Whenever I order meals at a Chinese or Japanese restaurant I always look for pot stickers on the menu. The tasty Asian dumplings are filled with pork or chicken and veggies and cooked with a perfect balance of steaming and frying. The reason I order them from restaurants is because I can’t seem to reach that balance when I cook them myself. My dumplings always stick to the pot. Originally a Chinese dumpling, the Japanese version is sometimes called gyoza. They can be boiled, deep-fried or steamed, but the preferred cooking method is to fry the bottoms of the dumplings for a bit of crispness and to finish them with steam. We found five brands of Asian pot stickers at local grocery stores and tasted the pork version of each option. We followed the manufacturer’s cooking directions, using a bit of oil in the frying pan then finishing the pot stickers with water under a lid to steam-cook them to completion. With the help of one of my tasters, we were able to cook four of the options successfully. But we burned the last brand, taking our eyes off the stove for a few seconds. Luckily, we had plenty left in each bag for a second batch.
Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent