How To Make Amazing Gyoza

How To Make Amazing Gyoza


Ah, gyoza. What can I say, I love gyoza. Whenever I'm in Japan, sniffing out gyoza shops is de regueur, and gyoza always accompanies my ramen (a frosty beer completes the hat-trick). These steamed-and-fried dumplings are easy to make at home, too, and I'm going to demonstrate how soon at my upcoming Japanese comfort food workshop at the Brooklyn Kitchen on the 19th. To get ready, I've been working on perfecting my technique. Gyoza are pan-fried dumplings that are both steamed and fried. They're an import from China, kin to Chinese pot stickers (also irresistible). Gyoza ain't gyoza unless one side is toasty and crisp, the other side tender, and the insides juicy, aromatic, garlicky and unbelievably delicious. While some methods call for pork and shrimp, or even duck, in my mind classic gyoza is made with just ground pork, combined with garlic cloves and chives, cabbage and intensely fragrant roasted sesame oil. So where to find a great recipe? Nobuko, of course! Hot off the heels of her amazing curry, I contacted Nobuko about her gyoza, which I've tasted, and which was unforgettable. So here's Nobuko's Way of the Gyoza, plus video of an anonymous someone (err, my lovely wife) demonstrating deft dumpling folding technique:

Note about the recipe: I'm using metric weight measurements, instead of volume; so much easier. I highly recommend you buy a digital scale, which always has metric (this one rocks). Every home cook should own a decent scale.

Makes about 50 gyoza

100 grams green cabbage
300 grams ground pork
Salt and black pepper
1 bunch garlic chives
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
2 tablespoons roasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch ground black pepper
2 tablespoons katakuriko (potato starch)
50 gyoza round gyoza skins (find them in the frozen section of Asian markets
2 tablespoons water combined with 1 teaspoon katakuriko, for sealing gyoza skin
Vegetable oil
Roasted sesame oil
Rice vinegar
Soy sauce
Rayu (chili oil)

1. Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to boil over high heat. Add the cabbage and simmer until the cabbage softens, about 3 minutes. Cool the cabbage under cold running water, then finely chop. Squeeze out any excesses water from the chopped cabbage with your hands. Set aside.

2. Finely chop the garlic chives and squeeze out any excess water with your hands. Set aside. Grate the garlic and ginger using a microplane or oroshigane. You want to grate rather than chop or press through a garlic press; grating best breaks down the cells of the ginger and garlic, releasing their aroma, flavor and heat.

3. Add the pork to a large mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper. Use your hand to mix the pork for about 1 or 2 minutes, until it becomes sticky; this will help the pork bind to the other ingredients.

4. Add the cabbage, garlic chives, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper and katakuriko to the mixing bowl. Use your hand to combine with the pork, mix for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture becomes sticky.

5. Now, find a comfortable chair, pull it up to a table and fill the 50 gyoza skins, which is fun to do together with friends and family (great for kids, too, of course). Follow the technique in the video below. Remember to keep the flour side of the skin on the outside of the gyoza. Also, you don't have to make as many folds as my wife does in the video (she's a pro at this), just enough to pinch the gyoza closed. Use the water combined with katakuriko as the "glue" to fuse the skin together.

6. Now you're ready to cook the gyoza. The essential tool is a well-seasoned cast iron skillet with a lid (nothing works as well as heat-retaining cast iron for gyoza). Cook the gyoza in batches: Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat until it's smoking hot. Add a thin film of vegetable oil, and use a wadded up paper towel or brush to spread it around the skillet. Add the gyoza in rows, which will make it easier to remove once they're ready. As soon as you add all the gyoza that comfortably fit, fill the skillet with water until the gyoza are covered about half-way. Cover the skillet with the lid, and lower the heat to medium. Cook for about 8 minutes, or until the water evaporates (you'll see a starchy film on the skillet bottom, that's fine). Now drizzle sesame oil over the gyoza. Cover and cook for about 1 minute more, until the oil is absorbed. Use a thin, long spatula (ideal, but any spatula works) to lift up the gyoza in a row.

7. Eat steaming hot. Combine rice vinegar, soy sauce and a few drops of rayu to make a dipping sauce. I like 1:1 ratio of vinegar to soy sauce, but 2:1 is also popular (or to your taste -- it doesn't have to be exact). Dip the gyoza into the sauce, take a bite, and swoon!

Okay, here's the video of how to fill gyoza skin. Notice the action of my wife's thumbs and index finger, and how she holds the gyoza facing out. Watch this a couple of times and practice yourself. By the tenth gyoza, you'll get it, I promise! Now, the video:

Posted by Harris Salat in Gyoza | Permalink | Comments (6) | Email | Print

Comments (6)

Great post, Harris, and I can't wait to read more about your Japanese comfort food workshop...even if I'm 3,000 miles away. This recipe is on-deck to make with a friend next week. But speaking of Japanese comfort food, might that be your next cookbook? If so, count me in as a recipe tester! There's something about gyozas that makes me relaxed just to hear the word: it's great friends, great food, cold beer, chilled sake, and amazing conversation all coming together. That's exactly what Japanese comfort food is all about.
Made these last night and we all thought they were delicious. They had the perfect ratio of cabbage to meat and were very well seasoned. I cooked them in a non-stick skillet because I didn't trust my cast iron to "let go", and I had some hungry people to feed. The gyozas still developed a very nice crust and had a lovely chew to them. I will try the cast iron next time though, as I'm a big fan of the toasted part. Also, I only averaged about 6 folds per gyoza so I'll be watching the video again. Your wife does it so easily! Thanks for posting this.
My mom would salt the cabbage, let stand, and then squeeze the liquid out. Same result. Your recipe looks very similar to the ones we make at our Taiwanese home.
I made this gyoza today and it was really AMAZING! I didn't want to make 50 gyoza, so I used half of everything. It still worked and I made 23 gyoza. I also used a non-stick skillet and it was fine. Harris, thank you for posting this. And do your know how to preserve uncooked gyoza and how long I can keep them?
Fantastic, Meg! I love these gyoza, and your post reminded me that I haven't had gyoza in a little while... time to rectify that, maybe tonight. As far as keeping uncooked gyoza: Freeze them in rows that can fit in your skillet. That way, you can pop the frozen gyoza right into the skillet and cook them. No need to defrost first, just add an extra minute or so to the cooking time. The frozen gyoza can stay in your freezer for a couple of months. -- Harris
Hi Harris, when I read this recipe I have some suggestion and it is worth of trying. In Taiwan, the Gyoza is actually called "pot sticker". The ingredients you mentioned, the cabbage or Bokchoy doesn't need to boil in the water, this way it will lost its great crunchy texture. Instead, in Taiwan, after dicing the Bokchoy (not too small particles again we don't want to lose the texture) place in a bowl and add about 1/4tsp of salt or less and mix it well. Let it Sit aside for about 20~30 min, then mix again but this time put a bit pressure on it; you will be able to see the liquid came out of the cabbage! Tilt the bowl so the liquid will stay in one side and keep the cabbage as dry as possible. Then grab a hand full of cabbages then squeeze excess of water out then put them into the meat mixture. It takes up some time to do this process but believe me.....the Gyoza or pot sticker will taste even better! *Don't put corn starch (Katakuriko)in the meat mixture, it will ruin the texture. The salt itself already serve the function of combining the ingridents together not only flavoring! *If you want your Gyoza looks like the restaurant level, when adding the water in pan you can mix the water with a little bit of flour or corn starch (katakuriko), this result in a golden crispy layer on the bottom of your gyoza~ Hope this will make your gyoza taste even better~

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