Give your potstickers crispy "wings"

Photo: Artit_Wongpradu (iStock)

A few years back I started making homemade pork and cabbage gyoza, a laborious but worthwhile endeavor. Making and folding homemade gyoza are a favorite “let’s spend time together not watching TV” event at my house. A little music, a little Asahi beer, and just watch the plump little crescent dumplings pile up.

More often, the gyoza (or potsticker) craving strikes and there is nary a homemade one in sight. So I use frozen and make them one step better by giving them the “hane” treatment. “Hane” means wings in Japanese—it creates translucent halo of crispy disc that joins one gyoza to its pan neighbor perfectly. Hane mixtures include either flour or corn starch, or both, mixed with water, and poured into a hot pan.

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I cook mine a little longer and add a bit more water to the batter to get the crispiest hane. Through trial and error I learned that you can’t put too much oil in the pan, or the batter will boil rather than crisp. Your batter can’t be too thick or you’ll open the pan lid to find a bubbly, gelatinous pancake. And you will most likely mess up a time or two before you truly nail it. But it’s delicious practice.

Some frozen potstickers and gyozas are pre-cooked, but my preference is for uncooked. You’ll steam them longer, which also gives the hane longer to get crispy and lightly golden. Since you will need to invert the pan onto a large platter, having less oil in the pan reduces the chance of hot oil splashing on to your arm. You need that arm to break off shards of crisp lacy wings, after all.


Gyoza “hane” wings

Photo: A.E. Dwyer
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  • 1 package of frozen gyoza or potstickers
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp. corn starch
  • 1 Tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 10 oz. water (1 1/4 cups)

In a jug or measuring cup, whisk water, corn starch and flour together well, so that no lumps remain. Be sure to whisk again before pouring into the pan later.

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Pour a tablespoon of oil in a 12-inch nonstick pan, set over a medium high heat. Wipe out excess oil with a paper towel, so an even sheen of oil remains. When the pan is hot, add 6-8 frozen potstickers, flat side down, and cook for the recommended time for the pan frying step. Make sure potstickers aren’t touching one another.

Once the the potstickers are golden brown on the bottoms, pour enough hane mixture around and between them (but not on top of them) to create a thin but complete layer. You will likely not use all the mixture.

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Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and reduce the heat to medium. Steam for the recommended package time, usually around 4-8 minutes, depending on whether or not the potstickers are pre-cooked..

Photo: A.E. Dwyer
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Remove the lid, and allow any excess moisture to evaporate. The hane should look lacy, and beginning to crisp around the edges. Cook for another 3-4 minutes until lightly golden. Loosen around the edges of the hane to make sure it’s not sticking. The hane disc and potstickers should be moving around as one unit. Using a plate larger than your pan, bravely invert the pan onto the plate, so that your golden hane side is facing up.

After devouring the first batch, realize you want more, and repeat the process for remaining potstickers.

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