Citizens, gyoza are the Japanese version of Chinese potstickers (jiaozi), but with a more refined outlook on life. 😉
The Japanese word gyōza (ギョーザ, ギョウザ) was derived from the reading of 餃子 in the Shandong Chinese dialect (giaozi) and is written using the same Chinese characters. The selection of characters indicates that the word is of non-Japanese origin.
The most prominent differences between Japanese-style gyōza and Chinese-style jiaozi are the rich garlic flavor, which is less noticeable in the Chinese version, the light seasoning of Japanese gyōza with salt and soy sauce, and the fact that gyōza wrappers are much thinner.
Of course, jiaozi vary greatly across regions within China, so these differences are not always substantial. Gyōza are usually served with soy-based tare sauce seasoned with rice vinegar and/or chili oil (rāyu in Japanese, làyóu (辣油) in Mandarin Chinese).
The most common recipe is a mixture of minced meat, cabbage, Asian chives, and sesame oil, and/or garlic, and/or ginger, which is then wrapped into thinly rolled dough skins. In essence, gyōza are similar in shape to pierogi.
Gyōza can be found in supermarkets and restaurants throughout Japan. Pan-fried gyōza are sold as a side dish in many ramen and Chinese restaurants.
The most popular preparation method is the pan-fried style called yaki-gyōza (焼き餃子), in which the dumpling is first fried on one flat side, creating a crispy skin. Then, water is added and the pan sealed with a lid, until the upper part of the dumpling is steamed. Other popular methods include boiled sui-gyōza (水餃子) and deep fried age-gyōza (揚げ餃子).
My recipe is based closely on one from brandoesq.blogspot.com, whose phenomenal recipe and technique proved extraordinarily difficult to add to! Nonetheless, I have made some modifications to better suit my personal taste and I use my own dipping sauce.
Battle on – The Generalissimo
The Gyōza Stuffing:
2 Tbsp dried bits of wakamé seaweed
2 napa cabbage leaves, minced
1 ¼ Tsp shichimi (seven spice powder)
3 inch piece white part of leek, preferably Japanese naganegi, minced
1 Tbsp grated carrot
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 shiitake mushrooms, minced
300 gm ground pork, kurobuta (Japanese black pig, also known as Berkshire) if available
2 Tbsp saké
2 ½ Tsp shiro (white) miso, preferably Saikyo
½ Tsp Yuzu Kosho
1 Tbsp Kadoya-brand sesame oil
1 Tbsp ginger juice, squeezed from grated ginger (see below)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tsp sugar
4 Tbsp chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 Tsp soy sauce
1 package of gyoza wrappers
To Cook The Gyoza:
150 ml to 250 ml chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 tsp sesame oil
2 Tablespoons Ginger Root, finely grated
1 Garlic Clove, finely grated
½ Cup Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Green Onions, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons Mirin (Sweetened Sake)
2 Tablespoons Chinese Black Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
A few drops of Chili Sesame Oil
1. Soak the wakamé in water till softened. Drain, pat dry, mince, and set aside in a large mixing bowl. Toss the cabbage with salt. Let sit for 10 minutes to draw out moisture. Drain, squeeze dry, and add cabbage to the bowl. Add mushrooms, garlic, leek and carrot to bowl. Stir to combine. Add ground pork. Stir to combine.
2. In a small bowl, combine all the other ingredients. Add this seasoning liquid to the pork mixture gradually, stirring all the while to ensure the stuffing is evenly mixed. You will end up with a fairly loose, moist mass. Press clingwrap directly to the surface of the mixture. For the best flavor, let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, or store immediately in the fridge (it can keep overnight), before using.
Fill one wrapper at a time, keeping the remaining covered. Place a heaped teaspoon of stuffing into the center of the dumpling wrapper, nudging it into a quenelle-like shape that’s tapered towards the two ends of its length (this makes the dumpling easier to seal), ensuring there’s a clear border of wrapper circumnavigating the stuffing. Fold the wrapper gently in half by bringing the two sides (parallel to the length of the stuffing) up over the stuffing. Pinch shut at midpoint before pleating and pressing – homemade wrappers are soft and moist so you’ll have no problem sealing them.
3. Starting to the right of the midpoint, make three tidy and tiny pleats on the side of the wrapper facing you (and not on the further side), folding the pleats in the direction towards the midpoint. After each pleat, pinch the dough to join the pleat to the unpleated side of the wrapper. Pinch the extreme right corner of the arc closed. Half the dumpling has been sealed.
4. Repeat the process to the left of the midpoint. Starting to the left of the midpoint, fold the pleats in the opposite direction from before (in other words, still folding the pleats in the direction towards the midpoint). Pinch the extreme left corner closed.
5. Now gently pinch all along the elegant arc that you’ve created to ensure it is securely sealed, and to thin the ridge of dough. The dumpling is now completely sealed. The finished dumpling, as seen from an aerial view, is pleated on one side, smooth on the other, naturally curved into a pot-bellied crescent shape thanks to the pleating method, and sits on a flat base. The beauty of this method, aside from the beauty of the dumpling, is that the dough is not coarsely thick at the ridge, having been pleated only on one side, and the dumpling stands upright on the tray and later, in the skillet.
6. Set the first batch of dumplings aside on the lined tray; the dumplings should not touch each other. Repeat above steps with subsequent batches of dough pieces until done.
Note: If not cooking the dumplings immediately, freeze them (they freeze very well) in one layer on the tray covered with clingwrap. When frozen, pack the dumplings into airtight storage boxes. They will keep, frozen, for a fortnight. When cooking frozen dumplings, do not thaw them – cook from frozen, adding an extra minute or two to the steaming time.
Cooking the Gyōza:
The potstickers are cooked by a method which part-fries, part-steams them, so they wind up juicy and succulent yet have crisp, golden bottoms – in Japanese, this type of cooking is called mushi yaki (“steam searing”).
Typically, the potstickers are drizzled with water to create steam. However, we will use chicken stock. 🙂
1. Heat a heavy skillet large enough to accommodate all the dumplings at once over a medium-high flame. Add enough peanut oil to cover the surface amply. When the oil is properly hot, carefully line up the dumplings in the skillet, side by side in neat rows resting on their flat bottoms. Cook the dumplings for 2 to 3 minutes, or until nicely browned on the bottoms, checking the color by carefully lifting a couple of dumplings by their pleated edge.
2. Pour in enough chicken stock to come one-third of the way up the sides of the dumplings. Be careful; the liquid will hiss, splatter and spit as soon as it hits the pan. Lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and immediately cover the skillet with a lid to trap moisture and create steam. Steam for 4 to 5 minutes (6 to 7 minutes if cooking from frozen). Start checking the progress after 3 minutes; when the wrappers appear translucent, the stock is almost all absorbed, and the meat is cooked (check by prodding with chopsticks for firmness), remove the lid.
3. Drizzle the dumplings with the sesame oil. Raise the heat slightly and continue to cook at a good simmer until all the liquid has evaporated and only the oil remains, about 2 to 3 minutes. They are done when their bottoms are crisp enough to “clink” when tapped with a fingernail. To serve, remove with a spatula and turn them upside down onto a serving plate so their golden bottoms face up. Serve without delay, accompanied by the dipping sauce.
To make the dipping sauce, just combine all the ingredients.