Gyoza/pot-sticker is one of those bites which once you take the first, you cannot stop. It really is not difficult to make, except that it takes time to wrap each dumpling. Which reminds me… I was in Chinatown, and went to a restaurant for a quick, late lunch. There was a Chinese woman, an employee, seated at the table closest to the kitchen. She had a big tray, a stack of pot-sticker skins and a large bowl of fillings in front of her. She was wrapping pot-stickers as quickly as 5 seconds each and filled the tray. Every 5 minutes, someone from the kitchen came to take the filled tray and put an empty one in front of her. Although I am now comfortable with wrapping, it still takes me almost a minute each.
The Japanese word gyōza was derived from the reading of giaozi 餃子 in the Shandong Chinese dialect and is written using the same Chinese characters/Kanji and pronounced the Japanese way.
The most prominent differences between Japanese-style gyōza and Chinese-style giaozi 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. The most popular preparation method is the pan-fried/’browned’ style (only the bottom) called yaki-gyōza, crispy, soft, juicy, flavorful, all in one bite. Yum!
The most common recipe is a mixture of minced pork, cabbage, nira/garlic chives, garlic, ginger, sesame oil soy-sauce, salt and ground black pepper, which are then wrapped into thinly rolled dough skins. Gyōza are usually served with soy-sauce based tare/dipping sauce, seasoned with rice vinegar and rāyu/chili oil (làyóu 辣油 in Chinese). This is a recipe for a vegan yaki-gyoza, with an option, if you like to add meat.
Yaki Gyoza • やきギョーザ • Pot-Stickers, Japanese Style
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
For the filling
• 150 g/ 1 piece atsu-age tofu (thick, deep fried tofu)**
• 100 g/ 3.5 oz cabbage, about 2 ~ 3 leaves, finely chopped
• 70 g/ 2.5 oz nira/garlic chives (or leak, or scallions), finely chopped/sliced
• 2 shiitake mushrooms, medium size, finely chopped
• 1 Tbsp potato starch (needed for binding)
• 1 tsp garlic, mashed
• 1 tsp ginger, grated/puréed
• 1 Tbsp soy-sauce
• 1½ tsp Asian sesame oil
• 1 tsp soup base, vegetable base for vegan (sorry, not in the ingredient photo)
• 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
• salt, to taste, and to adjust accordingly, if soup base has salt or soy-sauce is low sodium
**If preferred to make it authentic, with meat, replace tofu with ground pork or ground chicken plus 50g/2oz minced onion.
• 32 sheets pot-sticker skins/wrapper
For steaming/frying pot stickers
• boiling water
• vegetable oil
For the dipping sauce
• 2 Tbsp soy sauce
• 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
And, choice of adding a little hot spice
• rāyu/chili oil, to taste
• neri-karashi/Japanese mustard, to taste
◊ First, slice/cut the crusts of the tofu. Mince the crust finely. Then tear white part of tofu into small pieces.
◊ In a medium bowl, add all ingredients for the filling. First, the vegetables, then sprinkle the corn starch and then remaining ingredients. Using hand, knead the mixture well.
◊ Have a small bowl with water ready, needed for wrapping. Put a sheet of pot-sticker skin in your palm. Dip a finger in the water and wet all around the edge of the wrap. Place 1 tsp of filling in the center of the wrap. Fold the wrap and pleat only one side of the wrap and press to the flat other side (5~6 pleats). Watch this 30 second video for a quick tutorial → here.
◊ For the dipping sauce: Combine soy-sauce and vinegar and pour into small, shallow dipping bowls. Have them ready.
◊ Place the pot-sticker in a non-stick fry-pan. Pour boiling water from the side to fill half way up the pot-stickers, and put on medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp vegetable oil, place a lid on and let cook for 5~6 minutes, until the water has totally evaporated. Remove lid and let bottoms of the pot-stickers brown. Carefully watch the pot-stickers as they quickly brown. If burned, becomes wasted effort.
◊ With a spatula, scoop up pot-stickers (if stuck to each other, scoop intact) and place on the serving dish by flipping the spatula, to have the browned bottom side facing up. Serve warm.
◊ To have an accent color on the serving plates, I add cherry tomatoes and fried shishito.
~ どうぞめしあがれ • Douzo Meshiagare ~
Above photo, ↑ left back, there is an atsu-age tofu on a plate. I placed it there so you know what to look for in stores. Right in front of it is minced atsu-age tofu for the filling.
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?