Always wanted to read a detailed gyoza crimping explanation? Your wish has come true. My gyoza recipe makes delicious pan-fried parcels every time!
Gyoza actually originate in China, where they are known as ‘guotie’ when cooked in this fashion. This translates roughly as ‘pot-stickers’, hence the name given to many Asian-American recipes.
Making gyoza can be separated into several distinct phases. For this reason, it makes an excellent group activity. Invite your friends, crack open a few Kirin Ichiban, make a mess, have fun, and eat until you can eat no more. I buy frozen pre-made gyoza skins, avoiding the most difficult and tedious phase, which would involve making a dough of just the right consistency, dividing it into perfectly equal parts and rolling each one out to a perfect circle of translucent thinness. Factories exist to make gyoza skins precisely because it’s a horrendous faff and should rarely if ever be attempted in the home. (I say this as someone who has tried.)
All Japanese people I have questioned on the matter believe that gyoza skins do not belong properly to the category of carbohydrates. Therefore, it is perfectly acceptable – nay, necessary – to serve rice alongside gyoza.
recipe: pork and cabbage gyoza
many hands make light work
- 1 package gyoza skins (usually about 40)
- 1 head Chinese cabbage (or closest available variety, finely chopped)
- 500 g pork mince
- bunch chives (finely chopped)
- 2 spring onions (finely chopped)
- knob ginger (minced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce (plus extra for dipping)
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil (plus extra for frying)
- rice wine vinegar
- chilli flakes (optional)
- sleight of hand
for the filling
- Start by chopping the cabbage very finely. Once finished, place it in a very large bowl lined with a clean tea towel. Take a second clean tea towel and press it down over the cabbage. The aim is to remove as much moisture from the cabbage as possible to avoid the eventual mixture being too wet. You may need to apply some pressure. Leave for a while.
- Mince the ginger and garlic and finely chop the chives and spring onions. When the cabbage is quite dry, remove the tea towels and combine all the chopped ingredients.
- Add the pork mince and season with the soy sauce, mirin and toasted sesame oil. Mix by hand, squeezing the ingredients together to form a paste-like consistency.
to shape (here goes!)
- First, set out a plate or two to receive the finished gyoza, fill a small dish with water and place these within reach. Hand out teaspoons.
- Place one gyoza skin flat across the fingers of one hand.
- Spoon a small amount of filling into the centre of the gyoza skin. Flatten the filling into a circle, then dip a finger into the water and wet the outer margin of the gyoza skin halfway around.
- Lower the middle finger of your gyoza-holding hand to form a little nest, folding the gyoza skin gently in half. Don’t press the edges together yet.
- Seal one corner of the gyoza, then crimp by wrinkling the nearest edge outwards and flattening towards the centre. Crimp again three or four times, then start again at the opposite end. Your crimps should meet in the middle, sealing the gyoza completely.
to cook and serve
- Heat a little oil in a lidded frying pan. Place the gyoza together in a tight ring, crimped edges upright. Wait for the bottoms to brown slightly and come loose from the pan.
- Gently pour in one cup (200ml) of boiling water, then seal the pan. Bring up to a vigorous boil before turning the heat down low. Leave the lid on for a further 5-10 minutes or until the pan is dry.
- When the pan is dry, remove the lid. Gently loosen the ring of gyoza and tip upside-down onto a serving plate, displaying their crisp, fried bottoms.
- Serve with a dipping sauce made with your preferred ratio of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and chilli flakes. Pull hot gyoza from the ring using chopsticks, dip and enjoy. Start cooking the next batch!
Leftover filling can be chilled and used later for burgers or, better, more gyoza. Resist the urge to make gyoza lasagne, even if it lends itself to a portmanteau; this is not a sound basis for cooking. (See also: ‘cronut’)