Kid-friendly "Gung Hay Fat Choy" New Year Potstickers Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: "Gung Hay Fat Choy" New Year Potstickers

Recipe: "Gung Hay Fat Choy" New Year Potstickers

"Gung Hay Fat Choy" New Year Potstickers

by Erin Fletter
Photo by Marie Sonmez Photography/
prep time
40 minutes
cook time
10 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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"Gung Hay Fat Choy" New Year Potstickers

What better way to explore the Lunar New Year than with a platter full of pan-fried potstickers? Dumplings are a sign of good luck and fortune in Chinese culture. Potstickers are unique because of their cooking method: they’re both pan-fried and steamed (first fried until golden brown on one side, then steamed to finish the cooking process). This combo method makes potstickers absolutely delicious. It took about 5 minutes for the test batch to disappear! “Gung Hay Fat Choy,” or Happy New Year. Wishing you playfulness and fortune for the year!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • pan-fry :

    to fry in a pan in a small amount of fat.

  • peel :

    to remove the skin or rind from something using your hands or a metal tool.

  • seal :

    to close tightly, keeping filling inside.

  • steam :

    to cook food by heating it in the steam from boiling water.

Equipment Checklist

  • Skillet
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Mixing bowl
  • Metal spoon (for peeling ginger)
  • Grater
  • Small bowl
  • Measuring spoons
  • Whisk
  • Wooden spoon
  • Heat-resistant spatula or tongs


"Gung Hay Fat Choy" New Year Potstickers

  • 1/2 lb cabbage (any kind)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger, from a 2" piece
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 T soy sauce **(for GLUTEN/SOY ALLERGY sub coconut aminos)**
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp arrowroot starch
  • 2 T toasted sesame oil **(for SESAME ALLERGY sub olive or vegetable oil)**
  • 1 package wonton wrappers **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub rice paper wrappers)**
  • 3 T olive oil

Food Allergen Substitutions

"Gung Hay Fat Choy" New Year Potstickers

  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute coconut aminos for soy sauce. Substitute rice paper wrappers for wonton wrappers.
  • Soy: Substitute coconut aminos for soy sauce.
  • Sesame: Substitute olive or vegetable oil for sesame oil.


"Gung Hay Fat Choy" New Year Potstickers

chop + mince + combine

Chop 1/2 pound cabbage into tiny pieces. Mince 1 garlic clove and 2 green onions. Combine veggies into a mixing bowl.

peel + grate + combine

Peel 1 2 inches piece of ginger using a small metal spoon. Grate 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger and add to a small bowl. Grate 1 green apple and 1 carrot. Combine grated ginger, apple, and carrot with chopped and minced veggies.

measure + whisk + sauté

Measure and whisk together 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons rice vinegar, and 1 teaspoon arrowroot starch. Heat 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil in a skillet and sauté veggies until soft. Add soy sauce mixture and continue cooking for about 30 seconds. Turn off heat and scoop veggies into a bowl.

trace + spoon + seal

Using wonton wrappers, dip a finger in water and trace the edges of each wrapper. Spoon 1 to 2 teaspoons of sautéed veggies in the middle of each wrapper. Fold over in half or diagonally and press the edges to seal the filling closed. Repeat until all of the veggie mixture is used. [pan-fry + steam + dip] Adult steps: Coat the bottom of a skillet with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is hot but not smoking, carefully add the potstickers and fry until golden brown. Then turn over each potsticker and add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water to the skillet. Cover and let potstickers finish cooking by steaming for another 1 to 2 minutes. Remove potstickers from the pan and enjoy with Chinese Sweet Five-Spice Dipping Sauce (see recipe)!

Surprise Ingredient: Ginger!

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Photo by kostrez/

Hi!  I’m Ginger!

