Sometimes I have to scrape and scrabble for recipe inspiration. And sometimes the ideas just float by uninvited. This was one of the easy ones: I was sitting around on a lazy Saturday, minding my own business, when two words suddenly popped up and took hold in my mind. Broccoli. Potstickers.
It’s hard to resist a sudden inspiration like that, and I didn’t even try. I already had a half-used package of wonton wrappers left over from making ravioli, and some broccoli that needed to get used. Riffing off of my turkey potstickers from Christmas, I steamed the broccoli and pulsed it in the food processor with scallions, ginger, garlic, and a mishmash of tried-and-true flavorings. Once again, folding and pleating the potstickers was slow, sticky work, and about halfway through I wondered why I’d gotten myself into this. But the payoff, unsurprisingly, was huge.
These suckers are addictive. There’s the familiar greenness of broccoli, mixed with the hot spark of fresh ginger and the soothing saltiness of hoisin and soy, all in one crispy-soft bite. I’m a broccoli fiend anyway, so these hit the spot with me, but even those who are suspicious of broccoli will very likely enjoy these. With the wonton wrappers, the potstickers came out bite-sized, perfect for dunking and munching one after the other after the other. Because there’s no meat or tofu to weigh these down, they feel almost insubstantial, which makes them effortless to eat. I was going to freeze half my batch for later, but I never got the chance, because Sam and I ate them all.
As far as dipping sauce options, anything light and soy-based would do terrifically here. My favorite dipping sauce–the one in the photo below–is just equal parts soy sauce and rice vinegar. I pinched a little of the chopped scallion from making the filling, added it to the sauce, then let the whole thing sit aside and mingle while the potstickers cooked. It was perfect. Highly recommended.
Broccoli Potstickers (makes about 60 potstickers)
Adapted from this recipe
Note: I’ve only ever made these with the round wonton wrappers, which are tasty but frustratingly finicky to work with. If you can, I’d recommend finding actual potsticker wrappers, which are thicker and sturdier. If you do go this way, you may have to play around with the amount of filling in each wrapper, and the cooking time and number of potstickers yielded may vary.
1 1/4 lb (about 1 medium bunch) broccoli
Water as needed
4 scallions, roughly chopped
2 large or 4 small garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp minced or finely grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp hoisin sauce, or to taste
1 tbsp soy sauce, or to taste
1 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar, or to taste
1 tsp Sriracha or other hot sauce, or to taste
1 tsp sesame oil, or to taste
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
To finish the potstickers:
About 60 round wonton wrappers (see note)
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water, plus more for steaming
Peanut oil or other neutral oil for pan-frying
Special equipment: large nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid
Cut the broccoli florets away from the stems, then peel and dice the stems into 1-inch pieces. In a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid, add enough water to come about 1/4 inch up the side of the pan. Bring to a boil, then add broccoli in a single layer. Reduce the heat to keep the liquid at a steady simmer. Cover and steam for about 3 minutes, or until the broccoli is crisp-tender. Drain thoroughly.
Transfer the steamed broccoli to the bowl of a food processor. Add scallions, garlic, ginger, 2 tbsp cornstarch, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, hot sauce, sesame oil, and salt. Pulse until the broccoli is finely chopped but not pureed, and everything is well-combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Set aside and let the filling mixture cool completely.
Place the dumpling wrappers under a damp paper towel to keep them from drying out. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tbsp cornstarch and 1/4 cup water to form a slurry. Working one at a time, remove a wrapper from under the towel and place 1 tsp filling in the center. Use a pastry brush or your finger to brush a little bit of the cornstarch slurry all the way around the edge of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper over the filling, then pleat and seal it using the one-sided pleat shown here or the peapod shape in this video. As you finish folding the potstickers, place them on a plate or a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel to keep the wrappers from drying out. (At this point, you can freeze the uncooked potstickers in a single layer on a baking sheet, then transfer to a zip-top bag and store in the freezer for up to 2 months.)
To cook the potstickers, heat about 1 tbsp of peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is very hot, add your first batch of potstickers in a circle flat side down, making sure they don’t touch. Depending on the size of the pan, you should be able to get about 10-12 potstickers in each batch. Fry the potstickers for 1-2 minutes, or until they are golden on the bottom. Add about 1/4 cup water to the pan, cover, and reduce the heat to medium. Let the potstickers steam for 3-4 minutes, or until the wrappers are cooked and the dumplings are firm to the touch. Remove the lid and continue to cook for 1 minute or so, or until the liquid in the pan is gone and the potstickers have started to sizzle again. Remove the potstickers to a plate and wipe out the pan with a paper towel. Repeat the process with the remaining potstickers.
Once the potstickers are fried, serve them with your favorite dipping sauce.