Popo's Pot Stickers

 

My mother's mother, a feisty Chinese woman in horn-rimmed glasses and a hand-knit cardigan, lived with our family for several years during my childhood. We called her Popo -- the Cantonese name for grandmother -- and she was a legendary cook. She would cook elaborate multi-course dinners for us every night, shooing us kids out of the kitchen if we got in her way. The one time she would accept help from her grandchildren was when she embarked on her pot sticker project, a half-day affair which would take over most of the kitchen and dining room table. She would make hundreds of little pot stickers -- guo tie in Cantonese -- and pack them for freezing, for the family to eat over the next few months until we ran out and she did it all over again. During these epic days, she would sit down her small army of pot sticker stuffers and carefully demonstrate just the right amount of filling to put in and how to crimp the edges. My uncoordinated little fingers always made misshapen, overflowing dumplings, but Popo would just laugh and show me one of her impossibly perfect creations. Because we had a language barrier between us, it was always such a great opportunity to interact with her without the stress of words. And the pot stickers themselves? They continue to be the gold standard against which all other dumplings are measured. They're full of zippy flavor with tons of ginger and garlic. In fact, I credit these pot stickers with getting me over my childhood aversion to ginger. I use Sichuan peppercorns in mine just because I like the added spiciness, but Popo would just use white pepper.

What you will need

1 pound ground pork

2 tablespoons ginger, minced

1 cup cilantro, minced

4 to 5 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup green chives, minced (or green onions)

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground Sichuan peppercorns (or white pepper)

1 egg

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 package round gyoza/pot sticker wrappers

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