Friday, October 18, 2019

Gyoza (Japanese Potstickers / Pan-Fried Dumplings) with Soy-Vinegar Dipping Sauce

The best recipe for Japanese potstickers (aka 'gyoza') I've come across so far is the one by Kenji Lopez-Alt. The filling is the perfect combination of ground pork, cabbage, garlic, ginger, scallions, salt and sugar. Salting and then draining the finely chopped cabbage before adding it to the filling helps to keep the dumplings from getting soggy (soggy = less crispy = not good). Gyoza are different from Chinese pan-fried dumplings (Guo Tie) in that they are smaller in size and have thinner skins. In fact, according to Kenji, using the thinner store-bought wrappers to make gyozas rather than the thicker and larger homemade variety, is absolutely requisite. The following recipe is adapted from Kenji's, which I doubled, using fewer scallions and green cabbage instead of Napa. 

Adapted from Serious Eats "The Best Japanese Pork & Cabbage (Gyoza) Recipe, by Kenji Lopez-Alt:


1 medium had of Napa or Green Cabbage, finely chopped
4 tsp. salt

Filling Ingredients:
2 lbs. ground pork
2 tsp. white pepper
6 cloves finely minced garlic
2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
4 scallions, minced
4 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt

2 pkgs. gyoza wrappers (around 40 wrappers per pkg.)
2 tbsp. grapeseed or vegetable oil
1/2 cup water (if using 12" skillet - use less if pan-frying in a smaller skillet)

Soy-Vinegar Dipping Sauce: 
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. chili oil (Layu)
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. grated ginger
1 clove garlic, grated
1 green onion, finely minced

Can also use Ponzu Sauce:

Detailed instructions and video on how to make and pleat the dumpling wrappers:

1. Finely chop the cabbage and place in a bowl. Add 4 tsp. of salt and stir to combine (I use my gloved hands for this). Let sit for 15 minutes and then transfer the cabbage to the center of a large dish towel. Twist the towel and squeeze as hard as you can over a bowl or the sink to remove as much liquid as possible. 

2. Place the squeeze-dried cabbage back into a clean bowl and add the filling ingredients. Using your hands, knead the mixture well until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined and starts to feel tacky/sticky. Place a teaspoon-sized amount of the pork mixture to a small microwave-proof bowl and nuke for about 15 seconds or until done. Taste the cooked portion for salt, pepper, sugar and adjust seasonings to the mixture if needed. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate if not using immediately. 

3. MAKE THE DUMPLINGS: Set up a workstation with a small bowl of water on the side and a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place one gyoza wrapper on your palm and fill a heaping teaspoon of the pork filling in the center. Using your index finger, moisten the edge of the wrapper with water and fold over into a crescent shape, pleating the edges to seal tight. 

Kenji has an instructive video on his Serious Eats website on how to make and pleat the dumplings:

Place the dumplings on the parchment-lined baking sheet. If not using right away, place the baking sheet into the freezer and freeze for 30 minutes. Place the frozen dumplings into Ziplock-type bags and freeze for future use. 

4. TO COOK: Heat 1-2 tbsp. vegetable oil (I like to use grapeseed oil, which has a high smoking point) over medium heat until very hot. Place as many dumplings into the pan as will fit in a single layer. Swirl the pan occasionally and cook until the bottoms of the dumplings are golden brown (probably takes about 2-3 minutes). Add 1/2 cup of water to the pan and cover tightly. Let steam for 3 minutes (5 minutes if the dumplings are frozen). Remove the lid and continue cooking until all the water has evaporated and the dumplings have crisped again. 

5. TO SERVE: Slide the dumplings onto a serving plate and turn them over so that the crispy bottoms are facing up. Serve with the soy-vinegar dipping sauce, ponzu sauce, or your fav store-bought dumpling sauce. 

Finely chop the cabbage.

Add 4 tsp. of salt to the chopped cabbage and stir to combine (I use my hands for this). Let sit 15 minutes. 

Finely chopped ginger, scallions, and garlic.

After 15 minutes, place the chopped cabbage onto the center of a clean kitchen towel over a bowl. 

Twist the towel and squeeze the cabbage tightly to remove as much liquid as possible. 

Place the squeeze-dried cabbage into a large bowl and add the scallions, ginger, green onion, salt, white pepper, and sugar. 

Add the ground pork and knead the mixture well with your hands until slightly sticky/tacky. 

Place a heaping teaspoon of the filling onto the center of each dumpling wrapper. Using your index finger wet the edges of the wrapper, fold over, and crimp to seal. 

Place the dumplings onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and place the dumplings into the pan in a single layer. Swirl the pan occasionally. 

When the bottoms of the dumplings are golden brown, add 1/2 cup of water and immediately cover the pan. Steam for 3 minutes (5 minutes if the dumplings are frozen). 

Remove the cover and continue cooking the dumplings until all the water has evaporated and the bottoms have re-crisped. 

Some of the dipping sauce ingredients: rice vinegar, soy sauce, chili oil (layu).

Serve the dumplings crispy side up. 

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