potstickers and I’ll admit this isn’t my strength (my potstickers are rustic!). However, for an excellent potsticker tutorial Jaden of Steamy Kitchen provides easy to follow steps with photos. You should also check out the Gyoza made by Wasabi Bratwurst or the dumplings made by Kat of A Good Appetite. Apparently, pan-fried dumplings are all the rage on food blogs right now – I should also mention Helen’s post from World Foodie Guide.

Place the completed potstickers on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in your freezer for about 30 minutes to freeze them, then place dumplings in freezer bags according to serving size.

I ended up making around 100+ dumplings. There’s something therapeutic about making the dough and then folding so many dumplings. My freezer is now filled with several large bags of plump dumplings.

How to fry the potstickers soy-butt style

Potstickers are aptly named. During the frying process, the dumplings stick to the pan and only once they are fully cooked do they release themselves. Trying to move them in the pan before they are ready and your impatience will be rewarded with scrambled dumplings.

I imagine potstickers were accidentally invented by a cook very much like myself. Likely, this person tried to make fried dumplings and became preoccupied with something else in the kitchen. When they realized their dumplings were sizzling in the pan, it was too late and the dumplings were stuck so tightly to the pan that they wouldn’t budge. To release the dumplings and rescue their dinner, the cook decided to add a bit of water to loosen the dumplings. From an initial oversight was born a delicious dumpling. :-)

I use a cast iron skillet and lightly oil the bottom with a teaspoon or two of oil. I place the frozen dumplings into the pan, leaving an inch or two of space between each one. Place over medium heat and fry for 3-4 minutes. At this point they should be stuck nicely to the pan and starting to brown. Resist the urge to move them.

Next you will add about 1/2 cup water and immediately cover the pan with a lid. No peeking. The water will generate steam to cook the dumplings. For frozen dumplings, it may take about 7-9 minutes. For fresh dumplings, it will take only about 5 minutes.

Remove the lid and allow any remaining water to cook out of the pan. Once the pan is dry, the dumplings will be ready to release themselves from the pan. This is the point where I unleash my soy-butt style … a drizzle of soy sauce over the dumplings. As the soy hits the hot pan, it will caramelize and adhere to the base of each dumpling and will create a slightly salty crust on the bottoms (i.e. butts) of the dumplings. It only takes about 30-60 seconds, then promptly remove the dumplings from the pan or else they will burn.

You can serve them with soy sauce flavored with chili oil and green onions. Personally, I like to dip them in a Chinese red vinegar or a bit of balsamic.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Peter G October 2, 2008, 5:46 am

    I can’t believe you made your own dough for these Allen…they look so professional! Great advice for cooking them as well…

  • Ben October 2, 2008, 6:18 am

    Anything wrapped in cabs tastes magical. I should know that :-p Lovely recipe and pics.

  • kat October 2, 2008, 6:44 am

    How funny that you made these the same week we posted them for Recipes to Rival. Yours look wonderful! Next time I’m totally using my pasta roller

  • Bellini Valli October 2, 2008, 7:16 am

    Well….if you had any leftovers you could send them my way;-)

  • Manggy October 2, 2008, 7:28 am

    OMG! I haven’t met a dumpling I didn’t like either! I think we will get along just fine (HA HA HA). In fact, it’s one of my most favorite things– I just haven’t done it yet, for a reason I can’t remember. I love the protein-pumping version you have here, (with tofu too)! Excellent. Maybe next time you can sub in ground shrimp or crab meat (hmm… I have this idea that it’s healthier), but pork is a perennial favorite of course.
    And you made your own wrappers too! I’m very impressed. But dude, let me get you some round cutters!!

  • food librarian October 2, 2008, 7:39 am

    Wow! Your own dough! that’s very impressive and they look very, very yummy.

  • Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) October 2, 2008, 8:00 am

    Your potstickers look perfect! I love it when they really do “stick” and get crusty on the bottom.

