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  • Dumplings are humble and homey. They make people smile. I have loved them since childhood, and this site focuses on cooking and finding the tastiest morsels. It's also the companion to my cookbook, Asian Dumplings.

    Andrea Nguyen
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10/27/2009

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Comments

Charmaine

Very interesting post, glad you got to the bottom of it! I was served potstickers in this fashion at a northern Chinese restaurant in London, where the dumplings were served skirt-side up.

I've also made them inadvertently at home - after we wrap up the gyoza we dust with them flour to prevent them sticking to each other. When we cook them, we try to get as much flour off of it as possible but some of it sticks. So when the water is poured into the pan to steam the fried dumplings, a little skirt forms from the mixture of the flour and the water :-)

Andrea Nguyen

Charmaine, I know exactly what you mean! I've done the same thing. Toooooo much flour on the wrapper and you get crusty bits. This is merely a larger-scale, purposeful version of our 'mistake.' Cool.

j gold

Interesting. The ``skirt'' shows up in Los Angeles pretty frequently, usually in restaurants specializing in northern food, but I've only seen the phenomon with pan-fried bao. Delicious. I've always described it as a gauzy scrim or somesuch - next time it will be ``skirt!''

Andrea Nguyen

Mr. Gold, I'm going to have to keep my eyes out for the skirted baozi when in Los Angeles. 'Skirt' was the best I could come up with!

Annie

Andrea, I came to your site to tell you that I finally got around to trying the gyoza recipe with the basic dumpling skin from your book and Nate and I had a blast making the skins--my kids even helped out. Wish I had come earlier to test out the skirt on the gyoza. When I used to make dumplings before using premade skins, I would get a skirt of sorts from them even though I used water to steam fry. Could it be that the premade skins are coated with cornstarch to prevent sticking and the cornstarch provided the starch necessary to create the skirt? Have you tried with cornstarch?

Annie

Ok, just read your other post about the skirt--mine doesn't look like that so I guess it's not cornstarch. Looks really interesting though. I will have to try it next time I make a batch. Thanks again for the lovely dumpling recipe. Nate and I were so excited that we were making our own skins--we were giddy as we made them. Was quite funny to watch us go on and on--"I can't believe we're making this ourselves..etc..etc.." Will be posting about our experience soon.

Andrea Nguyen

Yeah, this is a skirt on purpose for the pot stickers. It's quite amazing to make your own skins, like, "I can't believe I just did that and it tastes really really good, better than ones at restaurants!"

In modernity, we often pass old-fashioned, homey cooking to the pros and restaurants. Why not take some of that responsibility and craftsmanship back into our own kitchens?

Parsley Keenan

I am sorry to sound snobbish. But this is just making a mountain out of a mole hill. I make the best Chinese pot stickers in the tri-state(NY, NJ, CT) area. I am not kidding, my late father was from the North-Eastern province of China and I grew up making dumplings on a regular basis. And here in the NE part of the country, as far as I am aware of, no place (restaurants, dumpling shacks..) use the kind of premium quality ingredients that I use and that's why mine are the best.It's kind of laughable seeing all of you making such a big fuss about the " crispy skirt". When I make my potstickers, I sprinkle rice flour on the surface where I set the made dumplings and when I cook them in a pot, the water and the rice flour would form a nice, crispy film. But it is the filling of the dumpling, not the stupid "crispy skirt" that matters

Andrea Nguyen

Parsley, that's quite a claim to make for the entire North Eastern region of the United States. Good dumplings are about the skin, filling, and careful cooking too.

May I ask why you sprinkle rice flour instead of regular wheat flour on your finished dumplings? You cook your dumplings in a pot? How do they form a crispy film in a pot? Do you poach them or are they actually pan-fried in a skillet? Please clarify as you've got an interesting tip here.

As you may have read in other comments above, some folks, just like you, get a crisp finish from sprinkling flour on their shaped dumplings to prevent them from sticking. This skirt that we're discussing -- and I beg to differ with your characterization of them as 'stupid' seeing how there are professional cooks who do this for a living -- is something novel and interesting that dresses up guo tie/pot stickers. The crisp skirt that forms happens across the bottom of the dumplings and unifies them.

eduardo suga

Hi Andrea.

I see that crispy skirt bottom at one of my favorite Chinese restaurants in São Paulo - Brazil. The owners are from Shanghai, I guess. One time I asked one of the waiters the secret of that crispy skirt and she told me that it was just plain tap water, corn starch and a little vinegar. I haven´t tried it yet at home but from what I see at that restaurant, the results are beautiful and tasty.

Paul

Great informative post, I've been looking for a consistent method to do this ever since I had dumplings at a dumpling specialty restaurant in Chengde, China. Thanks for this!

SueL

Hi Thanks for showing us how to do this, this is one of my family's favourites and I have been trying to get a consistent way to cook these since having them in a restaurant in Sydney's china town. We love making and cooking these as a family, although I am sure that our versions are not authentic compared to some of the comments above. Still we enjoy making and cooking them. One of our other family favourites is http://www.kidshealthyrecipes.com/index.php/healthy-kids-meals/thai-fish-cakes/ which again may not be authentic, but are easy to prepare and cook, and are very tasty. My daughters love them!

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phillykansai

Hi. Great blog! I've been living in Osaka, Japan for almost ten years now. The gyoza places around here use potato starch & water for the "skirt".

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It's so nice to have you do all of the research for us. It makes our decision making so much easier!! Thanks.

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