Sunday Dinner

Sonoko Sakai's Gyoza

February 13, 2020
5 Ratings
Photo by Rick Poon
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 12 hours 20 minutes
  • Makes about 60
Author Notes

Dumplings are always a crowd pleaser. I make a classic ground pork, shrimp, and cabbage filling. You can prepare the filling a day in advance. Fill the wrappers while you are entertaining your guests in the kitchen before the meal—I can assure you that people will love to watch you wrap and fry the dumplings. Some might even offer to help you wrap, and it is totally okay to accept their help and wind up with some crooked-looking or otherwise oddly shaped dumplings.
I cook my dumplings in a 10-inch (25 cm) nonstick skillet or well-seasoned cast-iron pan, which fits about 25 to 30 dumplings. I make one batch and let people stand in the kitchen and enjoy them right out of the pan, then I do a second batch. I serve them with a simple side dish of namuru—blanched bean sprouts shocked in ice water and seasoned with a dash of toasted sesame oil, a pinch of salt, and shichimi togarashi (seven-spice blend). It is very refreshing and makes a nice foil to the rich, hot gyoza.

Kombu Dashi

La- yu (Spicy Chile Oil)

From Japanese Home Cooking by Sonoko Sakai © 2019 Sonoko Sakai. Photographs © 2019 by Rick Poon. Reprinted in arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO.   —Food52

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Sonoko Sakai's Gyoza
  • For the Pork Filling
  • about 4 cups (12 oz/340 g) Napa cabbage, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 pound (455 grams) ground pork (preferably pork shoulder)
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 cup (3 oz/90 g) garlic chives, finely minced, or scallions, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) chicken broth or Kombu Dashi (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Wrappers
  • 1 10-ounce (284 g) package gyoza skins (about 60 wrappers)
  • 2 tablespoons tablespoons toasted sesame oil, plus an additional 1 teaspoon for extra-crispy gyoza
  • For the Table
  • La- yu (Spicy Chile Oil; see headnote)
  • Kurozu (amber rice vinegar) or lemon wedges
  • Soy sauce
  • Rice vinegar
  1. To make the pork filling, combine the cabbage and 2 teaspoons salt in a medium bowl and massage the cabbage for 2 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes, then squeeze out excess moisture and discard the liquid. You should have about 1 cup of wilted minced cabbage.
  2. Combine the pork, cabbage, garlic, garlic chives, ginger, chicken broth, soy sauce, sake, and sesame oil and season with pepper. Knead the mixture for 4 to 5 minutes, until it is well combined and smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
  3. Fill a small bowl with water and put it next to a cutting board, where you will form the gyoza. The water will be used to dampen and seal the gyoza wrappers. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it next to the cutting board for your wrapped gyoza.
  4. Place the wrappers next to one another on the cutting board without overlapping. Spoon approximately 1 scant tablespoon of the filling into the middle of each wrapper. The amount of filling will depend on the size of the wrapper; you don’t want to be skimpy, but you also don’t want too much filling on your wrapper, as the contents might spill out as they cook.
  5. To wrap a gyoza, dip your fingertip into the water and use it to dampen the whole edge of the wrapper. Lift the front and back edges and pinch them together in the center; the dampness will form a seal between the two edges. Begin pleating along the front edge and folding the pleats so that the folds point toward the center. Fold two or three pleats on the right. Do the same with the left, with the pleats pointing toward the center. Press firmly on each pleat to completely seal the wrapper. Place the sealed uncooked gyoza on the baking sheet, flattening the bottom so it stands upright with the pleated edge at the top. Repeat with the remaining wrappers.
  6. To cook the gyoza, heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a 10-inch (25 cm) nonstick skillet over medium- high heat. You will get the best results when the pan is heated evenly.
  7. Place half of the gyoza into the pan, forming three rows with all the dumplings facing in the same direction and standing in the pan, not lying down. Fry the gyoza for 3 to 4 minutes, until the bottoms are evenly browned. Pour about ¾ cup (180 ml) water, enough to cover the bottom third of the gyoza, into the pan. Be ready to cover the pan immediately with a lid because the water will sizzle and splash. Lower the heat and simmer with the lid on until almost all the liquid is gone, 5 to 6 minutes.
  8. Remove the lid and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook until the bottom of the gyoza become dry and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes. For an even crispier finish, add ½ teaspoon sesame oil to the pan and swirl it around, lifting the gyoza up with a spatula so the oil can spread evenly beneath. Continue to cook for about 1 minute, until the bottoms of the gyoza are crisp. Remove from heat and loosen the gyoza with a spatula. Transfer to a serving plate, bottom-side up. While your diners are eating the first batch, cook the remaining batch in the same way.
  9. Serve immediately with la-yu, soy sauce, and kurozu (amber rice vinegar)—pick one or any com-bination—for dipping.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • kawaii_jarate
  • Kristene Fitzgerald
    Kristene Fitzgerald
  • tkohara
  • Dradis

4 Reviews

kawaii_jarate August 3, 2022
10/10 recipe!

TLDR: Whether you're a Japanese person looking for that nostalgic taste you can't quite replicate, or a Japanese food lover trying to make something new and adventurous, or maybe you stumbled upon the Dear Test Kitchen video on your recommended videos, this recipe will not disappoint.

Growing up in a Japanese-American household and family, gyoza was not a usual find amongst the spread of homemade goodies at our table. However, a plate of gyoza from the local Japanese restaurant which housed countless birthday parties and other celebrations was always the understated and humble favorite.

When COVID closed the flagship restaurant, to say the Japanese-American community was saddened is an understatement. I was able to recreate several of their recipes, but after many attempts, I was unable to recreate the distinct flavor of their gyoza.

Fast forward a couple of years, and I stumble upon this recipe. Trepidatious, I approached this recipe with some skepticism. Much to my surprise, and joy, this was the flavor I had been looking for. I've made these multiple times for friends and family, and I've received nothing but compliments.

Sonoko Sakai's approach to Japanese food from a Japanese-American's perspective is nostalgic and forward-thinking. In my humble opinion, I think Japanese food can be stifled by tradition and intimidating for inexperienced cooks, but this recipe pays homage to the traditional flavors, but allows for flexibility with the necessary addition of garlic.
tkohara May 4, 2020
Made this gyoza and loved it!
Reminded me of my mother's gyoza (she is from japan).
Kristene F. March 31, 2020
I made these tonight for dinner and they were amazing! I couldn’t find Gyoza wrappers in my local grocery so we made our own. I used my pasta maker to roll out the dough and they were perfect. Would definitely make these again.
Dradis February 22, 2020
These were my first attempt on gyoza. We scared of the folding bit. But I did it! And man....the filling is heavenly. Just like any good Japanese restaurant. Amazing recipe!