  • Helen Yuet Ling Pang October 2, 2008, 8:08 am

    I’ve been waiting to see these photos! Still can’t believe you made the wrappers as well, I am impressed. I’ve only been using shop-bought wrappers, as I can’t spend all day in the kitchen. My mother does make her own wrappers though (being the traditional sort)! I’ve also not managed to freeze any dumplings, as they’re irresistible, no matter how many I make…

  • Erin October 2, 2008, 8:31 am

    I can’t believe you made your own dough. You are such a little foodie overachiever!

  • Allen October 2, 2008, 9:02 am

    Peter G: Thank you! I’m not sure about professional looking but they taste dang good :-)

    Ben: Haha, you are my fellow carb lover :-)

    Kat: Yes, let the pasta roller do the work for you!

    Bellini Valli: LOL, no leftovers here – I’m craving them right now and considering a few for breakfast.

    Manggy: I always improvise for round counters … you should be happy that I didn’t use an empty tin can … I’ve been known to do that too. But the cocktail glass worked perfectly!

    Food Librarian: Thank you!

    Lydia: Thank you!

    Helen: It took me forever to write this post. I’ve been such a slacker this week. I won’t make my own wrappers every time but they weren’t as hard to make as I expected and I did like them better than the store bought ones.

    Erin: Hehe, I had to try it at least once :-)

  • Lori October 2, 2008, 9:48 am

    These look so wonderful. Your ‘wrapped in carbs’ cracked me up! So true!

    Thanks so much for sharing the dough recipe. It seems like every potsticker recipe I come across has you use wonton wrappers and I don’t have access to those. I’m so glad to have an idea for a good dough.

  • Phoenix56317 October 2, 2008, 10:19 am

    OMG Allen, These really do look good and I have to say you out-done yourself this time. I was stationed in So.Korea for 6 yrs and this was my intro in Oriental cuisine. I believe they are called Yakamindo ( sorry for spelling errors ), I’ve always had these with Ramen and Kemchie. I make my own version of these using Egg Roll Wrappers and use dumpling makers, the clam shell type. I usually fill them with Shrimp,Bamboo shoots,sprouts,water chestnuts and chopped cashews and/or peanuts. Again KUDOS on the technique Allen.

  • patsyk October 2, 2008, 11:20 am

    I love dumplings, and there aren’t many I’ve turned down. Great post showing how to do it yourself.

  • _ts of [eatingclub] vancouver October 2, 2008, 12:46 pm

    Oh, cool! SOY-BUTT!!!! The name alone is genius. ;) But hey, that is a good idea, making the soy-butts. I’ve forwarded this to our resident dumpling maker.

  • Allen October 2, 2008, 12:59 pm

    Lori: Definetly try this dough – it’s simple and works perfectly!

    Phoenix: Thank you! What a great idea for flavor combinations – I’m always a fan of adding nuts to more foods!

    PatsyK: Thank you so much

    ts: I admit .. the name makes me giggle and is fun to say :-) I’m sure the resident dumpling maker will cringe at the folding quality of my potstickers but that’s also why I didn’t show too many close-up photos of them!

  • lisa October 2, 2008, 1:30 pm

    These look amazing. I’m asian-cooking-challenged though, so I may have to start with packaged wonton wrappers!

  • Katie October 2, 2008, 2:00 pm

    That filling sounds delicious! I have some wonton wrappers in the fridge waiting for a good recipe.

  • Helen October 2, 2008, 3:11 pm

    My name is Helen and I am a dumpling addict! I absolutely adore them. That said, I have never made pot stickers. In fact, I’ve never even eaten one – a whole world of dumpling goodness unexplored – hurrah!

  • heather October 2, 2008, 6:48 pm

    yummm! i want a pasta attachment for my mixer SO BADLY. I keep hinting at it but my husband thinks that i already have every gadget under the sun. these look lovely! i agree about the dumplings, i like a little bit of it to be crusty. they look delicious!

