It was a crazy week! I had hoped to post this recipe for gyoza filling the day after I posted the from scratch wonton or gyoza wrapper recipe, but it wasn't in the stars. Here it is as promised.
This popular little dumpling may originate from China, but I love the added garlic in the Japanese version. When I worked in Japan it was common to meet friends or coworkers at an izakaya for drinks and food on a Friday night or weekend. Better than the average pub fare back in the states, it was easy to make a meal of several dishes, sharing with the whole table. Some of my other favorites included steamed edamame, steamed pumpkin and tofu steaks topped with green onions and ginger. No matter what, I always came back to a platter of gyoza (or two).
I have purchased my share of pre-packaged and frozen gyoza from a variety of stores since returning home, but it just isn't the same.
One family I stayed with during a college internship would have family gyoza making nights. The filling was prepared and the dough was rolled and ready. I sat with the daughter and learned how to use my index finger to 'paint' a little water along one edge, seal the middle and then fold one side of the wrapper into the other. Three little pleats on either side of the middle pinch. They may look difficult, but with a bit of practice anyone can become proficient at folding their own. We must have filled and folded hundreds! We had them steamed, fried, and boiled in soups. They freeze very well once made up, so go ahead and enlist help to make your own little army of potstickers.
The filling is pretty simple. You can go as rustic as you like, but I enjoy putting it through the meat grinder attachment of my Kitchen Aid to get the cabbage ground even finer and all the spices well mixed. It isn't a necessary step, but I think the filling really comes together this way.
Besides a love for garlic, I also love the fresh ginger flavor throughout the gyoza. Fragrant and with just a touch of warmth, it is the perfect compliment to the pork, cabbage and green onions.
If you haven't worked with ginger before, the outer skin gently comes off with a rub of a spoon. Just scrape off that thin peel and don't waste any of the precious, juicy ginger inside. With a very fine micro plane or rasp grater, break up the stringy pulp. I try to save as much of the natural juice as possible to go into the meat.
Read to get cooking?
Gyoza (or Potstickers)
You Will Need:
- 1/2 a medium head of Napa cabbage, sliced or shredded thinly
- 1 lb. ground pork
- 4-5 green onions, sliced thinly
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2" peice of ginger, finely grated
- 2 tsp. soy sauce
- 1 tsp. mirin
- a dash of salt and pepper
- 40 gyoza wrappers
- 1/4 c. chicken stock
- 6 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- a dash of chili oil
Start by blanching the cabbage. I prefer to shred my cabbage first, then blanch it and strain out with a sieve. Put this aside to cool.
In a large bowl mix together the first 8 ingredients. Take your rings off and just get down into the mixture, making sure it is well mixed. If you have a meat grinder or meat grinder attachment, this is a great time to put it through once. I really love the finer texture when I add in this extra step. It is not necessary though.
Grab a tablespoon or so of the filling and place in the center of your gyoza wrapper. Have a small bowl of cold water handy. Dip a finger in the bowl to moisten it and get half the wrapper edge damp. Just a little damp or it will turn into glue! Fold the other half over to form a half circle. Pinch the top in the middle. Pleat just one side in three folds and then repeat on the other half. Press each pleat firmly into the other side of the wrapper. Set the finished gyoza on a floured sheet and finish the rest.
Now you can freeze them as is, on a single sheet and then transfer to a freezer bag once frozen, or use them right away. I prefer using a cast iron pan to get good color and crunch. Using just a little oil, warm the pan to medium heat and let the gyoza cook on the bottom.
Once they have browned, turn then on their side with the pleats to get more color. When nice and brown, add the 1/4 c. chicken stock and put a lid on the pan. The gyoza will steam through and finish cooking. Once the liquid cooks off, allow the dumplings to crisp up a little more on the bottom. Check periodically and move them around to keep them from burning.
When the gyoza are finished, whisk together the soy sauce, mirin and chili oil to create a dipping sauce. Serve the gyoza warm with dipping sauce and garnish with a few green onions.