There’s nothing quite as beautiful as a warm, plump dumpling.
Whether they’re the grab-and-go variety from a mom-and-pop dim sum shop loaded into a takeaway clamshell to be lugged home and devoured, or these vividly hued pot stickers from chef Brandon Jew, dumplings are a universal pleasure.
At his Chinatown restaurant, Mister Jiu’s, Jew and his crew dye the dough with natural food colorings like beets, squid ink, carrots and purple cabbage to achieve dramatic jewel-like tones. It’s one of many dishes that exemplify how Jew has masterfully bridged classic Cantonese cooking and contemporary California cuisine.
When the San Francisco native took over the Four Seas banquet hall in 2016, it was hailed as one of the most ambitious restaurants to open in decades. Accolades were swift and buzz was abundant, recalling the neighborhood’s culinary heyday when grand restaurants like Johnny Kan’s and the Empress of China were a hot ticket with celebrities and socialites.
To produce enough dumplings to feed hungry diners night in and night out, Jew and his team roll out the dough into thin sheets using a pasta roller, and then cut it into rounds for filling. To keep things simple for a much smaller batch for home cooks, we’ve adapted Jew’s recipe by sticking to a hand-rolled method.
Rather than pork, Jew’s pot stickers are filled with ground chicken, ginger and Swiss chard — both leaves and finely diced stems, which provide fresh, pleasantly bitter notes, as well as texture. For a bit of heat, Jew relies on a heady hit of ground white pepper.
Dumplings symbolize wealth and prosperity, so these are especially appropriate for the Lunar New Year — and the red-tinted wrappers, which represent good fortune, make them particularly festive.
Mister Jiu’s Potstickers
Makes approximately 24 pot stickers
- 1 bunch Swiss chard
- 6 ounces ground chicken
- ¼ cup chopped scallions
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for blanching
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- ¾ cup beet juice
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Cornstarch for dusting
To finish & serve
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Black vinegar
- Peeled and julienned young ginger
For the filling: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Separate the Swiss chard leaves from the stems. Finely dice enough of the stems to make about ¼ cup. Set aside. Blanch the leaves until tender, about 2 minutes. Blot with paper towels to remove excess moisture and chop.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the chard leaves and stems with the remaining filling ingredients. Set aside.
For the wrappers: In a medium saucepan, bring the beet juice to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and skim off any foam.
Place the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and slowly add the hot beet juice, mixing with a wooden spoon just until dough begins to form.
Lightly flour your work surface, turn out dough and knead until smooth, about 7 minutes. (If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour as you knead.) Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
Lightly dust your work surface with cornstarch and shape dough into 2 logs, each about 1 foot long. Cut dough into 1-inch rounds. Keeping dough loosely covered with plastic wrap as you work, flatten each piece of dough with your hand. Dust a rolling pin with cornstarch and roll out dough so you have thin circles about 3 inches in diameter.
To finish and serve: Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment.
Place a small mound of filling in the center of each circle and seal by pleating the top edge to form a half-moon shape. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. As you work, place the filled pot stickers on the prepared baking sheets and loosely cover with plastic wrap. (At this point, the pot stickers can be made ahead and frozen for up to 1 month.)
Place a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Arrange the pot stickers in the pan in a single layer, pleated side up. Fry the pot stickers until they are golden brown on the bottom, about 1½ to 2 minutes.
Carefully pour ¼ cup water into the pan (it may splatter when the water hits the oil) and immediately cover. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the water has mostly evaporated, about 4 minutes. Uncover and let the pot stickers cook another minute or 2 to let the bottoms brown and crisp up a bit more.
Serve hot with black vinegar garnished with ginger.