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.
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
- Prep time 10 minutes
- Cook time 12 hours 20 minutes
- Makes about 60
- For the Pork Filling
about 4 cups
(12 oz/340 g) Napa cabbage, finely chopped
(455 grams) ground pork (preferably pork shoulder)
cloves garlic, grated
(3 oz/90 g) garlic chives, finely minced, or scallions, finely minced
finely grated ginger
(120 ml) chicken broth or Kombu Dashi (see note)
toasted sesame oil
Freshly ground black pepper
- For the Wrappers
10-ounce (284 g) package gyoza skins (about 60 wrappers)
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve immediately with la-yu, soy sauce, and kurozu (amber rice vinegar)—pick one or any com-bination—for dipping.