Stir-fries are in my regular dinner rotation because they're fast and I can cook veggies and proteins together all in one pan. One day I spotted the bag of frozen Asian dumplings that I always stock for quick lunches and an idea percolated in my head: What about using dumplings instead of meat or tofu in a stir-fry instead? And then a one-pan meal was born. Crunchy on the outside, juicy on the inside, pan-fried dumplings are tossed with crisp-tender veggies and a savory, vinegary sauce that coats everything to glossy perfection. No need to make rice or noodles to go with this stir-fry — with the dumpling wrappers, there's already a starch included!
Frozen Asian dumplings are the heart and soul of this stir-fry. You can use Chinese potstickers or smaller Japanese gyoza — both work beautifully. As for filling, it's really up to you. Go with chicken, pork, shrimp, or the vegetarian versions filled with mushrooms or tofu. This stir-fry cooks the dumplings straight from the freezer, no need to thaw, although you can definitely use homemade dumplings too.
After the dumplings are steam-fried, they get put aside and the same pan is used to stir-fry mushrooms, asparagus, and carrots. Everything gets tossed together with a sauce inspired by my favorite dumpling dipping sauce: a mixture of vinegar (I love Chinese black vinegar, but unseasoned rice vinegar works well here too), soy sauce, and a touch of sugar and sesame oil. This easy weeknight meal serves two as a main dish but can stretch to serve more if it's part of a multi-course meal.
For the sauce:
2 tablespoons rice vinegar or 3 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame seed oil
For the stir-fry:
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
1/4 cup water
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced 1/4-inch thick
8 ounces asparagus (about 1/2 bunch), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut on the diagonal into 1/4-inch-thick ovals
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 medium scallions, thinly sliced
Make the sauce: Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl until the cornstarch is dissolved; set aside.
Make the stir-fry: Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place the potstickers or gyoza pleat-side up in a single layer. Fry undisturbed until the bottoms are light golden-brown, about 3 minutes.
Carefully add the water (be careful because the oil may spatter). Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Uncover and, using tongs, turn the dumplings onto their unpleated sides. Continue cooking uncovered until all the water has evaporated, the filling is cooked through, and the unpleated sides are golden-brown, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to a large plate.
Drizzle 1 teaspoon of oil into the pan, add the mushrooms and season with salt. Stir-fry until the mushrooms are browned and softened, 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to the plate with the dumplings.
Drizzle 1 teaspoon of oil into the pan, add the asparagus and carrot, and season with salt. Stir-fry until the crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add the ginger and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
Return the reserved potstickers, mushrooms, and any juices back to the pan and toss gently to combine. Whisk the sauce again to recombine and dissolve the cornstarch, then add to the pan. Stir-fry until the sauce thickens and coats everything in the pan, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the scallions. Serve immediately.
- Fresh dumplings: You can use fresh dumplings in this recipe, but keep a close eye while they are cooking; they might brown more quickly than frozen dumplings.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.