I want to be clear about something. I’m German, but my gyoza is not. There’s nothing German about it. But I’m also not very skilled at Japanese cooking. So my simple gyoza is not authentic Japanese cooking either. I’m a German girl cooking gyoza with very little skill. I just though German Girl Gyoza had a nice ring to it. It’s really a lesson in alliteration for you. I think the word we’re all looking for here now is, anyway…..(thanks Ross).
When I lived in Vancouver my absolute favorite Japanese restaurant was a tiny hole in the wall place called Momo Sushi. (It’s on Water Street in Gastown, if you’re ever there). I used to go with my coworkers all the time during lunch break and I almost always had an order of the gyoza. They had pan fried, but they also had deep fried. Oh my. Deep fried gyoza is on a totally different wavelength of yumminess. Order it, if you ever have that option. You’re worth it.
But here in our little town of Arlington WA, there is not a good Japanese restaurant on every block, or any block for that matter. Personally, I feel like driving into Seattle would be the best bet. (Hey locals, this is where you tell me I’m wrong and I should check out “such and such place” in another closer city). I’m not a big fan of buying these types of things in the frozen section at the grocery store either, so the only option for good gyoza was to figure out how to make them myself. So I did.
This takes time, and I will say ahead that this recipe makes a lot (50-60) because when I make the effort, I like to freeze them as well. It’s so nice to have homemade pre-portioned items like this ready to go in your freezer.
2 ½ cups shredded/chopped cabbage and mixed salad
3 tablespoons green onion
1 tablespoons minced garlic
½ tablespoon finely minced ginger
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
½ tablespoon white rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon italian flat leaf parsley
1 pound regular ground pork sausage
A pinch of salt and pepper to taste
50 pack of gyoza or wonton wrappers
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil for pan
¼ warm water for steaming
1 tablespoon sesame oil for frying in pan
¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
½ tablespoon rice vinegar
½ tablespoon oyster sauce
½ tablespoon cooking sherry
¼ tablespoon finely minced ginger
½ tablespoon brown sugar
Using a pre-mixed cabbage based salad bag, measure out 2 ½ cups and use a knife to chop the salad up very fine into small pieces. Put into a bowl and add all of the additional ingredients. Combine completely. Chill in the fridge for a minimum of an hour.
An hour later, have a small bowl of warm water ready, get your mix from the fridge, and lay out about 6 gyoza wrappers on the counter. Using a very small cookie scoop or small teaspoon measure, put small amounts of the filling in the center of each wrapper. Working quickly, wet your fingers with the warm water and run it along the edge of each side of the wrapper to act as a glue.
Starting from the center of one side, pinch the opposite center edge together to seal and then using a fan-like fold, press the sides firmly closed to completely seal. Lay each gyoza on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
Ensure that your wrappers stay in the plastic wrapping or under a slightly damp dish towel so they do not dry out while you are assembling. They should be soft and pliable.
When your baking sheet is full, place in the freezer for 30 minutes until firm and then transfer to freezer bags for use at another time.
If cooking right away, get a cooking pan with a lid heating on your stove on medium heat. Add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Place gyoza in the pan in a circular form with some space between each. Do not overcrowd. Fry them gently for 3 minutes. Add ¼ cup of warm water to your pan at the same heat and put on the lid to your pan. Steam the gyoza for 4-5 minutes. After 4-5 minutes, remove the lid, allow left over water to steam off and then add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil for final 2-3 minutes of frying to get a nice crisp, browned bottom. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.
If cooking from frozen, do not thaw. Place frozen gyoza in same pan with oil but fry for 5-6 minutes and steam for 6-7 minutes. Then fry with the sesame oil for another 2-3 until crisp and golden brown, as above.
Here’s how they turn out:
Here is the bag of chopped mixed salad I’m using this time. I do not always use the same, but I like to make sure that there’s a good amount of cabbage in it. I have also bought and used straight up cabbage, but I like the mix for more variety of texture and flavor. I like the pieces very small and fine so I tend to pour it on a cutting board and chop it up finer.
Then I add all of the filling mixture ingredients.
Then the ground pork.
Mix it all up very well. It should be wet enough that it all sticks together well. Like you could make a giant meatball out of it and it would stay put, kind of thing.
Here in Arlington, we can buy wonton wrappers, but gyoza wrappers seem to be a little hard to comeby. In fact, I am yet to find them. So I make do with these. If you were to find actual gyoza wrappers, they would be round, not square. But, it’s the same wrapper for the most part, and works just as well.
After chilling your mix for about an hour (this helps soften the cabbage and gets the flavor nice and melded together), have it ready on the counter with a cookie scoop or small spoon, a small bowl of warm water and lay out a few wrappers to start filling. Leave the rest of the wrappers in the plastic wrap or lay a damp towel over them so they don’t dry out, while waiting their turn.
Then start putting your mixture in the center of each wrapper, one by one. Less is more. Don’t overfill because you won’t get the wrapper closed properly.
Then dampen your fingers with the water and wet each of the 4 edges of the wrapper, or the entire circle if you have a round one, to act as the glue.
Pinch the two edges together in the middle.
Then one side at a time, fold over to try to make a pretty fan-like pinch.
It will look something like this, if you are unskilled as I am. I want to take a class on how to do this properly and make them really pretty. By about 20 gyoza in, you should see my sad shameful pinching on these. My son would probably do a better job. But I’m going to be a ‘proud German’ and instead blame the wrappers, because they are square and not round. If they were round they would have been perfect. Obviously.
Lay them out on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and when it’s full, put it in your freezer for about a half hour until they’re nice and firm. Then you can put them in freezer bags and have them ready for the next meal you use them with. This recipe made me about 50 gyoza, so it’s a bit of work now, but it’s fantastic later when you need them and they are ready to go. (Please don’t look too closely at my pinching and folding. It’s pretty sorry).
Some went into the freezer, and I kept 10 out to go along with dinner. I placed them in a deep frying pan with a lid, on medium heat with olive oil. Fry these for about 3 minutes.
Then get about ¼ cup of warm water and slowly pour it in your pan and put the lid on immediately. Let these babies steam for about 4-5 minutes. This is where they will fully cook through on the inside.
When you take the lid off, give it about a minute for the remainder of water to steam off and then add in your tablespoon of sesame oil. This will bubble up and give a beautiful, final touch of flavor that makes them just that much better.
The sesame oil will ensure you get a nice golden crispy bottom after the last few minutes. However, if you are like me, I also like crispy on the sides a little too. Crispy everywhere, please. So here you will notice that I turned them a little on the sides so they would get more crispy all around. Just because. Typically, they’re are not done this way. But this is a German Girl Gyoza. Germans like frying stuff.
Plate those little ladies up with the dipping sauce you made earlier and go for it. It makes a great appetizer.
Or it’s the perfect friend to a homemade beef fried rice.
These are so flavorful and the dipping sauce is a perfect savory taste with a nice little tang to it.
If you live in a small neighborhood like we do, things like gyoza may not be around the corner from your house at 2am on a Tuesday (how sad, right?) but there’s no reason why you still can’t have it. Just make it yourself! And you’ll be glad you did. It’s homemade, healthier, and you can eat twice as many because of that.
– The Homesteaders Wife