Japanese Gyoza (a.k.a. pot stickers)

March 9, 2011 at 5:05 pm 2 comments

My husband and I have been having a kind of famous 80’s movies marathon the past several Saturdays. We often rent and watch a DVD on Saturday night (like all truly fabulous and exciting married couples do), but recently we keep checking out famous 80’s movies.

For three Saturdays in a row, we watched all the Back to the Future movies (Hello! McFly!), and this last Saturday, we watched The Goonies. Included on the DVD for The Goonies was the music video for Cyndi Lauper’s Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough. If you’ve never seen it, it’s a really long, really 80’s music video, which is all good and fun, except that I’ve had the song stuck in my head now ever since we watched it. Today is Wednesday. That was four days ago. I’ve had “It’s gooood enooouuuugh! Good enough for meeeee, yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah!” running through my head over and over and over…. it’s not fun having Cyndi Lauper stuck in your head. It just isn’t. Trust me on this.

For whatever reason, I get songs stuck in my head incredibly easily. It drives me crazy. If you know of a tried and true method for getting songs stuck in one’s head out, please share. Please?

But that’s not really the point of this post. I just felt the need to share my current Cyndi Lauper plight with you.

What the point of this post really is, is gyoza. In the U.S., they’re often called pot stickers, and in China, jiaozi. I just call them delicious little hot dumplings filled with meat and vegetables, because that’s what they are.

Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my chin.

Having lived in Japan for three and a half years, I’m more familiar with the Japanese version, gyoza. You can find them at any grocery store, ramen place, or Chinese restaurant. Everyone loves gyoza. Kids, adults, grandparents. It’s hard not to love these scrumptious little dumplings though.

The Japanese version is made with a thin, round wrapper, and usually filled with ground pork, hakusai (Chinese cabbage), and nira (Chinese chives), along with various seasonings. They’re usually pan-fried on the flat side of the gyoza, creating a partially crispy skin. Then water is added, the pan is covered and the gyoza are steamed until they’re completely cooked through. To eat, they’re dipped in a soy sauce & vinegar (and sometimes also chili oil) sauce.

Wrapping the gyoza can be time consuming, so I don’t make them often, but I’ve been craving gyoza recently, so I decided to make them for dinner last night.

First, get all your ingredients together. Here, from top to bottom, left to right, I have garlic powder, ginger paste, soy sauce, ground meat, salt, pepper, hakusai (Chinese cabbage), nira (Chinese chives), an egg, and the wrappers. Although gyoza are almost always make with ground pork in Japan, you can use just about any ground meat you want for these. This time, I used a mixture of beef and pork.

Dice up about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of hakusai. If you can’t find Chinese cabbage where you live, normal cabbage works just fine.

Add the diced hakusai to the bowl with the meat. Next, dice the nira (Chinese chives), and throw those in as well. If you can’t find Chinese chives, green onions will work fine.

Add in 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 Tablespoon ginger paste, 2 1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce, and a dash of salt and pepper, then mix it all up.

Don’t forget to add your egg, and mix some more!

For this next part, you need a small bowl of water, several plates covered with wax paper (or a cookie sheet with wax paper), your bowl of gyoza filling, and the wrappers. I recommend doing this at the table where you can sit down, because, basically, you’re gonna be there awhile wrapping these things.

Spoon a small amount (about a tablespoon) of the filling into the center of a wrapper. Is it just me, or does my hand look unusually red?

Dip you finger into the bowl of water, and then use it to moisten the outer edge of the wrapper. If you don’t do this, the sides of the wrapper won’t stick together, and your gyoza won’t stay closed.

Fold the wrapper in half. As the next part of this requires two hands, I was unable to get a picture of the process. What you do, is you pleat one side of the wrapper, squeezing each pleat against the opposite side of the wrapper as you make it, sealing in the filling and closing the gyoza. It takes some practice, but it’s not that hard once you get the hang of it.