  • Madam Chow October 2, 2008, 7:23 pm

    Homemade or so superior, that I don’t think I can eat what’s commercially available in my neck of the woods. Thanks for the great tips on using the pasta roller, by the way!

  • Q October 3, 2008, 3:40 am

    You are amazing mate! The only homemade dumplings I’ve ever had were from my brother’s ex, and I always wondered why he gave her up since she WOULD make her own dumpling wrappers! I read through it all, and you sound like an authentic Chinese/Japanese dumpling expert!

  • RecipeGirl October 3, 2008, 6:59 am

    Nice job with making your own dough! Haven’t tried that one yet. I’ve also never used tofu in the filling. Great post!

  • Maggie (Pithy and Cleaver) October 3, 2008, 12:06 pm

    Saw these on FoodGawker…beautiful pics. I am WAY too intimidated to make the dough…
    Do you like the kitchenaid attachment? I am coveting one…

  • pixen October 3, 2008, 12:48 pm

    woahhh… that’s a great idea of using pasta machine for the rolling. Normally, I saw ‘experts’ rolled each individual dough into small rounds using a small rolling pin/rod.It’s amazing how they gauged the size of wrappers and the speed. Now, if we can find ways how to roll out Roti Paratha or Murtabak without stretching and tossing the dough in mid air! Thanks for alternative solution! :-D

  • luv0food October 3, 2008, 2:37 pm

    Wow!! I’m beyond impressed that you made your own dumpling skins. Your delicious looking dumplings make my own homemade ones look like wimps….and I don’t even make my own dough (I get ready-made ones from the store).

  • luv0food October 3, 2008, 2:39 pm

    ps. I’m going to put a link to your wonderful site on my (very modest) blog if you don’t mind so I can visit it more often. I found your blog from Cafe Fernando.

  • Steamy Kitchen October 4, 2008, 6:55 pm

    lol! love the soy butt!

  • Michelle October 5, 2008, 10:28 am

    Aaah, I see you’ve got the KitchenAid attachment. It’s a wonderful little gadget, isn’t it? It even helped me out on the last DB challenge.

  • Nate October 5, 2008, 10:36 pm

    That is a nifty idea – to use the Kitchenaid pasta roller to make dumpling skins. All right, gotta put the pasta roller on the Christmas wish list.

    BTW, congratulations on being named a judge in the upcoming DMBLGiT. How does one get a gig like that?

  • robin @ caviar and codfish October 8, 2008, 9:56 am

    Just found your blog and have fallen in love with these potstickers – and the soy-butt technique!

    Thanks for providing such a detailed recipe.

  • Fumi October 8, 2008, 11:51 pm

    Soy-butt, that is awesome. Good work Allen!

    Soy, pork, turkey, shitake…. I just cant get enough of gyoza. Now reading this post, I have more excuse to get my hands on the kitchenaid attachment, not that I need any reason :D

  • Callie March 9, 2009, 7:31 am

    I made these with my boyfriend last night.

    I prepared the filling the day before and put it in a covered container in the fridge over-night.

    I was planning on making my own wrappers, but realized I wouldn’t be able to get the dough thin enough without ‘playing’ with it too much. So I just bought 2 packages of sticker wrappers at a local Asian market — for a total of 64 wrappers. (I first tried my local super market, but they didn’t have them.)

    I used Jaden of Steamy Kitchen’s tutorial for wrapping. Great tips. Check it out. (It suggests making a ‘cornstarch slurry’ to help glue the edges together.)

    As we began wrapping, I feared we wouldn’t have enough wrappers. So we stuffed as much filling as we could in each pot sticker while still making sure the edges were sealed and folded properly. By the end of the night, we used up all of the filling and even had 2 wrappers left. (So we made 62 pot stickers.)

    The first batch I fried, it took about 5 minutes for the bottoms to become a golden brown. I was expecting to see the browning a little on the edges, but I had to keep lifting one sticker up to check the bottom. – Definitely make sure your pan is hot enough, otherwise it will just take longer to cook.

