Just about every cuisine has some form of dumpling sitting near the center of what we consider comfort food. Indian cuisine has the samosa. Eastern Europe has the pierogi. Latin America has the empanada. Italy has ravioli. Japan has the gyoza, commonly known throughout Americanized Asian restaurants as the more generic potsticker.
I can get behind all of these dough-wrapped delights, and slowly I'm learning to make each and every one of them from scratch at home. It's a labor of love to form each and every one of those little pockets - something often done with many hands - but my goodness is it worth it!
While gyoza wrappers can be found in the freezer section of most Japanese markets, I wouldn't be honoring my inner self if I didn't take the time to make the wrappers from scratch. The recipe is simple, and doesn't take all that much time to bring together. I've even simplified it a little more by rolling out the dough in sheets, where many recipes I've seen call for each individual gyoza wrapper to be rolled individually... efficiency, friends! It makes all of our lives easier.
But don't worry! I won't judge if you decide to just buy your wrappers at the store. We all have to honor our true selves, and that convenience is what many of us crave!
Here we have them! The wrappers start to stack up, ready to be filled with their flavor-packed filling.
I chose to start by making a classic pork gyoza with cabbage, garlic chives or green garlic (if you're making these during the magical time of spring when it's available), and ginger. The flavor of these beauties is powerful, but pleasing in a way that they should be enjoyed by just about everyone!
Like I mentioned, assembling any form of dumpling is a commitment to a long process. It's meditative in the best way as a solo-task, and a great way to connect and laugh together with friends or family when done with many hands around the table.
As I see it, once you're putting the effort into forming gyozas at home, you might as well take the time to make a big batch! This recipe will make about 50 gyozas, enough to serve a large party or be saved for a quick snack or side dish in the future. You can very easily freeze the gyozas and cook them straight from the freezer. Believe me, your future self will thank you!
So here they are in all their ready-to-eat glory - crispy on the bottom, and ready to be gobbled right up!
Homemade Gyoza Wrappers
from Just One Cookbook
Note: I know for many of you, making these at home will seem like a huge commitment. I love knowing that I made every part of what I'm eating from scratch, so am generally happy to put in the extra work. If this feels overwhelming and you live near a Japanese market, feel free to use store-bought wrappers! Having spent much of my life in places where ethnic shopping options are slim to nonexistent, having the recipes to make dishes like this from scratch is a life-saver!
2 cups (240 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup boiling water
potato starch for dusting
- Place flour into a medium bowl, sifting it as you put it in or giving it a good whisk to make sure it's nice and fluffy before you start.
- In a liquid measuring cup (or small bowl), whisk salt into boiling water until it has dissolved.
- Slowly add the water to the flour, stirring with a spatula or wooden spoon as you go. If needed, add additional boiling water in 1 tsp increments, until the dough comes together. You may need to use your hands partway through this process!
- Transfer the ball of dough onto a clean work surface and knead for about ten minutes. The dough will be nice and smooth when you're finished.
- Divide the dough in half, wrap each half tightly in plastic wrap, and let rest for 30 minutes.
- After it's finished resting, start with one half of the dough. Cover your work surface with potato starch and roll the dough until it is just about as thin as you can get it. Use a 3 inch round biscuit cutter, cookie cutter, or glass to cut as many circles as you can. Stack the circles in a damp kitchen towel as you go to keep them from drying out. Squeeze together any extra dough and set it in the damp towel as well.
- Repeat this process with the second half of the dough, and then with all the scraps together.
Gyoza Filling, Assembly, and Cooking
filling recipe every so slightly adapted from Tadashi Ono's Japanese Soul Cooking
3 cups finely chopped napa cabbage (you can also use green or savoy cabbage)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup garlic chives or green garlic, finely chopped
2 small cloves garlic, minced (if you use green garlic, I would omit this!)
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
2/3 lb ground pork
2 tsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
3 Tbsp potato starch, divided (plus extra for dusting)
- Start by putting the cabbage in a large bowl, and mixing in the salt. Let this mixture sit for about 15 minutes at room temperature. Transfer the cabbage to a large clean kitchen towel, or nut milk bag and wring it out with all your might! You want to remove as much liquid as you possibly can from the cabbage.
- Place the cabbage back in the large bowl, and add the rest of the ingredients, reserving 1 Tbsp of the potato starch.
- Using your hands, toss all of the ingredients together mixing until they are evenly distributed. Mash the mixture together between your fingers for a few minutes until it holds together enough to be spooned into the dumplings.
- Mix the remaining 1 Tbsp potato starch with 3 Tbsp of warm water in a small dish. This will act as your glue to close the dumplings.
- Hold one of the wrappers in your hand, then dip a finger into your potato starch mixture and wet the entire edge of the wrapper with the liquid. Place about 1 Tbsp of filling in the center of the wrapper, then fold it in half, squeezing together the wrapper to seal it up.
- Place finished gyozas on a plate that has been lightly dusted with potato starch. Any that you're not planning to eat right away, freeze on a baking sheet then toss into a freezer bag. Fast and easy gyozas for busy nights in the future!
- Now, for cooking the gyozas. Heat a pan big enough to fit however many you would like to cook over high heat for about 5 minutes. You want it to be fully heated! I recommend using a non-stick pan if you have one (or a cast iron skillet). Add about 1 Tbsp of sesame oil to the pan and spread it around. Place the gyozas into the pan with the seam side up and let them cook for about 30 seconds, then add 2/3 cup water and quickly cover the pan. Let them cook for about 4 minutes (8 minutes if you're cooking them from frozen). At this time, most of the water should have cooked off. Remove the lid and cook for 1 additional minute. Carefully scoop them up and onto the plates!
- If you're a fan of Hane, the crispy skin often found on Japanese gyozas connecting them all together, add 1 1/2 Tbsp of flour to the 2/3 cup water before adding it to the pan. I have a horribly uneven stove, so the liquid pools over on one side of the pan. This makes the hane cook unevenly, and it really just won't happen well. My biggest suggestion if you decide to cook the hane is to use a non-stick pan. It'll make your life much much easier.
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp chili sauce, or another spicy condiment you have on hand
- Whisk all the ingredients together, and serve alongside your gyozas for dipping!