Here’s what it looks like when it’s done. Just continue wrapping gyoza until you run out of the filling…

…and eventually you’ll have a bunch of gyoza ready to be cooked. If you have two packages of 20 wrappers, you’ll probably have some left over. These are great for letting your imagination run wild, and filling them with all different things. Here are some ideas for filling: Jam, peanut butter and jam, peanut butter and banana, chocolate (or nutella) and banana, cheese, ham and cheese, avocado and tomato, etc.

I had some ham on hand, so I simply put some shredded cheese on a piece of sliced ham, rolled it up, cut it in half, and used one half per gyoza wrapper.

Now, after I made all the gyoza, I went about doing other things, and by the time I actually cooked them, I kinda forgot to take any pictures. Bad me. But the process is simple.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet on medium heat. Place the gyoza in the skillet, flat side down and so they’re not touching, and cook until the gyoza get brown on the bottom, about 4 – 5 minutes.

Next, get a glass of about 1/2 cup of water in one hand and a lid for the skillet in the other. Quickly pour the water in the pan and then cover it with the lid. It’ll make a lot of noise, but you cover the skillet, so it doesn’t matter. If it doesn’t hiss, then your pan isn’t hot enough, and you need to up the heat. Let the gyoza steam in the skillet until they’re completely cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes.

When finished cooking, remove the gyoza to a plate, and serve them with a dipping sauce of soy sauce and vinegar. Enjoy the wonderful dumpling goodness!

I served the gyoza along with steamed rice, miso soup, and a mixed salad. And just so you don’t think we’re pigs, my husband and I only ate about half of all those gyoza. Oh, and the ham and cheese gyoza were really good. 🙂

Mmmmmm, gyozaaaa

Japanese Gyoza (makes about 34)  recipe by Rachel (The Joyful Kitchen)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground pork, beef, or mix (about 450 grams)
  • 1 1/2 2 cups diced hakusai (Chinese cabbage or regular cabbage)
  • About 5 nira (Chinese chives or green onions), diced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 1 egg
  • gyoza wrappers (available in most grocery stores)

In a large bowl, add ground meat, hakusai, nira, garlic powder, ginger paste, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and egg, and mix.

Place a small spoonful (about 1 Tbsp) of the meat mixture in the center of one wrapper. Moisten the outer edge of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half without joining the two sides. Pleat one side of the wrapper, squeezing each pleat against the opposite side of the wrapper as you make it, sealing in the filling and closing the gyoza. Continue wrapping gyoza until you use up all the meat mixture.

Heat two tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place gyoza in skillet, flat side down, and so not touching. Cook gyoza until the bottoms turn brown, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Pour about half a cup of water into the skillet and quickly cover with a lid. If it doesn’t sizzle loudly when you add the water, then you’re pan isn’t hot enough, and you need to increase the heat. Continue cooking the gyoza in the covered skilled until they’re cooked completely through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to a plate, and serve.

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Entry filed under: Beef, Chinese food, Japanese food, Pork, Recipes, Side dish. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ruth  |  March 23, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Hi there. I found your gyoza recipe on Pinterest and I am super excited to make some of my own. Do they freeze well? Would you recommend freezing before or after cooking the dumplings?

    Reply
    • 2. rueki86  |  March 24, 2012 at 10:40 am

      I would freeze them before cooking, but honestly, probably either way would work fine. If you freeze them before you cook them, make sure you thaw them completely before you cook them. If you freeze them after cooking them, you could probably just heat them up in a toaster oven before eating them. I’ve never tried it, but I think it would work well. One thing I like to do with frozen gyoza is throw them in broth based soups. Super yum! 🙂

      Reply

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About Me

My name is Rachel. I'm a small-town girl born and raised in Oklahoma, currently living in Japan, who likes cooking, baking, reading, working out, and traveling. Join me in my culinary adventures, my domestic doings, and the story of my life, one day at a time.

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