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Recipe courtesy of Andy Liang for Food Network Kitchen

Dumplings with a Crispy Skirt

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 4 hr 15 min (includes soaking time)
  • Active: 1 hr 15 min
  • Yield: about 32 dumplings
Dumplings with a crispy skirt are essentially pan-fried dumplings with a thin and crisp outer layer (the "skirt") for an added texture. They're popular at izakayas throughout Japan, where they're called hanetsuki gyoza ("gyoza with wings") and at Chinese dumpling shops, where they're sometimes called binghua jianjiao ("ice-flower fried dumplings"). In this recipe, we developed a foolproof method for the skirt. Typically, it's made from a slurry of just flour and water but if the ratio is off, it can result in a thick skirt that is gummy. We added cornstarch and vinegar to the slurry to help prevent gluten from forming, resulting in a super thin and crisp skirt. The inspiration for the filling is the classic pork, napa cabbage and mushrooms found in frozen dumplings that always seem to be on sale at Asian markets. Feel free to fill the dumplings with your favorite combination of ingredients or swap in your favorite store-brought frozen dumplings. Many dumpling recipes direct you to mix the pork filling in one direction only. This helps develop the myosin, a type of protein, in the meat which makes the filling tender and hold together better when wrapping. We recommend Chinese black vinegar as a dipping sauce to provide acidity but you can make a soy vinegar dipping sauce instead (see Crispy Stuffed Lotus Root with Pork recipe) or simply drizzle the dumplings with soy sauce and sesame oil.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Soak the mushrooms in a medium bowl with 3 cups cool water. Stir to moisten the entire surface of the mushrooms. Set aside at room temperature for at least 3 hours and up to 4 hours.
  2. When the mushrooms are nearly rehydrated, toss the cabbage with 1 tablespoon salt in a medium bowl and let sit until liquid pools at the bottom, about 15 minutes. Squeeze out as much water as possible from the cabbage in between two hands and transfer the cabbage to a large bowl. Add the pork, 1/2 cup of the mushroom soaking water, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, sugar, white pepper and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix only in one direction using chopsticks until the pork-and-cabbage mixture starts to become sticky. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the neutral oil until evenly mixed.
  3. Remove and discard the stems from the mushrooms. Finely chop the mushrooms and add to the pork filling. Stir until combined.
  4. Set up a dumpling wrapping station with the following: a small bowl of cold water for sealing, the pork-and-cabbage filling, gyoza wrappers kept in the package and a large plate or baking sheet lined with plastic wrap to prevent the dumplings from sticking.
  5. Place one gyoza wrapper in your palm, add 1 tablespoon of the filling to the center, then lightly dab the perimeter of the wrapper with cold water (I use my index finger). Fold into a half-moon shape and seal the midpoint, leaving the sides open. Make 2 pleats starting from the left side of the half-moon folding towards the midpoint then firmly press the pleated side to seal. Repeat the pleating on the right side. Firmly press to seal the dumpling and thin out the edge of the wrapper slightly. Place the finished dumplings on the prepared plate. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling (see Cook’s Note).
  6. Whisk together 1/2 cup cold water, 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon of the flour and 1/4 teaspoon of the white vinegar in a small bowl until the slurry is smooth and free of lumps.
  7. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons neutral oil in a large nonstick skillet (about 11-inch) over medium-high heat until shimmering. Arrange 10 dumplings in a concentric circle or flower pattern (place the pointy end of each dumpling in the center of the skillet with the pleated side of the next dumpling facing the flat side of the previous one). Fry until the bottoms are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Stir the slurry before pouring into the skillet, cover with a lid, and cook over medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook over medium heat, moving the skillet as needed for even browning, until the skirt looks dry, crisp and golden brown. Remove from the heat, place a large dinner plate over the skillet and carefully invert the dumplings onto the plate with the skirt-side up. Serve immediately with Chinese black vinegar, for dipping.
  8. Repeat making the slurry and frying the remaining dumplings or freeze the dumplings on the plastic wrap–lined plate until frozen, then transfer the frozen dumplings to a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.

Cook’s Note

This recipe yields 32 dumplings in total. If you are cooking them from frozen, add an extra minute to the cook time when the skillet is covered. Avoid using lean ground pork for this recipe; a fattier ground pork will keep the filling moist and juicy once cooked.