This recipe uses lamb with Middle Eastern spices combined with wonton wrappers and a cucumber-rice vinegar dip, a mix of Middle Eastern/Mediterranean and Asian ingredients.
The steam-then-pan-fry method gets you the slightly chewy texture of steamed dumplings on the top and the satisfying crispiness of fried dumplings on the bottom. Moistening the dumplings with a little olive oil prior to steaming them helps keep them from sticking to a metal steamer basket. As for the steaming time, I wrote at least five minutes because my first batch came out too sticky. Unfortunately, I wasn't looking at the clock so I'm not sure what my final steaming time ended up being. I steamed the dumplings until the wrapper began to be translucent. If you make them shumai style as I did, the top won't become translucent because there are several layers of dough pinched together, making the top thicker than the sides or bottom. I tried a few different dipping sauces with these, but this simple cucumber vinegar with salt was my favorite. - clintonhillbilly —clintonhillbilly
Test Kitchen Notes
These dumplings were so delicious and not at all difficult or fussy to make. The spices and potato in the filling gave them an earthiness and a more substantial bite. They were slightly chewy and the crustiness from browning added crunch. The mint put them squarely in the Middle Eastern flavor profile, and the cucumber-vinegar dipping sauce added that brightness that compliments mint and lamb. These dumplings could be served as a light entree accompanied by a salad. —Annie stader
Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet as cook onion, garlic, and potato until nicely browned. Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon cumin and stir to combine.
In a medium bowl, add onion, garlic and potato to the ground lamb. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon coriander, 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and fresh mint. Mix with your hands until well combined.
In the center of each potsticker wrapper, place a teaspoon or less of filling. Draw the wrapper up around the filling and twist at the top to seal. Moisten fingers with water if necessary.
Heat water in a saucepan with a steamer basket. Moisten hands with olive oil and place dumplings in the basket, coating with olive oil from your hands as you do so. Be careful not to crowd the basket as the dumplings will stick together—steam in batches if necessary. Cover and steam for at least 5 minutes.
In a heavy skillet, heat a 1/2 inch of oil until it begins to smoke. Remove dumplings from steamer basket and pan-fry until crispy and brown on the bottoms.
Using a citrus zester or fine grater, grate peeled cucumber over a small bowl. Cucumber juice, along with a little pulp, is the desired result. Add salt and rice vinegar and stir to combine.
Remove dumplings from skillet and drain on a paper towel. Serve with the cucumber dipping sauce while still hot.