This recipe is part of DIM SUM Steamed and Fried Dumplings cooking class.
A Little Too Obsessed With Beautiful Dumplings
First, there was a picture in Dim Sum cookbook (by Janice Wong, Photography © Kevin Koh, Lighedpixels). Actually, I bought the book because of that picture, and the recipe with crunchy lace was the first one I tried in my kitchen. It didn’t work. Many times. Online search showed nothing in English with proven and attractive results exists either. I’ve got all kinds of starches in MT Asian Supermarket, rolled my sleeves, and started experimenting — spent a lot of time and wasted a lot of ingredients mastering this recipe!
Way to Success with Crunchy Lace
Wheat starch is the one and the only that makes the result consistent. It can’t be substituted with wheat flour. Wheat starch is has only traces of gluten, but that amount is what makes it perfect for the task. Wheat flour contains too much gluten. Corn, potato, arrowroot, tapioca, etc. starches don’t have any gluten at all.
Adding slightly salted chicken stock to the mixture improves the flavor of crunch lace. In fact, it makes it delicious! Don’t skip it.
Amounts, timing, and temperature are very important in this recipe. This recipe is for 6 large frozen potstickers cooked on 9″ skillet with perfectly matching lid.
The structure of lace is related to the amount of thin starchy suspension and the space it occupies when cooking. In other words, the your skillet is larger than 9″D, you need more of starchy suspension. If you cook more then 6 dumplings in 9″D skillet, you need less of starchy suspension.
Total cooking time can be from 6 to 9 minutes, depends on the level of heat — medium-high to high. Because even 6 minutes is a long time for cooking on high heat, it is important to not overcook dumplings. It means you have to choose filling wisely (no lean proteins!), make dumplings larger, and start cooking when they are still frozen.
There are different ways to serve potstickers with crunchy lace. Originally, it’s a portion of 6+ potstickers cooked in a wok, flipped, and served with a lace up. It is very difficult to make at home if you do not have a proper wok station and skills. The lace is pretty delicate and not so easy to transfer to a serving plate without deforming or breaking it. Individual potstickers with a piece of lace around each one are easier to make on a regular skillet.
Your skillet needs to be 1) with matching lid to make sure there is enough steam under it for initial cooking; 2) with ideally flat bottom — no indentations or deformations neither on cold skillet or when on high heat!; and 3) with non-stick surface of any kind (seasoned steal, cast iron, or stainless steel are good). If the bottom of your skillet is not flat, the starch suspension will create puddles, the structure of the lace will be irregular and missing in some areas. In other words, it won’t be perfect. It’ll still be tasty though.
Lace for 11″ Skillet
- 2 tsp wheat starch
- 2 tbsp (30ml) chicken stock
- 150ml cold water
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp (20ml) avocado oil
Gas stove, medium range: 3 minutes on high, closed lid + 3 minutes on medium, closed lid + 1 minute on low, opened lid.