One of my favorite foods of all time. I would gyoza far as to say that they’re on my top ten list.* You can keep your fried wontons and your bland American dumplings. Gyoza have three things going for them. 1) they taste like little pieces of heaven 2) you can get your friends or family involved in stuffing them, saving you time and making them feel important 3) they have a nice balance between fried and steamed, so they don’t feel heavy, meaning you can eat 10 of them and not regret it. This time around we made between 80 and a 100 gyoza: they freeze nicely. But most packets come with 40 wrappers, so this recipe should make about 40-60 gyoza. If you have leftover filling, its great scrambled with eggs for breakfast.

*Credit (or blame) for this pun goes to Nick, who is a master of culinary wordplay, and whose garden I envy deeply.

What you need:
1 pack of 40 or 50 gyoza wrappers. They are round and very thin. Square wonton wrappers aint gonna cut it bub. Find a good Asian market if you haven’t already.
2/3 pound of ground pork
½ pound of shrimp, peeled, any kind will do
½ head of nappa cabbage (if you can’t find nappa, green cabbage is fine)
4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 or 3 scallions
fresh, peeled ginger root, about the same amount as the garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. sake
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Here’s what you do:
1) A food processor is very helpful here. You want everything to be very small. Separately food process the cabbage (cutting it into pieces first helps), the garlic, the ginger, and the scallions. The shrimp you may want to dice with a chef’s knife. I should also mention that shrimp are optional, and your gyoza will be perfectly delicious with just pork.
2) In a large bowl mix all the ingredients (not the wrappers, please) including the soy sauce, sake, and lemon juice. Use more or less of the three liquids according to your taste, just make sure the mixture is solid enough to be formed into wee lumps. Set up your wrapping area, with a clean flat space, a platter, several spoons, and a bowl of water.
3) The folding: A) lay out a gyoza wrapper and use your finger to wet the outer rim of one half of the wrapper. B) Spoon a small amount of the mixture into the center of the wrapper, about 2/3 a spoonful. C) Fold the wrapper over so the outer rim of the two sides meet, you should have about a third of an inch around the filling, press down around the semicircle. D) set the gyoza on its “base” and begin crimping the outer edge, starting in the middle and then down the sides, folding the ridge in on itself. The base should be rather flat now. Begin process anew.

4) Use a nonstick pan. Trust me. I know that gyoza are akin to Chinese “potstickers,” but the right pan will make your life easier. Put about 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil (I usually throw in a little pure sesame oil too) in the pan, over medium high heat, and rapidly set about eight to ten of the gyoza in the pan, on their bases. Rotate them with tongs if necessary so that they all brown at the same time. You want the bases to be a good crispy brown color, not dark brown or black. Once they have achieved this color on the bottom, quickly add about a half cup of hot water to the pan. The water will cook off in a couple minutes and steam the remaining part of the little gyozas.

The sooner you eat them after removing from the pan, the better. Don’t burn your mouth.

I almost forgot! The Ponzu sauce! Very important for dipping. This is actually a little different than many ponzus, because I like it a little bit sweeter and use more OJ. Grapefruit is also good.

Ponzu Sauce

½ cup soy sauce
juice of 1 orange
juice of 1 lime
juice of 1 lemon

That’s it. Platter those gyoza up, serve with a side of ponzu, and watch them disappear. They may not look quite as pretty as restaurant gyoza, but here’s a dirty little secret: a lot of restaurant gyoza are frozen and come from a factory. True.


claudine said...

the gyoza look beautiful!
i stumbled upon your blog several weeks ago, somehow lost it, but just recently managed to find it again...
lovely funny posts and recipes and photographs... and oh - the monkey pictures rock!
cheers from san francisco,

Kitchen Monkey said...

Thanks Claudine, nice of you to say. You know, Kate from "The Accidental Hedonist" is hosting "The Food Blog Awards" at http://www.accidentalhedonist.com/ You, or anyone, can nominate a blog by commenting on the recent posts there.

What's that? You mean, nominate my blog for something? Oh...no, I would never suggest that. Really.

Anonymous said...

Hey, instead of using hot water, use hot chicken stock instead. The flavour is outstanding.


Moira said...

Oh, I complete agree with you about gyoza being a "Top 10" kind of food. Thanks for posting this- I can't wait to give them a try!

P.S. Love your blog. I happened upon it from IMBB and I'm so glad I did.

Kitchen Monkey said...

Thanks Moira! Nice of you to say.

Karen said...

What are the gyoza wrappers made of? Are they gluten free?