- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 1/4 head green cabbage, minced
- 3 green onions, minced
- Handful of nira Japanese chives (can substitute Chinese or Western chives)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp ginger, grated or minced
- 1/2 tbsp sake (does not have to be the expensive stuff)
- 1 tsp sesame oil
To a bowl with ground pork, add minced cabbage, minced scallions, and minced chives. It seems like “chives” are a little different depending on the country – the traditionalist in me says you should try to find “nira” chives at your Japanese market, but Chinese chives also work (though I find them thicker than nira), as well as Western chives (though they seem to be a little thinner than nira).
Add salt, garlic, and ginger. The proportions of garlic and ginger is where most family / restaurant recipes are different – some places focus on mostly garlic, and some on mostly ginger, and some gyoza-specialty restaurants will have all sorts of options on which dumplings you can order (and many people will mix them up for a flavor buffet!).
Mix everything by hand – incorporating a kneading technique works well here.
Let sit for a minimum of half an hour to overnight in the fridge, for all the flavors to meld together.
Prep your table for gyoza-making with a baking sheet with parchment paper, your gyoza wrappers, your filling, and some water for sealing.
Add a small spoonful of filling to the middle of the gyoza wrapper.
Wet the edges of the gyoza wrapper with your finger, then pleat the edges to seal the dumpling. You can do this by hand if you’re used to pleating; if not, there are inexpensive metal and plastic gyoza presses you can use (which are also super fun tools to use if this is a group activity).
Make sure the gyoza have a “bottom” to them by placing them upright on the parchment paper. This is super important when you cook the gyoza, since the traditional frying pan method requires a crispy bottom and steamed top.
As you can see in the photo, the gyoza on the left are pleated by hand; the ones on the right use the plastic press you see in the corner.
These gyoza freeze beautifully – just put them in a Ziploc bag and throw them into the freezer, simple as that. They keep for about a week in the fridge, and a month in the freezer (if they last that long!). Defrost before cooking.
To cook, put some vegetable oil in a frying pan, and cook the gyoza bottom-side down over medium-low to medium heat.
Check the bottom of the gyoza; once they are golden-brown, add a couple of tablespoons of water to the frying pan and cover with a lid to continue cooking the filling and to steam the wrappers, for about 3-5 minutes.
Once the filling is cooked through, drizzle a small amount of sesame oil over/around the dumplings while in the frying pan, as a finishing touch for flavor/scent.
Arrange on a plate (traditionally served in groups of 5 gyoza) and serve with a dipping sauce. You can purchase dipping sauces commercially, or make your own; most gyoza restaurants offer bottles of soy sauce, white vinegar, and chili oil at each table, to create your own sauce to taste.
Enjoy with a bowl of rice as a complete meal, or alone as a snack/appetizer. The beauty of making these in bulk is the convenience of having them handy later – I don’t consider these as “leftover” food in the freezer, but rather something you can cook up quickly when the mood hits.
There are variations on how to cook gyoza, as mentioned above, as well as a multitude of filling options ranging from chicken to vegetarian (tofu/mushrooms), to shrimp. I’ll be sure to make these other options in later episodes, as well as some options on how to make dumplings that don’t even require pleats, so stay tuned for those!
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