Judy Ni didn’t grow up in Taiwan, but she was raised with an awareness of many of its traditions. At fast casual Baology, she and her husband, chef Andy Tessier, translate the culinary traditions of Ni’s parents’ homeland into quick and easy lunches and dinners for the Center City office crowd.
On occasion, Baology opens for special dinners. That’s the case this weekend, when the restaurant is hosting a series of Lunar New Year celebrations.
Each dinner, which take place on Saturday, Feb. 16, and Sunday, Feb. 17, features a family-style menu of many dishes. There’s lobster spring rolls, whole steamed fish, noodles and Hainanese chicken rice. There are also potstickers with pork and shrimp — and we’ve got the recipe.
Potstickers, aka dumplings, are a traditional dish used to celebrate the New Year in Taiwan, Ni explained, because they symbolize longevity and wealth.
“It is always great fun to make them with family and friends in a large gathering,” Ni said, “and then share as part of a meal.”
Here’s how to make classic Taiwanese potstickers at home.
Pork and Shrimp Potstickers
by Judy Ni, Baology
makes approximately 96 30g potstickers
1 kg ground Berkshire pork shoulder (sourced from a good farm or affiliated-butcher such as La Divisa Meats located in Reading Terminal)
417g organic spinach (cooked from fresh spinach or thawed frozen spinach)
810g wild-caught shrimp, roughly chopped
577g chicken stock (best if homemade, but you can purchase an organic, low-sodium one as well)
22g sesame oil (we recommend Kadoya Pure Sesame Oil)
15g rice vinegar (we recommend Kong Yen brand)
5g freshly ground white peppercorn or ground white pepper (can be found at any local Asian market)
22g microplaned fresh ginger (buy whole ginger, peel & clean it before microplaning)
2 packs of potsticker wrappers – we recommend the Twin Marquis brand
Canola or vegetable oil, as needed
For the filling
Combine the ground pork shoulder, spinach, and shrimp in a large bowl, ideally one that can be used with a stand mixer, and start the mixer.
Slowly add in the chicken stock until it is well-distributed and then add the sesame oil, rice vinegar, cornstarch, followed by the salt and white pepper.
Once all these ingredients have been thoroughly combined, finish the mixture with the fresh ginger.
To “bao” (wrap) the potstickers
Set up a small dipping bowl of fresh water. Lay out one potsticker wrapper and keep the remaining wrappers covered with a slightly damp paper towel to prevent them from drying out. Dip a finger in the water and use it to moisten the outer border of the wrapper.
Put a dollop of filling in the center and then fold one half of the wrapper to the other half so that it forms what looks like an empty cannoli (ends should be open).
To seal the potsticker, use the thumb and forefinger from one hand to hold the potsticker in the middle, while using the thumb and forefinger of the other hand to form three tiny pleats along the right half and then repeating this on the left half for a total of 6 pleats.
Cover the finished potsticker with a dampened paper towel and repeat with all the other wrappers until you’ve made the desired amount.
To cook the potstickers
Add oil to a large (10” or 12”) lidded, non-stick pan over moderately high heat just enough to thinly coat the surface of the pan. Heat the oil until hot, then add the potstickers in a tight circular pattern (pleats up) until the bottom of the pan is fully covered.
Cook the potstickers (pan uncovered) until the bottoms have turned a pale golden color. Add 1/2 cup water, pouring the water from the outer border of the pan, and then cover the pan with a lid and cook until the liquid has evaporated.
Repeat this one more time until the bottoms of the potstickers are rich, golden brown. Remove the lid and cook off any remaining liquid, shaking the pan to loosen the potstickers.
Place a large plate (larger than the border of the pan) on top of the pan and then flip the potstickers onto the plate. Potstickers are ready to serve.