If you are vegetarian, and you love potstickers, then you’ll be very familiar with the feeling of missing out when all you can find are potstickers filled with meat.
This is why I am so pleased to share with you this potsticker recipe filled with tofu and shiitake mushrooms.
Now there’s no more missing out! These potstickers are flavorful, zingy, and completely vegetarian, so you can eat them to your heart’s content.
This potsticker recipe makes about 30 dumplings. You’ve got enough for five people, or you can easily freeze these for future meals.
Around six potstickers is the perfect serving per person for a hot appetizer, or for a satisfying main course with jasmine rice and stir-fried Asian greens.
For a dipping sauce, I highly recommend this sweet soy chili sauce. It’s made with sizzled garlic and red chili flakes.
The sauce doubles as a rice topping that’s likely to make you really happy. 🙂
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Is A Potsticker A Dumpling, Or What?
Before I give you all the info about this shiitake tofu potsticker recipe, I thought I should clear up a bit of confusion about the relationship between a potsticker and a dumpling.
It wasn’t really clear to me. So here is what I learned.
A potsticker starts off as a regular dumpling, but after it’s pan-fried in a wok or skillet it turns into a pan-fried dumpling or potsticker.
A dumpling is essentially a piece of dough wrapped around a filling.
There are endless varieties of dumplings in the world, but the style that originated in China is relevant for our purposes.
As that legend goes, back in the Song Dynasty (960–1280 A.D.) a cook was boiling dumplings in a wok, when unexpectedly the water ran out.
Of course, the dumplings stuck to the bottom of the wok (a typical Chinese pot). The chef was distraught by his mistake, but served the dumplings anyways.
It was a fortunate twist of fate that these first ancient people loved the textural contrast between the crispy fried dough and the succulent, juicy fillings inside, because after that the potsticker became increasingly popular.
I just told you the origin story of the potsticker. But there’s one more piece of history that’s relevant to our potsticker recipe, because our potsticker is actually more like a Japanese gyoza.
What is a gyoza? Well, it’s Japan’s innovation on the potsticker from China. It is slightly different.
While Chinese potstickers are generally made from relatively thick homemade dough, a Japanese gyoza is usually made from delicate pre-fabricated wrappers. A gyoza fillings is also more finely textured.
So, while officially this recipe is more like a Japanese gyoza, that doesn’t make it wrong to call it a potsticker. The terms are used interchangeably.
The filling for this potsticker recipe is very Chinese, but the ingredients are also common in an American kitchen, with the exception of two ingredients.
The first is the dried shiitake mushrooms.
Dried shiitake mushrooms are like wonders of the modern world because they are easy to obtain, easy to work with, and they last for years in the cupboard without going bad because they are dried.
Once you’ve got these dried mushrooms, all you need to do is soak them in water to reconstitute them.
The second is the potsticker wrappers. What you want are round wonton wrappers like this. They should be available in a large grocery store in the refrigerated or frozen section.
The rest of the ingredients are tofu, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, green onion, red chili flakes, salt, black pepper, soy sauce, and cilantro.
The filling is precooked. After finely chopping the vegetables, you sauté everything except the cilantro and let it cool.
How To Cook Potstickers
There is a bit of a trick to cooking potstickers, so I’m going to give you all the tips to guarantee your success.
The main challenge is how to make sure the wrapper is fully cooked before the potsticker gets too dark.
The answer is a method known as “fry-steam-fry.”
First you fry the potstickers in oil until lightly browned.
Next, you add a bit of water to the pan, and cover it to steam the potsticker wrappers and heat the filling.
Finally, after the wrappers turn translucent (showing they are fully cooked), and the water has evaporated, you fry again, turning the potstickers on all sides until they are fully golden and crispy.
It works, I promise!
Potsticker Dipping Sauce
Every good potsticker recipe needs a great dipping sauce.
That’s why I recommend my balanced soy chili sauce. This sauce is really yummy with the potstickers, and it works well with all manner of Asian noodles and stir-fries.
It’s made with sesame oil, ginger, red chili flakes, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sugar, and cornstarch.
For something even simpler, you can try equal parts soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. If you like spice you can add red chili paste.
Shiitake Tofu Potsticker Recipe
- 1 ounce
dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1/2 block firm tofu
tablespoonvegetable oil, (portion 1 tbsp for filling, 1 tbsp for frying the potstickers)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 green onions,
- 1/4 teaspoon
red chili flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon
Himalayan pink salt
- 1/4 teaspoon
- 2 tablespoons
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
round wonton wrappers
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 4 tablespoons water
Prepare the mushrooms and tofu
- Place mushrooms in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak for 1 hour. Drain, and finely chop by hand, or with a food processor.
- Press the tofu: Place tofu in a dish and cover with a plate. Put something heavy on the plate and keep it for 30 minutes. Drain off the water.
Cook the filling
- Heat 1 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, and sesame oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add minced ginger, garlic, green onions, red chili flakes, salt, and black pepper. Sauté until the garlic starts to brown.
- Crumble the tofu with your fingers and add it into the skillet with the soy sauce and the prepared shiitake mushrooms. Continue to cook until the filling is dry and the liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool. Mix in the cilantro.
Make the potstickers
- Add the cornstarch to the water in a small bowl and mix well. This is glue to help seal the edges of the dumpling wrapper. To make a potsticker, pick up a wrapper and place it in your palm.
- Dip the finger of your other hand into the cornstarch water and wet the edges of the wrapper.
- Place a teaspoonful of filling in the center of the wrapper then fold the edges together, sealing it by squeezing. Careful not to add too much filling so that it oozes out the edges, since this will make it difficult to seal. If you like, add a few folds to the edges of the potsticker.
- Place the finished potstickers on a tray lined with parchment paper. Continue to fill the potstickers and line them up on the tray.
Cook the potstickers
- Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add potstickers and cook until lightly browned.
- Add a couple tablespoons of water and cover. Cook covered until the wrappers turn translucent, indicating that they are fully cooked. Turn the potstickers over and add more water if needed.
- Finish the potstickers by cooking uncovered until golden brown and crispy.
- To enjoy as an appetizer or snack, serve with dipping sauce. For a complete meal, serve with jasmine rice and cooked Asian greens, and pour dipping sauce on top.
- I recommend enjoying this potsticker recipe with my balanced soy chili dipping sauce.
- It’s made with sesame oil, ginger, red chili flakes, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sugar, and cornstarch.
- For something even simpler, you can try equal parts soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. If you enjoy the heat, you can add red chili paste to it.