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Mar 11

How To Make Gyoza

 

 

 

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Woohoo … potstickers! Everybody loves ’em, I mean, how can you not? Moorish little parcels of meat and vegetables wrapped up in a delicate skin of flour. Steam them, fry them or boil them in a pot of broth, Asian-style dumplings are all serious good eats. I have attempted to make wontons before but they weren’t really successful. Edible, yes … but far from what I would call successful. Why? Because they split and filling was floating all over in the soup pot. Total bummer; I have yet to master the art of crimping dumplings without trapping any air in.

 

 

Today’s recipe comes from me, but for the method I had to seek instruction elsewhere. And where better to look than YouTube. Crimping is a skill best learned by watching a demo, and for this I have to give full credit to Chef & Francis of Cooking with Dog. I love this duo (trio, if you count the narrator) for their easy to follow Japanese recipes and clear instructions. They are quirky, yes, but endearingly so. By the way, Francis is the Poodle, hence the name of the channel. Me being me, it took me a while to figure that out. I was under the impression that Francis was the guy giving the English narration.

 

 

Anyway, off to Chinatown I went to get gyoza wrappers and I returned with a determination to get this done right. I very wisely set myself a tight budget otherwise I would be walking out of there with a whole heap of things … usually crap things like White Rabbit milk candies, savoury rice crackers, Japanese chocolates … etc. Does not look good on the receipt when R. looks at it on a later date.  🙂  I got to work on the dumplings last night … after ten is when I usually get the most inspired, but am forced to do most of my cooking during the day solely for the lighting and photos. I do miss the days I used to live with my ex-flatmate, Jules coz he’d have no qualms about eating experimental food at any time of night. Apart from him there was also Y.C who lived about two trams stops from us and he’d gladly come over after midnight for food. The joy of having these two around was that I could cook all I wanted and stuff would never be thrown out. Those were the days where I really started taking a full on interest in not just cooking but baking as well. A huge learning curve was achieved in those four years in Melbourne.

 

 

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Pork and Shrimp Potstickers. 

 

 

1 pkt gyoza wrappers (the round ones)

100 g minced pork

100 g raw tiger prawns, shelled and deveined

1 shallot

1 stalk spring onion, white part only

2 tbsp chopped chives

2 cloves garlic

2 tsp grated ginger

 

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp water

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 tsp Chinese cooking wine

2 tsp cornstarch

 

 

 

 

Coming back to the gyozas/ potstickers, all you really need are simple everyday ingredients. Actually, I really shouldn’t say that … to me these ingredients would be considered everyday ingredients, but to many of you they may be rather foreign. The filling I am using is kinda a basic prawn + pork filling … versatile enough to be used in any kind of dumpling. The reason why I am incorporating minced shrimp is to give the rather dense meat filling a light and bouncy texture.

 

 

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First you’ll need to thoroughly mix up the minced pork, ginger, garlic, green onion and chives until slightly sticky. The pieces of onion, ginger and garlic need to be fairly small so the best way to do this is to chuck them all into a small blender, which gives them a very fine chop and they all come out uniformly small. As for the chives I simply snip them using a pair of kitchen scissors.

 

Next, in the same blender, pulse the prawns until they are quite minced but not exactly a paste. The prawns will feel rather sticky and pasty … this is a good thing. Add this to the pork mixture and mix well. Once that is done you can add in all the sauce ingredients. Give it a thorough mix again and before shoving the mixture into the fridge I always like to taste for seasoning first. Heat up a pan and take a small teaspoon sized scoop of the mixture. Pan fry and then taste it. If you are satisfied, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and shove everything into the fridge for about 4 hrs. I simply let it sit in the fridge overnight even though I so badly wanted to eat them immediately.

 

 

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The  next day, start filling your gyoza wrappers. Prepare a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or foil, and sprinkle flour on it. Your filled gyozas will sit on this sheet until you are ready to cook them. Take a wrapper and place about a teaspoon of filling in the center. Smear water around the edges and crimp like how Chef does it in the video. Then place each one onto the flour-dusted sheet pan.

 

 

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I made all two dozen gyoza (five of which I ate the night before during my test-run) and then they were all gone in a flash. Poof!

 

To cook these babies I followed Chef’s instructions to a tee and they came out perfectly … with fried crispy bottoms and steamed tops. The filling was cooked all the way through and delicious. The good thing about cooking these is that you can pop in as many into the pan as you can manage and cook them all at the same time. Smear a hot skillet with veggie oil or sesame oil, then line up the gyoza directly onto the surface.

 

 

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Wait for a couple of minutes then add water. Cover with a tight fitting lid and leave to steam until all the water has dried out. At the end of the cooking process drizzle sesame oil in between the dumplings and then lift out of the pan using a spatula. The bottoms will be somewhat stuck to the pan (why do you think they are called potstickers?) so you will need to be a bit firm with their removal without tearing the skin of the gyoza. The bottoms should be crisp and golden … not burnt to a crisp.

 

 

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Flip them out onto a serving platter, crispy side up, and serve immediately with dipping sauce. The sauce is made by combining light soy sauce, black vinegar and some freshly grated ginger. I like to add a few drops of sesame oil into my sauce as well. Serve up and enjoy these scrumptious little morsels with a cold beer. It is a great made-ahead meal so prep loads of them before your pals arrive, store them in a plastic container or on the floured tray covered with a damp tea towel.

 

 

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Pleating them took no time at all and I was rather surprised when I came to my last gyoza skin so quickly. Getting the edges to stick was also very easy and there were no leaks or dumpling explosions during the whole cooking process. Each and every one came out intact and perfect. I really wonder where I went wrong with my wonton recipe … it’s been years and to this day I cannot make them well.

 

 

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So there you have it folks, my very successful attempt at making potstickers. Big shout out to Chef and Francis for posting and sharing so many of their wonderful Japanese cooking recipes, thus making it possible for me to produce perfect gyozas of my own. I’m only sad that there are no more left.  If you are interested in learning more authentic Japanese recipes, do check out their cooking channel on YouTube.

 

 

I’d love to feature more Asian dishes on my blog because I have come to realize that inspite of my vast experience eating them, I often have no knowledge whatsoever when it comes to cooking them from scratch. In Asia we a rather spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out. We take food for granted sometimes and tend to leave it to the experts, so to speak. That’s just another way of saying we are simply too tired, too lazy, can’t be bothered to cook for whatever reason. So perhaps you could help me by giving suggestions in the comments box below of what I should cook next. I shall endeavor to make all your requests a reality. In the meantime, do enjoy this recipe until we meet again.

 

 

~ Enjoy! ~

 

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