These are the famed dumplings that beat Bobby Flay's in a throwdown—and you’ll discover why, once you crunch past the crispy wrapper into gingery pork filling. This recipe makes about 50 dumplings, but Chef Sohui Kim warns they’ll disappear fast! (Note: Once folded, these dumplings freeze well.)
Trim away top of onion, then cut in half, leaving the root intact; peel away and discard the skin. Lay halves flat on a cutting board, then make vertical slices, stopping at the root so the onion half stays intact. Then slice crosswise to a small, uniform dice. Place in a bowl and set aside. Smash, peel, and finely mince garlic. Add to the bowl with the onions. Use a peeler or spoon to remove ginger skin. Slice into thin coins, then julienne as thinly as possible. Cut crosswise to mince. Add to bowl with onions and garlic.
In a large sauté pan, heat 1 teaspoon of oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions, garlic, ginger, a pinch of salt, and a few cranks of black pepper until slightly caramelized, 4–5 minutes. Meanwhile, finely mince garlic chives. Stir aromatics, then cook 1–2 more minutes.Make the dipping sauce: In a bowl, combine soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and brown sugar. Whisk to combine. Add star anise and set aside. Add minced chives and another pinch of salt to the aromatics. Cook until chives begin to soften, about 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a plate or bowl to cool completely, 30 minutes. (Alternatively, cool in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.)
Once the aromatics have cooled, finish the dumpling filling: In a large bowl, add pork. Place tofu in a small strainer set over a second bowl; use a wooden spoon to gently press excess water out of the tofu. Add drained tofu to the pork, along with the aromatics, hoisin sauce, salt and pepper. Mix well. (Use your hands for quicker, more even mixing.) In a skillet, heat ½ teaspoon oil over medium heat. Cook a small patty of the dumpling filling; taste and adjust seasoning with hoisin sauce or salt as needed.
Fill and fold dumplings: Fill a small bowl with water and place it nearby. Place a tablespoon of filling in a wrapper. Use your finger to "paint" a little water halfway around the edge of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper shut and pinch to close, making a half moon shape. (Optional: Make a pleat in the middle, or pleat all the way around.) Wrapper edges should be flush and completely sealed, and there should be no air bubbles in the dumpling. Place each finished dumpling on a sheet pan, and repeat until you’ve used all the filling. (Optional: Freeze any dumpling mixture you want to save for another time; defrost before using.) To store uncooked dumplings, place in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze completely; then pack them into plastic freezer bags. Frozen dumplings will last 2–3 weeks. (Note: They do not refrigerate well.)
Cook dumplings: Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat; add just enough oil to coat the bottom, about 1 tablespoon. Add dumplings in an even layer, about 10. Brown the dumplings on one side, 2–3 minutes. Then carefully add about ¼ inch of water, and immediately place the lid on top of the pan; steam until nearly all the water evaporates, 3–5 minutes. Remove the cover and allow the dumplings to fry again, just long enough to fully brown. Once they are fully browned, flip to slightly crisp the other side, about a minute. Plate and serve the dumplings immediately with dipping sauce. (Note: To cook frozen dumplings, follow the same procedure, but with slightly more water so they steam a little longer and cook through.)