    Once I poured the water in, I cooked it for another 6 minutes with the lid on. Then once all of the water had been cooked out, I poured the soy sauce on. What a GREAT idea. It really adds a great salty crust, and you don’t need to dip the pot stickers in to extra soy sauce when you eat them.

    One suggestion: Once you pour the soy sauce on, if you let it caramelize too long, the pot stickers will… well they stick to the pan:) And I actually ripped 2 or 3 trying to get them off. The second batch that we fried, we took them out almost right after pouring the soy sauce on and they came off with ease.

    We fried about 24 and froze the rest in a container.

    Another tip: I had some left-over sushi out and my boyfriend had mixed some soy sauce and wasabi together for it while we were cooking. We dipped the pot stickers in there and it was REALLY good.

  • MsAnthropologist June 3, 2009, 7:16 pm

    I am planning to make these for supper tomorrow, but i was wondering if you would suggest a different meat filling? I have lamb and ground chicken in my fridge, I figure between the two of them it should be fatty enough to equal the pork; what do you think? Also, I wasn’t brave enough to make my own wraps, I have square wontons -.- You made the dough process look really easy, so I want to try and make my own (along the same lines as a tortilla) but have you ever tried whole wheat flour instead?

    The food I make on my blog is geared to go as many healthful substitutions as possible without losing the taste of some of the best foods out there. Even how you’ve made it here is 1/3rd the ingredient list that you would find on store bought, or even restaurant bought (MSG eek!) I am very excited to try this for tomorrow.

    Wish me luck on my folding technique. ^_^


  • Veronica June 21, 2009, 4:29 am

    I have never tasted dumplings or potstickers, unfortunately, but I am curious. If I ever make them, I’ll use your soy-butt method because that sounded really tempting! :D

  • Catherine June 26, 2009, 11:06 am

    Can’t wait to try these. One question, Do you have to rinse the salt off of the cabbage before squeezing?

  • Allen June 26, 2009, 12:53 pm

    Catherine: I don’t rinse the cabbage. As you squeeze out the excess water (and there will be alot of water), most of the salt washes away naturally. The remaining salt helps to flavor the remaining dumpling mixture.

  • Vickie January 20, 2010, 1:52 pm

    I know this post is a bit late (I just found your site), but I just had to let you know that you saved me today! Or you saved my potsticker wrappers :). I had seen a recipe in my new cookbook for making the dough and found someone online who had used their KitchenAid pasta roller for rolling the dough, so I thought I would give it a go. Oh my what a mess! I was trying to roll the dough exactly like I do with my pasta dough and it just wasn’t working…mistake #2! The dough was tearing and sticking to the roller….it was BAD. I immediately went to Google and searched for a recipe for potsticker dough that could be rolled on the pasta roller attachment and I found YOU! Thank you! Thank You! Thank You! Your method worked perfectly and your recipe is the same as the one I have…woohoo. I didn’t let my dough rest at all, mistake #1. I did end up rolling the 2nd time on #4 instead of #3 because I was getting so few wrappers per piece. I also am just freezing the wrappers themselves without making the potstickers. I plan to pack about 18 together per bag and defrost a bag as I need them. Have you ever just frozen the wrappers flat? Another thing I did was re-roll the leftover dough from the first cutting (there was so much left!) and got an additional 21 wrappers which I am freezing separately from the first cut wrappers…just in case they’re tough from the added flour and then I’ll know if I should ever do that again or not.

    Well, I just wanted to thank you for posting this and I cannot wait to make my first ever homemade potstickers. I’m going to make Crab Rangoon…cream cheese with crab meat….YUM! We always order those from a local restaurant and just LOVE them. I’m going to have to add the soy-butt to them though…it sounds delicious! Again, thank you for your help. I was ready to throw my dough in the garbage when I found you.

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