Preparation / Directions:
In a bowl, combine flour and water, mixing to form a ball. Remove to a floured board and knead with your palm for about 3 minutes. Shape into a ball, cover with a damp towel, and let stand for about 10 minutes.
Make the filling by combining the filling ingredients above. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To shape and assemble, knead dough for about 3 minutes. Roll into a cylinder that is about 1 inch in diameter. Cut off the ends, then cut into about 24 pieces, each about 3/4-inch wide. With the cut side up, press the dough down with your palm to flatten. Use a rolling pin to make pancakes about 2 1/2 - 3 inches in diameter. (They get quite thin; that's what you want.) Spoon about 1 tablespoon of filling into the center of each pancake. Fold the dough over to make a half circle and pleat the edges firmly together.
To pan-fry, heat cast-iron or other heavy-bottom skillet over moderate heat. Add about 3 T oil, swirling to coat bottom. (Watch out, it sizzles quite a bit. Don't get burned!) When oil is hot, place potstickers, seam side up, in skillet and agitate (shake) for 30 seconds. Pour in water, cover and gently boil over moderate heat for 7 to 8 minutes. When oil and water start to sizzle, add remaining 2 T oil. Tip skillet to distribute oil evenly; watch carefully (uncovered) to prevent sticking. When bottoms are brown (usually several minutes later), remove from heat and carefully lift out potstickers with spatula.
To serve, turn potstickers over (dark side up) and arrange on serving platter. Combine chili oil, vinegar and soy sauce in proportions to suit your taste and offer sauce for dipping. Alternatively, cut up a hot chili pepper into red rice vinegar.
* Delicious Northern Chinese snack and hacker's staple -- Hackers on both coasts and most places in between love potstickers (though if you're from the Right Coast, you probably know them as Peking Ravioli, or just ravs. This recipe is based on one found in Chef Chu's Distinctive Cuisine of China. Total preparation time is about 45 minutes. They don't come out as good as the ones from Cho's in Mountain View, but if you don't happen to be within 45 minutes of Mountain View, they'll do very nicely, thank you. Yield: Makes about 2 dozen.
* You can freeze uncooked potstickers for later use, if you squeeze out the water from the cabbage during preparation (in a colander or cheesecloth). Freeze potstickers separately on cookie sheets until firm, then put them in plastic bags. When rolling out the pancakes, leave the centers slightly thicker than the edges. A thicker center will hold up better during the browning.
* If you prefer, steam potstickers for about 12 minutes over boiling water instead of pan-frying. (No self-respecting hacker would be caught eating steamed potstickers, though.)
* These are really not hard to make, and come out quite nicely! Following the dough recipe above leads to a fairly dry and floury dough; this makes it hard to roll out and pleat. Feel free to add a little more water. There are also now commercially available potsticker presses that take care of folding and pleating; they're cheap and plastic and work rather well.
* The perfect potsticker is uniformly brown with a thick brown area on the bottom (where it sticks to the pot); it seems that achieving this only comes with practice. I tend to fry both sides a bit before adding the water; this helps. Beware of too much heat; the bottom will bubble and crack. This doesn't taste any different, but doesn't look as nice.
* If you don't cook the whole batch at once, store the potstickers so that they don't touch; the dough tends to stick to itself, so the potstickers may tear as you remove them.
* Many restaurants serve Hoy Sin sauce (hoisin) instead