Xi'an Potsticker Dumplings (Xi'an Guo Tie)

Xi'an Potsticker Dumplings (Xi'an Guo Tie)

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp all-purpose flour, plus more to dust
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp cooking oil
  • For the stuffing:
  • 4 1/2 oz ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 2 tbsp finely sliced scallion greens
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Shaoxing wine
  • 4 tbsp chicken stock or water
  • 2 oz yellow or green Chinese chives, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • For the dips:
  • Chinkiang vinegar
  • finely chopped ginger
  • finely chopped garlic

Directions

Boil some water in a kettle. Combine the two flours in a mixing bowl with the oil. Pour in about 1/3 cup boiling water and mix briskly with a fork. Then add enough cold water to make a dough (about another 2 1/2 tbsp). When it is cool enough to handle, knead until smooth, then cover with a wet tea towel and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.

Combine all the stuffing ingredients (except the cooking oil) in a bowl and mix well. It's easiest to do this by hand.

Dust a work surface with a little flour. Roll the dough into a long sausage 3/4-1 inch thick. Use a knife to cut the dough into 2 cm pieces (you should end up with somewhere between 14-16 pieces), giving the dough a half roll between cuts to stop it from getting flattened out.

Lay each piece cut end-up on the work surface and flatten with the palm of your hand to make convex discs. Roll the discs into wrappers about 3 to 3 1/2-inches in diameter. The best way to do this (for someone right-handed) is to cradle the far edge of a disc in the fingers of your left hand while you roll from near edge to the center, turning it between rolling movements. You will end up with a slightly curved disc that is thinner at the edges than at the center.

Use a table knife or a bamboo spatula to lay about 1 1/2 tsp of filling along the center of the wrapper. Firmly pinch together the opposite edges of the wrapper, leaving the ends open. Lay dumplings on a lightly floured tray until ready to cook.

For each guest, pour about 1 tbsp vinegar in a dipping dish and add a little ginger and garlic (about 1/4 tsp of each).

Boil water in a kettle. Add the oil to a seasoned cast-iron frying pan or a non-stick pan with a lid over medium heat and swirl around. Lay the dumplings in neat rows in the pan. Fry them until their bottoms are toasty and golden, moving the pan around for even heating. Add 1/2 cup boiling water, pouring it evenly around the pan. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and allow the dumplings to steam until cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove the lid, allowing the rest of the steam to escape and the rest of the water to boil away.

Remove from the heat, use a spatula to lift the dumplings from the pan and turn them upside-down on your serving dish so you can see the golden toasty bottoms. Serve with dip.