Imagine walking down rows of food stands with any kind of food you can imagine. Every smell, every sound that comes from cooking is in one place. Naturally, that would make your food decision very difficult. This is what it is like walking around the Chiang Mai food bazaars. This is where I discovered Gyoza.
The first night I arrived in Chiang Mai, my friend and I immediately headed for the bazaars. Truthfully, I was supposed to meet up with a girl I met on the train on my way up to Chiang Mai. What ended up happening was a couple hours of eating 10 different dishes from hundreds of food stalls in the bazaar, including an amazing little gyoza stand. I ate at this little Gyoza stand at least six separate times over the next couple of weeks.
A Gyoza is a small, delicate Japanese steamed dumpling.
The filling can be pork, beef, or vegetarian and it’s usually comprised of cabbage, ginger, and red chili. The rest is optional.
The first time I had Gyoza was in Chiang Mai, Thailand’s food bazaars but it has not been my last. Since then, I have had Gyoza in Portland, San Francisco, Bangkok, and several other places.
A few weeks back, I decided to make my own since there wasn’t any good place in Utah that had them. The difference between my gyoza and others is that I cook the meat mixture before hand and then cook the Gyoza the same way. I had a few Gyoza in San Francisco that was not completely cooked so this is a good way of making sure this does not happen.
The traditional sauce that is served with Gyoza is a mixture of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and different seasoning. Instead of using this sauce, I just use soy sauce and put the rest of the stuff inside the dumpling.
Here is the recipe:
KC’s Gyoza (Japanese Dumplings)
3 cups loosely packed cabbage, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
12 oz ground pork
1/2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 tbsp. green onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. crushed red chili pepper
2 tsp. rice wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. sugar
40 dumpling wrappers (or wonton wrappers cut into a circle with biscuit cutter)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 cup water
1. Mix the cabbage with the salt in a large bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes.
This helps draw out a lot of moisture from your cabbage, making sure your gyoza isn’t soggy. Squeeze the water out of the cabbage in a fine sieve. Discard the excess water and then transfer the cabbage to a deep bowl.
2. Add the pork, ginger, garlic, green onion, sesame oil, crushed red pepper, rice wine vinegar, pepper, and sugar.
Mix everything together with your hands until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Cook the filling until the sausage is completely cooked. Cool completely.
3. Have a bowl of water ready next to your wrappers.
Lay a dumpling wrapper on a dry work surface and place a heaping teaspoon of the meat mixture in the center of the wrapper. Get your finger wet and trace half of the outside edge of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper over to enclose the filling, and pinch the wrapper in the center to seal the edges together at that spot.
4. Holding the filled half-circle in the left hand, pleat the top of the wrapper from the middle out, pressing it to the flat edge of the wrapper at the back.
Set aside the stuffed dumpling with the pleated-wrapper edge up. Repeat to make 40 dumplings in all. The dumplings might dry out a little bit so you can but some wet paper towels over them to prevent this.
5. In a large skillet with a tight fitting lid, heat 1 tsp. of the sesame oil over medium-high heat.
Carefully place as many of the dumplings that can fit without touching in the skillet with the pleated-wrapper edge up. Cook the dumplings for 3 minutes, or until nicely browned on the bottom. Check the progress by lifting 1 or 2 dumplings by their pleated edge.
6. Once the bottoms are nicely browned, carefully pour in 1/4 cup of the water.
When the hissing dies down, drizzle in 1/2 tsp. of the sesame oil around the edge of the skillet. Place the lid on the skillet to trap in the moisture and then quickly lower the heat to keep the liquid at barely a simmer.
7. Check the dumplings after 2 minutes.
When the wrappers appear more clear, remove the lid and raise the heat slightly. Continue to cook until all the water has evaporated and only the oil remains (about 2 minutes). Once you hear a sizzling sound, shake the skillet. The dumplings should slide about. If they seem to stick to the skillet, move the skillet away from the stove and replace the lid for a moment. Remove the dumplings from the skillet with a broad flexible spatula. If you’d like, flip them over so that the seared surface faces up.
8. Serve and Eat!
A lot of restaurants steam their dumplings before searing them so they can just grill and serve. Steaming the Gyoza before does not create as good of a crispy, brown surface but if you are planning on doing a dinner party you should consider doing it this way. This will free up time for you to have a mingle!
What do you think? Have you tried the recipe and it did not work out? Comment in the comments below and I will try and trouble shoot with you!
If you liked this recipe, check out some of my other recipes!