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Food & Recipes

Want the Crispiest Potstickers Without Using Tons of Oil? Make a ‘Dumpling Skirt’

You'll never want to cook potstickers another way again.

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When I need a light but satisfying meal, I panfry potstickers. These dumplings (also called gyoza) cook in under 10 minutes to golden brown perfection; plus, pork and cabbage is my favorite meat and veggie combo. The only downside to panfrying is the heavy-handed oil required to get the crispy results I crave. It splatters splatters grease everywhere.

Recently, though, I found a quick cooking hack called the “dumpling skirt,” which lets me make my beloved crunchy dumplings without the mess. Keep reading to learn how you, too, can enjoy mouthwatering potstickers sans excess oil.

How To Make a Dumpling Skirt

A dumpling skirt (sometimes called “lace”) is a crisp, wafer-like layer on top of dumplings. The layer is made by combining flour or cornstarch, water, and salt. This mixture is then poured into a pan with the dumplings and cooked until the surface is brown. Food blogger Lisa Lin of HealthyNibblesAndBits.com prefers using all-purpose flour, as it yields the crispiest dumpling skirt. She also suggests using a nonstick pan to prevent the dumpling skirt from sticking to the bottom. Here’s her recipe, plus a video demonstrating how to make a dumpling skirt.

Ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup water
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • Tiny pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola or any neutral oil
  • 12 to 15 frozen or thawed dumplings (any flavor)

Directions:

  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Total time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 1 batch
  1. In measuring cup, make slurry by whisking water, flour, and salt until combined . Set aside.
  2. Heat large 12-inch nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil to pan and swirl. 
  3. Place dumplings in pan, focusing them towards the pan’s center. (This will ensure all dumplings fit onto a large plate, which will be necessary when you flip them in step 7, below). Cook dumplings 2 to 3 minutes, until bottoms start to turn golden. For frozen dumplings, cook additional 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Whisk slurry again. Holding pan lid and using it as a shield, pour slurry over pan. (There will be splattering when you pour liquid over hot oil in pan.) Distribute slurry evenly, ensuring all spaces between dumplings are covered.
  5. Reduce heat to medium, cover pan with lid, and cook dumplings 5 to 6 minutes. 
  6. Remove lid. Move pan around, focusing heat on pale areas of dumpling skirt until they turn golden. (Pale spots are where water hasn’t fully evaporated.) When entire dumpling skirt is golden, turn off heat.
  7. Place large plate over dumplings. With one hand holding plate in place and other hand holding pan’s handle, quickly and carefully flip dumplings so they are now over the plate. Lift pan to release the dumplings. (They should release easily).
  8. Serve dumplings immediately with favorite dipping sauce.

My Taste Test

To start, I (intentionally) broke a section of the dumpling skirt. This helped me pick up a potsticker more easily. The dumpling skirt’s super crunchy texture was truly love at first bite. Its pork and cabbage filling was sweet, and it complemented the heat from the chili oil I served with my potstickers perfectly.

This recipe may seem complicated — but I promise it’s easy to execute if you follow the directions. Plus, it’s a fun way to serve dumplings — especially if you’re like me and eat them at least once a week!

My test of a crispy dumpling skirt recipe
Alexandria Brooks
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