'Check, Please! Bay Area Kids' Presents: Lai Hong Lounge's Pork Potstickers
Featured on this week’s Check, Please! Bay Area Kids, Lai Hong Lounge is a destination for family dim sum meals in San Francisco’s historic Chinatown. Guests tick off orders on illustrated menus, choosing from the restaurant’s 130 Cantonese offerings. On most weekends, the tables in the red dining room are filled with multigenerational families conversing and connecting over baskets of steaming siu mai and xiao long bao.
The beauty of dim sum, which translates to “little pieces of the heart,” is the experience of gathering together over food. For many, the recent closures of dining rooms have meant the loss of vital social connection and family time.
During shelter-in-place, Lai Hong Lounge is working to bring the dim sum experience into people’s living rooms through takeout and delivery beginning May 13th. The restaurant is also sharing its pork potsticker recipe with KQED. According to Tiffany, the manager and daughter of the owners, ”This recipe is very forgiving. Once you’ve mastered the dough, there are endless possibilities and combinations to fill it.”
While we wait to return to leisurely meals in crowded dining rooms, practice making these classic pork potstickers at home to share across a kitchen table.
Serves 6-8, Makes about 40 potstickers
- 1 lb all-purpose flour plus extra to prevent sticking
- 6 oz boiling water
- 6 oz cool water (room temp is fine)
- 1½ lbs ground pork (or any other ground meat)
- Tip: If you want a more springy meat, finely chop whole pork or another meat of your choosing until it reaches the consistency of pre-ground meat. It takes a bit of a long time but is well worth the effort.
- ¼ lb cabbage (julienne or finely chopped)
- ¼ lb chives (if you want to omit chives, double the amount of cabbage)
- Tip: Chives give the filling an extra, acidic flavor that cuts the sweetness of the cabbage. If using a gamier meat, chives also help tone down the gaminess.
- 1½ tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1½ tbsp oil (vegetable, corn, canola, avocado, or whatever you prefer)
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp soy sauce
- ½ tsp ground white pepper
- Optional: spices of your choosing, such as chili flakes, cayenne pepper, or paprika
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour with the boiling water. Mix, add the cold water and mix again. You'll know the dough is formed when it resembles a smooth mass that's pliable. Once the dough is formed, cover and let sit for 30 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, combine the ground pork, sugar, salt, soy sauce and white pepper. Mix until well until it resembles a paste. We like to pick the mixture up and throw it back into the bowl repeatedly to knead the ingredients together.
- Add the 1½ tbsp of flour. Mix until combined and then add the 1½ tbsp of oil. Mix well.
- Add the cabbage and chives and mix until evenly distributed.
- Set your filling aside.
- After the dough has rested for 30 minutes, dust your workplace generously with some flour.
- Roll the dough into a log. Cut into about 40 segments. These will be the dumpling wrappers. Dust your workplace and the dough with more flour to prevent sticking. As you begin to roll out the wrappers, cover the dough you aren’t working with a kitchen towel. This will prevent it from drying out.
- Take a rolling pin (we use one about the size of a boba straw) and roll out each piece of dough into a thin circle. You want the dough to be thin but not so thin that it breaks easily when stuffed. Aim for about the thickness of a credit card. Be sure to keep the middle of the wrapper a little bit thicker than the edges.
- Once you have all the circles rolled out, it is time to fill! Take about 1 tbsp of the filling and place it into the middle of the circle. Fold the wrapper in half and pinch the edges together to enclose the filling. If you have extra filling leftover, you can flatten it out and pan-fry it like a meat patty.
- In a pan on high heat, place potstickers around 1 to 1.5 inches apart from each other. Fill the pan with water until it covers to about half the height of the potsticker. Cover.
- Cook until the water boils. Once the water is boiling, turn to low heat so that the water is still simmering. Continue to cook on low for 8 minutes.
- Once 8 minutes have passed, pour out any water.
- Add 1-2 tbsp of a neutral oil of your choice and tilt the pan to ensure the bottom of the pan is completely oiled. Pan fry the potstickers until the bottoms are golden brown.
Check out the Check, Please! Bay Area Kids episode featuring Lai Hong Lounge as well as mini-golf pub-grub bites at San Francisco's Urban Putt and wood-fired pizzas at Redwood City's Vesta.