You might ask why am I calling these Pot Stickers “Japanese Gyoza”? Gyoza was originally a Chinese dish that was introduced to Japan. There are four different categories of Japanese Gyoza depending on how they are cooked: Yaki Gyoza (pan fried), Sui Gyoza (boiled), Mushi Gyoza (steamed), and Age Gyoza (deep fried). When you say Japanese Gyoza, it generally refers to the pan fried Yaki Gyoza. I believe usually 饺子 (jiǎo zi; the original Chinese word for Gyoza) 餃子 actually refers to the boiled gyoza. That’s why I call this “Japanese Gyoza”.
Pork mince and Cabbage or Wombok are traditionally the main ingredients of Gyoza, but if you decide to use different ingredients, the name will change too! For example, Japanese gyoza can be also be called Ebi Gyoza (for shrimp), or Yasai Gyoza (for vegetables). The recipe I am going to share is the basic one that Japanese people usually make, with the main ingredient being pork mince.
Which should be the next main ingredient? Cabbage or Wombok (Hakusai)? There is always a debate about whether cabbage or Wombok should be used. I used Cabbage this time because it is now nearly summer and Wombok is out of season. In my opinion it all comes down to the freshness and availability of the ingredients, as well as peoples’ personal preferences.
A few months ago, a Japanese friend in my neighbourhood (lucky me) gave me some Chinese chive seedlings (Nira in Japanese). Since this plant has grown so well, I decided to use some Nira in my recipe as well. Using Chinese chives or garlic and ginger in Japanese Gyoza is to clear the unpleasant meat smell that may linger.
Now I am going to talk about how to achieve that all important crispy golden brown Gyoza bottom. I used an electrical cooking plate because a whole bunch of Gyoza can be cooked at once, and it makes it easy to control the temperature too. When we had Gyoza in Japan, we always used a cooking plate and cooked it out on the table, just like when we would have Teppanyaki or Sukiyaki.
Of course, Gyoza can be cooked in a frying pan. If you are going to use frying pan, make sure you arrange the Gyoza with generous gaps between each piece in the frying pan. You may also want to fry them in separate batches to avoid the Gyoza sticking together and tearing.
Usually Japanese Gyoza is cooked in a “steam fried” fashion, where it is first fried then steamed to finish them off. When using this method, the water needs to be hot water because If you add cold water it will bring down the pan’s temperature. This will make the wrapper absorb the water, and you will simply end up with a soggy mess, instead of a beautifully cooked Gyoza.
When the water evaporates entirely, and the wrapper become transparent, add a little bit of sesame oil for flavour and to make the bottom of the gyoza crispy golden brown, if you add corn starch or plain flour and water mixture in you can make Hanetsuki Gyoza (a recipe that I shared with you previously). Make sure you serve your Gyoza immediately. Serve with a mixture of soy sauce and rice vinegar for dipping. You can also add Rayu chilli oil if you prefer a bit of spice!
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How to make Japanese Gyoza( pot stickers) at home
- 32 Gyoza wrappers I used store bought
- 250 g Pork mince
- 200 g or 2cups Cabbage
- 20 g or ¼ cup Chinese Chives
- 20 g or ¼ cup Spring onion
- 10 g or ½ tbsp. Grated ginger
- 1 Clove 5g or 1 tsp Garlic
- 1 tbsp Sake
- 1 tbsp Sesame seed oil
- 1 tsp Soy sauce
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil for frying
Chop cabbage, Chinese chives, and spring onion finely and set aside.
Remove the skin from the ginger and grate finely.
Using a garlic mincer, mince the garlic and set aside.
Mix the pork mince, shredded cabbage, spring onion, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sake, sesame oil, salt and pepper together in a bowl.
Mix together well until they become well combined and sticky in texture.
Spoon about a tablespoon of the mixture into the centre of a Gyoza wrapper and fold while pinching the sides together to close the Gyoza. Use your thumbs to fold it and use your right index finger to push mince filling in (see photo or mini video if you are not familiar with this method) .
Heat a fry pan over medium heat and place the Gyoza in the pan and brown the bottom part of the Gyoza.
Once the Gyoza is slightly browned on the bottom, pour ¼ cup hot water into the pan to steam fry the Gyoza.
Put a lid on the pan to steam the Gyoza and turn the heat up to high. Steam cook for about 3 minutes.
Take the lid off and let the water evaporate. Carefully pour a little bit of sesame seed oil around the Gyoza to make the bottom turn crisp and golden brown.
Turn off the heat and serve the Gyoza on a plate with the bottom up for best presentation.
* I recommend to use Japanese gyoza wrapper. I found that Chinese wrapper is thicker than Japanese gyoza wrapper.