Potstickers. Dumplings. Gyoza. Fried wontons. Whatever you call them, a crispy wrapper stuffed with a savory filling is a universally popular snack. While typically considered a starter, I have certainly seen plenty of people order multiple servings and enjoy them as a meal. No judgment! We have made literally thousands of them in my restaurant kitchens, and now I want to share my recipe for pork gyoza. The recipe yields dozens and freezes beautifully. They can be cooked right from the freezer, meaning you can have authentic pork gyoza in minutes, whenever you want! I can tell you from experience these make a great late night Netflix and chill snack…
Let’s Get Cooking!
First we will make the filling. This is a very simple, straightforward process. You will begin by removing the core from the cabbage, and cutting it into quarters. You will only need one quarter for the pork gyoza, so save the leftover cabbage for Asian Pear Pomegranate Salad. Using the pulse button on your food processor, finely chop the cabbage. (Using the pulse button prevents the cabbage from being puréed into mush.) Put the chopped cabbage into a large bowl.
Mix it Up:
Next we add the sesame oil, garlic, ginger, pork, soy sauce, oyster sauce, chives, salt, and pepper. This is not the time to use lean meat. Use the highest fat percentage ground meat you can find- that fat is going to keep your pork gyoza nice and juicy. As for the chives, if I have them on hand I prefer to use Chinese chives. They have a sharper flavor, sturdier texture, and a longer shelf life. If you don’t have access to Chinese chives, the chives you find in most American grocery stores will work just fine. If I don’t have either on hand, I sub the dark green part of scallions, which are abundant and available year round.
Now you need to turn all these ingredients into a smooth filling. The best way to do this is to actually smack the filling against the bowl as you’re mixing it. You will need to mix and smack against the bowl for 2-3 minutes, until you can see that all of the ingredients have been thoroughly mixed into a nice tacky paste.
Next take a spoonful of the filling, and fry it in a pan and taste it to see if you want to add any more seasoning. Once you stuff your gyozas, it’s too late to adjust the seasoning. (This is a good trick to remember for any meat mix that you cannot taste raw, such as meatloaf. You definitely want to know that it tastes great before you start baking it.)
Stuff and Seal
Once you know your filling is absolutely delicious, it’s time to stuff and seal your gyozas. Having sealed so many gyozas in my lifetime, the muscle memory is so strong I can do this in my sleep. But if this is your first time, there is a bit of a learning curve. Don’t worry though, even misshapen potstickers are still delicious. Just call them “rustic” and serve with pride.
To start, whisk the egg with a teaspoon of water. You will use this mixture to brush on half the gyoza wrapper to help it seal shut. Place a tablespoon of the filling on your wrapper. Then hold it in one hand while pleating and sealing the dough with your other hand. It’s actually better to slightly overfill than under fill as you want to have a nice plump dumpling. However, the key is to stuff them with the same amount of filling, so you do not run the risk of having some potstickers overcooked and others raw.
A Perfect Project For Family and Friends
It can seem like a lot of work making homemade gyoza. This is why it’s typically a communal project. A group can make fast work of it while laughing and sharing some time together. Chinese families make potstickers for special occasions because the shape of the potstickers is reminiscent of old coins and symbolizes wealth. My Japanese family just did it when we had extra hands available. Whatever your reason, gather your tribe because no store bought bag of dumplings will ever compare!
This recipe makes about 70 gyoza. Set aside the ones you want to devour immediately. Place the rest on a baking sheet, in a single layer with space around each one, and freeze. Once they are frozen solid, you can put them in a ziplock bag and store in the freezer. Cook them directly from the freezer and add a couple more minutes of cooking time; if you let them defrost, the moisture will turn them into a gooey mess.
Make the Dipping Sauce and Pan Fry the Gyoza:
Making the sauce is as easy as just stirring together all the ingredients. If you have any leftover, it’s delicious poured on salads or as a sauce for simple fried items.
The last step it to pan fry the gyoza. This is the time when a nonstick or well seasoned pan really comes in handy. Heat the oil, and then carefully lower the gyoza into the pan in one layer. Don’t over crowd; we want them to fry and crisp, not steam! Cook for a couple minutes, and then check one to see if it’s browned on the bottom. If it is, add the water and cover the pan. Let it cook for about 5 minutes, to cook the filling through. Then remove the lid and give it a couple minutes more to let the bottoms get nice and crispy.
Serve immediately with the sauce. Be prepared for them to go quickly!
If you make our Pork Gyoza we want to know! Leave a comment, tag us in your pics (even of your ‘rustic’ ones) @funkyasiankitchen– show us the goods!
Authentic Japanese Gyoza and dipping sauce.
For the Gyoza:
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 4 large garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons minced ginger
- 2 lbs of ground pork (not lean, you need the fat for a rich juicy texture)
- ¼ small green cabbage, cored and cut into a couple pieces
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- ½ bunch chives or scallions finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 package wonton or gyoza wheat wrappers
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup oil for pan frying
- 2 garlic clove minced
- ½ inch piece of ginger peeled and minced
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
Make the Sauce:
- Mix all the sauce ingredients together.
- Set aside until ready to use.
Make the Filling:
- Using a food processor, pulse the cabbage until it is finely chopped. You should have about 2 cups. Scoop it out carefully into a large bowl. Add the sesame oil, garlic, ginger, pork, soy sauce, oyster sauce, chives, salt, and pepper.
- Mix the ingredients well, working the filling by smacking it against the bowl. You need to mix and smack until the pork is sticky and pasty, about 2-3 mins. Then cook a little of the filling in a small pan over medium heat and taste it. Adjust seasoning as needed.
Stuff and Wrap:
- In a small dish, whisk the egg with a fork to scramble it. Then, using the back of a teaspoon, brush half of the wrapper.
- Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper and then holding the dumpling with your left hand (if you are right handed), pleat the dumplings by pushing the dough with your left index and middle fingers to create a fold. Then pull the fold with your right index finger, pinching gently to form a pleat. Seal the pleat by pinching it firmly with the right index finger and thumb.
- Keep folding and sealing 6-7 times across the top of the dumpling until you have a row of beautiful pleats. It takes a little practice to make it work, but keep trying. All misshapen dumplings taste amazing too!
- Use a baking tray to group the dumplings once you’ve shaped them. Make neat rows of dumplings and continue making dumplings until you are finished with the filling.
- When you are ready to cook the dumplings, heat a non-stick or heavy seasoned pan over medium high heat. Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil and swirl it to coat the skillet. Add 6-10 dumplings in one layer depending on the size of your pan. They should not be touching.
- Cook them for about 2 mins (check and see if the bottoms are golden brown). Add ¼ cup of water, cover, and cook for 5 mins. Uncover and cook for another 1-2 to crisp up bottom again. (There should be no water left in the pan and the residual oil should be enough to keep the potstickers from sticking.) Repeat with remaining dumplings by cooking in batches.
Serve immediately with dipping sauce.
* You can freeze the dumplings if you are not planning on eating all of them. Arrange the dumplings on the tray so they are not touching one another. Freeze the dumplings for 6-8 hours until they are frozen solid. Bang the tray on the counter a couple of times to help loosen them. Transfer the dumplings into storage bags or air tight containers. You can cook the dumplings straight from the freezer. Do not defrost them or you will have a wet gooey mess.
- Serving Size: 4 gyoza