Spicy Sichuan Vegan Potstickers: Spiced with bright Sichuan peppercorns, these simple vegetarian potstickers are anything but ordinary!
Having spent the last three months as a vegetarian, my recent trip to China was a bit surprising.
This was my first time ever traveling as a vegetarian and I was a bit nervous that I’d go hungry for most of the trip.
Before I left, I informed my two meat-eating travel companions that I had taken the following pre-cautions:
- I saved an image on my phone which contains the Mandarin Chinese characters for “I do not eat meat. I only eat vegetables.” I’d been told ahead of time that there isn’t a true translation for the word “vegetarian,” so I wanted to make myself clear.
- I made a deal with myself that I would try my very best to avoid meat, but that I wasn’t going to cause a stink or ruin anyone’s good time because of it. More than once on the trip I found myself eating around a few pieces of pork.
- If all else fails, eat lots and lots of rice.
As it turned out, nearly everywhere I went had vegetarian options, or at least plenty of options for vegetable side dishes that I could order together to make a meal.
My two friends who went on the trip with me almost always preferred my vegetable dishes over whatever they were having, with the exception of a few pork dumplings that we walked FOUR HOURS to get to (I blame our lack of access to Google maps, our inability to read Mandarin Chinese, and Anthony Bourdain’s obscure restaurant recommendations for this problem).
Becoming wildly jealous of the amazing dumpling and potsticker options my friends were wolfing down, I did my best to order some vegetarian options which were always a bit… underwhelming. Not *bad*, but nothing to write home about.
I knew that as soon as I got home, I was going to make my own version of vegetarian potstickers that would satisfy my craving for authentic Chinese food.
The first time I tried out my new vegetarian potstickers recipe, I added an egg to the filling mixture because I was worried that the cabbage and mushrooms wouldn’t stick together very well. This resulted in… let’s say “unusually interesting” veggie potstickers.
I nixed the egg, and they came out just like I dreamed they would.
No egg = vegan potstickers recipe! YAY!
In a recipe with so few ingredients, the use of fresh and high quality products is of the utmost importance.
I opted for baby bella mushrooms and Chinese (aka “Napa”) cabbage, then seasoned the filling with hoisin sauce and a few herbs and spices.
As I’ve mentioned in about a thousand posts by now, high quality spices make ALL the difference, which is why I love to get mine from Frontier Co-op. This love affair must be getting serious, because they offered to sponsor this recipe and I’m expecting a marriage proposal any day now.
Just like my recipes, every spice sold by Frontier has a story behind it. Whenever we work together, we talk about cooking with purpose, which for me is about opening up to and appreciating different cultures.
For so many people, the very first thing that gets them interested in a new culture or destination is the food.
Some of you might recall that when I started traveling, I chose my first destination (Thailand) entirely because I liked Thai food.
I love to bring new cuisines and cultural stories into my own kitchen, and I hope that my recipes inspire you to do the same in yours!
I typically start my recipe development process by raiding my spice cabinet for inspiration, and this time it was no different.
To satisfy my need for ALL FLAVOR ALL THE TIME, I spiced the filling for the vegetable potstickers with dried scallions, onion flakes, garlic powder, and freshly ground Sichuan peppercorns.
Sichuan peppercorns are my latest addiction; the spice is subtle and almost has a citrus vibe to it. You don’t really notice the spice until you’re done eating and the tip of your tongue is a little tingly. I’m now keeping my grinder on the dinner table next to the salt and pepper. It’s good on everything but pancakes.
The potsticker dipping sauce is a really simple concoction of soy sauce, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, and more dried scallions. Salty and tangy, with a hint of heat and greenery for color.
One final note about the recipe: make sure you’re using “gyoza” wrappers and not “wonton” wrappers for the potstickers. “Gyoza” wrappers are thicker, like pasta, while “wonton” wrappers are thinner, like phyllo dough. If you want to call this a vegan gyoza recipe, a veggie gyoza recipe, vegetable gyoza recipe or even a vegetarian gyoza recipe, I’m okay with it – no matter what you call it, you will call it DELICIOUS!!!
Here’s the Recipe!
Spicy Sichuan Vegan Potstickers Recipe
For the Potstickers
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms - minced
- 4 cups very thinly sliced Chinese - "Napa" cabbage
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon dried scallions
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
- 24 gyoza wrappers*
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
For the Dipping Sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon dried scallions
- Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook for another 8-10 minutes, until the cabbage is soft and the pan begins to look dry. Add the hoisin sauce, onion flakes, Sichuan pepper, scallions, garlic powder, and ginger; stir well. Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, prepare the dipping sauce by combining the soy sauce, vinegar, red pepper flakes, and remaining dried scallions in a small, shallow serving bowl. Arrange the gyoza wrappers in a single layer on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Place a small bowl of water next to the baking sheets.
- Once the filling is cool enough to handle, place one teaspoon of filling in the center of each gyoza wrapper. Dip a finger in the water and run it along the entire edge of the round wrapper closest to you. Form the potsticker by bringing two sides of the wrap together to form a half moon shape. Begin by pinching the center of the potsticker and work your way from the center out to both sides, pinching to create a seal as you go. Place the completed potsticker back on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining wrappers.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet with a lid over medium heat. Working in batches, add potstickers in a single layer and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes, until they begin to brown. Add ½ cup of water to the pan and shake gently to loosen the potstickers from the bottom of the pan. Cover and allow to steam until the dough is cooked, about 3 minutes. Transfer to paper-towel lined plate and repeat with remaining batch of potstickers. Serve with dipping sauce.
My good friends over at Frontier Co-op compensated me for my time to create this recipe. As always, all content and opinions are my own!