There are many gluten-free and near gluten-free dumplings in the Asian repertory but most people gravitate toward pot stickers. I regularly field inquiries about GF dumplings via email and in my Craftsy online Asian dumpling class. I don’t blame people. Who wants to miss out on dumplings? Plus, Chinese pan-fried dumplings are seriously good, with a contrast of crisp bottoms, tender-chewy skins and juicy filling. The filling is easy to make gluten-free (basically, just replace regular soy sauce with one that is wheat-free). The trick is the dough.
Pot stickers are traditionally made with a wheat flour wrapper. I’ve tinkered with several gluten-free wrapper doughs over the years and always go back to one adapted from Laura Russell’s Gluten-Free Asian Cookbook. The gluten-free dumpling dough combines tapioca starch, millet, glutinous rice flour and xanthan gum. The texture is soft and can be a little hard to work with but the result is chewy tender. If you’d like a hearty wrapper, try this gluten-free dumpling dough with sorghum flour.
Someone once asked: If you can use all purpose regular flour for dumpling wrappers, why can’t you do the same with an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend? Because all-purpose gluten free flour are blends created for popular western foods such as cookies. And if you look around, there are special blends for bread. Dumplings more or less fall in the bread category. To make a nice pot sticker wrapper requires blending your own flour mixture.
Keeping a gluten-free diet can be expensive. To source the dry ingredients for the dough, head to a health food store, preferably one with a bulk bin section to save money. You can buy as much as you want. I shop at a place called Staff of Life where xanthan gum is sold in the bulk spice aisle.
A regular supermarket may likely have the Mochiko Blue Star brand of boxed glutinous rice flour; it’s a staple at Asian markets. Otherwise, I think that Bob’s Red Mill is a good substitute for the glutinous rice flour. Xanthan gum binds things together. If you are avoiding it, try finely ground psyllium.
Because gluten-free dough lacks elasticity, the tortilla press shortcut isn’t needed for rolling out wrappers. You don’t get out of using the dowel rolling pin though. If you mess up, roll up the dough and start over; no resting period needed.
How do gluten-free pot stickers cook up? Compared to regular wheat flour pot stickers, gluten-free pot stickers have thicker skins. It’s the nature of the dough. That said, potstickers made from this dough are quite good and will make a gluten-free person happy.
The filling choice is up to you. One batch of this gluten-free dumpling dough is enough for 2 cups. Try the chanterelle, shrimp and chicken pot sticker filling or the tempeh and scallion pot sticker filling. If you have Asian Dumplings, the fillings in the first chapter, with exception to the one for Shanghai soup dumplings, would work here.
If you have tweaks or suggestions, do contribute them.
Gluten-Free Pot stickers
Yield: 32 pot stickers
- 3 3/8 ounces (95 g) tapioca starch
- 3 3/8 ounces (95 g) millet flour
- 4 3/8 ounces (122 g) glutinous (sweet) rice flour, such as Mochiko Blue Star Brand, plus more as needed
- 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
- 3/4 cup just-boiled water (bring to a boil, let rest off heat for about 1 minute to calm and slightly cool)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons cold water
- 2 cups dumpling filling (such as any from the first chapter of Asian Dumplings)
- Dumpling dipping sauce of your choice
- Combine the tapioca starch, millet flour, rice flour and xanthan gum in a bowl. Stir in the just-boiled water to create a crumbly moist mixture.
- Switch to using your hand to work in the 1 to 2 tablespoons of cold water. Aim for a cohesive, smooth dough. Put into a plastic zip-top bag and close, squeezing out all the air. Before using, let sit at room temperature to hydrate, between 15 minutes and 2 hours.
- To form dumplings, work with a quarter or half of the dough at a time, keeping the unused portion covered to avoid drying. Roll it into a rope, about 1-inch thick. Cut crosswise into 8 (if using a quarter of the total amount) or 16 (for half of the total amount).
- Coat the cut ends with glutinous rice flour to prevent sticking. Smack each piece into a little disc. Dust your work surface with extra glutinous rice flour as needed; you may need a lot depending on how soft your dough is. Use a wooden dowel rolling pin to roll out each wrapper to 3 1/4 to 3 1/2-inches (8.125 to 8.75 cm) wide.
- Fill, close, and create the shape you want. If the wrapper seems dry and doesn’t self-seal, wet the edge with water! Make a simple half moon to start, then finish with a center pleat to make the dumpling sit in the frying pan. If you like, go for a more complicated pea pod or pleated crescent. Repeat until all the wrappers are filled before working on the remaining portion(s) of dough. Place shaped dumplings on a baking sheet lined with parchment and sprinkled with glutinous rice flour. Cook soon, refrigerate for several hours, or freeze for up to a month.
- To cook, pan-fry the dumplings in batches – enough to cover the skillet. Use a nonstick skillet with enough oil to lightly film the bottom. Over medium-high heat, brown the dumpling bottoms, add 1/4 to 1/3 cup water. Cover, lower the heat, and let the water bubble away. Move the lid ajar when you hear faint frying noises then completely uncover when the frying gets serious like rain. Fry the bottoms to a crisp lovely brown, then off heat, transfer the pot stickers to a platter. Serve them crisp bottoms up with the sauce of your choice.
If you have the enhanced e-version of Asian Dumplings, these technique videos are included. Otherwise, see the printed book for details and/or watch my videos below:
- How to roll out Asian dumpling wrappers
- Basic Asian dumpling shapes: Half Moon, Pea Pod and Big Hug
- Advanced dumpling shapes: Pleated Crescent
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