"My name is Ginger, and I'm happy to make your acquaintance! You may have tasted me in lots of sweet foods and drinks, like gingerbread, ginger snap cookies, pumpkin pie, and ginger ale. But, I also add my unique flavor to savory dishes, like stir-fries and potstickers! If you use my fresh rhizome or root in a recipe, delicately peel my beige, papery skin (the back of a metal spoon works great!) and grate my juicy flesh into the food! I also come in a dried and ground form and as crystallized ginger. As a bonus, I might even make your tummy ache feel better!"


  • Ginger is a native plant of India and China and is a common cooking spice used throughout the world.
  • Ginger is one of the oldest plants used for medicine. 
  • Which spices do you think are most commonly found on kitchen tables around the world? If you said salt and pepper, you'd be right! It truly depends on where you are in the world. In the ninth century, Europeans placed powdered ginger on the table alongside salt and pepper.
  • A long, long time ago, ginger was used to preserve food and keep it from getting rotten.
  • Greeks used to eat ginger wrapped in bread to treat digestive problems. After a while, they added ginger to bread dough to create the first recipe for gingerbread! 
  • Ginger grows in many tropical countries, including the Caribbean islands. However, ginger from Jamaica is considered by many to be the best! Do you know where your ginger originated?
  • Ginger is also grown in Florida, Hawaii, and along the eastern coast of Texas.

Anatomy & Etymology

  • Related to cardamom and turmeric, the ginger plant is part of the Zingiberaceae or Ginger family. We use the "rhizome" part of the plant, which are underground stems. Sometimes we can eat the rhizome part of a plant, and sometimes we can't! For example, bamboo plants are rooted underground by rhizomes, but the rhizome is not the part of the plant we eat—instead, we eat the bamboo shoots that come up out of the ground. But we do eat the rhizomes of plants such as ginger, turmeric, and arrowroot! 
  • Rhizomes are also the storage compartment of the plant. What do rhizomes store? Starches, proteins, and other nutrients—that's why we eat this part of the plant (because it's nutritious!).
  • Ginger Root is characterized by its aroma: it smells strong, sweet, and woodsy. Its skin is not something we eat—we peel the skin to reveal ginger's coarse, stringy, aromatic flesh.
  • The ginger plant looks like a reed and has been used in the kitchen and as medicine for the past 5,000 years. A ginger plant can reach three to four feet tall.
  • The word "ginger" comes from late Old English "gingifer," from medieval Latin "gingiber," from Greek "zingiberis," and from Pali, a Middle Indo-Aryan language "siṅgivera."

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • Fresh ginger is available year-round, where you can find it in the grocery store produce section.
  • When selecting fresh ginger, choose robust, firm roots that feel heavy, and have a spicy fragrance and smooth skin. 
  • Ginger root length is a sign of age, and mature rhizomes will be spicier and more fibrous than younger roots.
  • Ginger should not be cracked or withered—these are signs of aged ginger past its prime. 
  • To store ginger root, wrap it in a paper towel or plastic wrap or put it in a plastic bag before placing it in the refrigerator for two to three weeks. You can also freeze it for up to three months. 
  • According to many chefs and cooks, fresh ginger is best and can be added to sauces, soups, and stews. Dried and powdered ginger has a more spicy, intense flavor and is often used in baked desserts like gingerbread, gingersnaps, and ginger cake.
  • Ginger can be sliced, minced, grated, or left whole to steep in recipes (minced ginger has the most intense flavor). It can also be dried, pickled, crystallized, candied, or preserved.
  • Ginger tastes sweet, spicy, and pungent and increases flavor in a range of dishes, from stir-fried beef or tofu to ginger tea. 


  • Ginger continues to be used to treat nausea and to prevent seasickness.
  • Ginger may also have anti-inflammatory properties and increase digestive function.
  • Despite its natural properties, any medicinal use of ginger should be discussed with a doctor. Limiting the amount you take will help avoid heartburn. It may also interfere with anticoagulant medicine.


History of Potstickers!

