How To Give Your Store-Bought Dumplings A Crispy Skirt

Store-bought frozen dumplings are the ultimate option for a quick, satisfying home-cooked meal ready in mere minutes. However, pan-fried frozen dumplings typically lack the wow factor required to convince your dinner guests that the dish was made from scratch.

And since many of us don't have the time or patience to make homemade dumplings on the regular, crafting a dumpling dish that adequately replicates a restaurant-quality meal with a fraction of the work is the goal. That's where a crispy skirt comes in. A lacy, crispy, delectably golden brown bottom is just what most store-bought dumplings need to transition from ordinary to extraordinary.

While creating simultaneously crunchy and tender potstickers may seem like a complicated process, in reality, the technique is simple enough for home cooks of all levels to pull off successfully. On her blog, Viet World Kitchen, Andrea Nguyen (author of "Asian Dumplings") offers some tips and tricks for making a crispy potsticker or dumpling skirt using a small number of pantry staples.

According to Nguyen, the key to a crispy skirt is a simple slurry made with just flour and water. To cook the dumplings using the popular fry-and-steam hybrid cooking method, begin by heating about a tablespoon of canola oil over medium heat in a nonstick skillet. When the oil is hot, add the frozen dumplings seam side up to the pan, and let them cook in the oil until the bottoms are golden brown (about 1 to 2 minutes).

A simple two-ingredient slurry will take your dumplings to the next level

While the dumplings are frying, Bon Appétit recommends whisking 4 teaspoons of all-purpose flour, 4 teaspoons of cornstarch, and ¼ teaspoon of salt into 2 cups of water. Once the flour has dissolved, you can also dress up your slurry with flavorful additions like vinegar. Bon Appétit suggests adding 3 tablespoons of rice vinegar to your slurry.

To add another special, restaurant-worthy touch, rearrange your steamed dumplings into a circular pattern with the edges of the dumplings pointed towards the center of the pan before adding the slurry. Pour the slurry over the dumplings, cover the pan with a lid, and let the dumplings continue cooking for 5 to 6 minutes.

Throughout the cooking process, the water in the slurry will evaporate and the flour will turn into a crispy skin that clings to the bottoms of your steamed dumplings. Run a spatula along the edges of the skirt to carefully dislodge the dumplings from the pan.

Present the crispy dumplings upside-down on a plate, putting the lacy golden skirt on full display, and serve with chili oil and soy sauce for dipping. This easy method can be used with frozen or fresh dumplings for the ultimate crunchy, savory snack ready in no time at all. With fillings like pork and cabbage, shrimp and lemongrass, and pork and chive, there's no reason not to give it a try on homemade dumplings as well.