Photo by from my point of view/
  • Potstickers are a popular New Year's treat in China and other countries throughout Asia, but you can eat them throughout the year. 
  • A potsticker is typically a crescent-shaped Chinese dumpling that may be filled with ground meat or vegetables. They are often served with a dip made of oil, vinegar, and soy sauce. 
  • Traditionally, potstickers were thought to have been invented during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25 to 220 CE) by Zhang Zhongjing, who practiced traditional Chinese medicine. According to the story, he created potstickers to treat his patient's frostbitten ears, so the dumplings were called "tender ears" (Chinese: jiao'er). His recipe then became used as something to eat. 
  • Other origin possibilities are that potstickers came from the dumplings of the Western Han dynasty (206 BCE to 9 CE), called "jiaozi," becoming their current name. 
  • The Japanese borrowed the potsticker recipe they discovered in China during World War II and called their version "gyoza." It has a thinner dough wrapper and more garlic in the filling. Both versions are delicious!

Let's Learn About China!

Photo by XiXinXing/
  • China's official name is The People's Republic of China. It became a republic in 1912; however, the first Chinese dynasty appeared around 2100 BCE. China is one of the largest countries in the world, and it has the most people!
  • The official language of China is Mandarin. However, various dialects are spoken in different regions of the country. For example, in Shanghai, they speak Shanghainese.
  • China is around the same size as the continental United States but only has one official time zone. The continental US has four.  
  • China's capital city is Beijing, while the most populated city is Shanghai.  
  • The Great Wall in China is the largest man-made construction on Earth, stretching an incredible 5,500 miles. Its builders used mortar that included sticky rice to bind the Great Wall's stones! 
  • China's land is diverse, with high mountains, low coastal lands, deserts, and damp tropical areas. Just like the United States!
  • The Chinese are known for their papermaking, porcelain, and silk cloth. In addition to paper, they also invented the compass during the Han dynasty (202 BCE to 220 CE), woodblock printing in the Tang dynasty (by 7th century), gunpowder in the Tang dynasty (9th century), and movable type made of porcelain (for printing) between 1039 and 1048 CE, during the Song dynasty.
  • Chinese cuisine varies by region. Climate, local agriculture, ethnic and class backgrounds, and outside influences all contribute to China's food diversity. There are eight major regional Chinese cuisines: Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Szechuan, and Zhejiang.
  • Wheat is farmed in northern China, so noodles and other foods made from wheat are consumed more in the North. On the other hand, rice is cultivated in southern China; therefore, rice is a staple in the South.  
  • Tea has long been part of Chinese culture across all parts of society. China was the first country to grow and drink tea and, today, it exports the most green tea worldwide.

What's It Like to Be a Kid in China?

  • School success is greatly emphasized in China. Chinese kids go to school five days a week (six days before 1995), and their school day runs from 7:30 or 8 am until 4 or 5 pm. After school, they might do homework for three hours.
  • In primary school, kids learn the Chinese language, which is made up of about 7,000 characters, not letters. The characters represent words. By the time they finish primary school, they will have learned about 4,000 characters. They will also learn a foreign language, especially English.
  • Kids may not have aunts, uncles, or cousins because, at one time, the Chinese government allowed couples to have just one child due to the high population. That later changed to two, and in May 2021, the policy changed again to allow three kids, so now a child may have a sibling or two. 
  • Some of the holidays that kids celebrate with their families are Chinese New Year, the Dragon Boat Festival, and National Day. National Day is celebrated with fireworks and parades to commemorate the formal proclamation of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949. 
  • Kids enjoy playing ping pong, basketball, volleyball, and badminton. They also play video games and ride their bikes. 
  • Rice and noodles are staples, and kids may eat these at every meal. They'll eat their food using chopsticks, not forks!

THYME for a Laugh

Where do Sticky Fingers Cooking chefs live? 

In gingerbread houses, of course!

THYME for a Laugh

What do vegetables like to drink? 

Ginger ale!

THYME for a Laugh

What is the noisiest spice? 

Ginger Snap!

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