February 27th, 2008

Potstickers Recipe

Gyoza Recipe

Like religion, sweet or savory dumplings can be found in almost every part of the world and they go by many names. In the Latin world, they are known as empanadas; ravioli to the Italians; pirozhki to the Russians; pierogi to the Polish; taquitos to the Mexicans; mandu to the Koreans; wontons or jiaozi to the Chinese, the list goes on and on. A dumpling is nothing more than a small parcel of food encased in dough, pastry, batter, leaves or paper. After being carefully wrapped the packages are then cooked using dry heat, steam, boiling water or oil.

It may come to a surprise, but your average Japanese citizen eats more gyoza than sushi. For me, one of the first and the last thing that I do when I travel to the other side of the Pacific is to order a bowl of ramen, a sizzling plate of gyoza and an ice cold Japanese beer to wash it all down.

However, my fascination for this Japanese staple began when I was a child. My family would gather once a month on a Saturday afternoon and make about a hundred of them. What always started out as a fun project would inevitably take a turn for the worse as my A.D.D kicked in. It is not, by any means, a difficult process but it is time consuming (especially when you are making a hundred at a time).

Gyoza Recipe

For all the time we put in to make them, we would devour them in about a quarter of the time. We would eat a good portion of them immediately and the leftovers where sent to the freezer, uncooked for later use. We always made extras, since they freeze well and do not need to be thawed before cooking. This made for an extremely easy weekday dinner for mom, sometimes even finding its way into our bento that we took to school. Personally, this was a childhood favorite of mine. Like all kids, we would compare our lunches, wondering what we had to eat each day. If it was possible to love my mom more on these days, I did! And if my dad was lucky, he would get a few for a late night beer snack. And, if ever there were leftover gyoza skins, we would fill them with chunks of cheese (this was my favorite way of consuming cheese as a kid).

It was after I moved away from home and in the more recent years that I started to seek my own culinary adventures. I started by stocking up on frozen potstickers from the Japanese specialty store in Central San Diego. I would usually pick up a couple of bags, the first one rarely surviving the first 24 hours. The second one, however, would sit deep in the freezer for another day, usually sometime later that week. They were not as good as the homemade ones I made with my family, but they more than did the job. After moving to North San Diego this task of finding frozen potstickers became much more difficult. I recall one night where I went as far as going to 5 different local grocery stores before finding a place that carried them. I made a commitment to myself that night to start making my own.

No Hard Fillings

Ok, now that I've gotten myself all excited (good thing I had my fix earlier tonight), let me share with you my family's homemade gyoza recipe. First off, the filling has to be light, not dense - think good Italian meatballs. The garlic chives and the napa cabbage are there to help add variety of texture while also providing moisture. Adding minced shitake to gyoza filling is also common in many recipes, as it provides a meaty texture without making the dumplings dense. Let’s not forget the depth of flavor that they bring to the party as well. Since my little sister did not (and to this day does not) like mushrooms, what you see below is the pork gyoza recipe that my family prepared growing up, minus the egg whites. This is a trick borrowed from the Western world; the idea that egg whites puff up as they cook, making for a light and tender filling. However, if you don’t do pork (for whatever reason), you can always substitute chicken, turkey, or even shrimp! And if you don’t do meat, you can make a vegetarian version by increasing the cabbage and adding sautéed mushrooms or even tofu.

Gyoza Dipping Sauce

Gyoza Recipe

This recipe will make just over 50 gyoza, adjust as necessary. As I mentioned above, I would recommend freezing a batch to enjoy at a later date.

6 cups minced napa cabbage leaves, shredded
1 1/2 teaspoon table salt (no kosher as it is too coarse)
1 1/2 lbs ground pork
3/4 cup of garlic chives, minced. If not accessible, white and green parts of scallions can be used for substitute.
1/4 teaspoons white pepper
2 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (No substitution with the dried stuff, please!)
3 large cloves of garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press
3 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 package of gyoza wrapping skins
vegetable oil and water for cooking

Gyoza Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoon rice vinegar
chili oil to taste (sesame oil and hot sauce can be used as substitute)
Dash of white pepper
Minced scallions - green parts only

Combine all ingredients in bowl, sauce can be refrigerated overnight.

Homemade Gyoza

  1. Toss cabbage and salt in colander and place inside a medium bowl - the salt will help to draw out the extra moisture in the cabbage. After about 20 minutes the cabbage will begin to wilt, at which time you will want remove the excess water. You can use a rubber spatula and press the cabbage along the sides of the bowl, however, I find squeezing the cabbage in my hands with a towel is much more effective. If you used your hands be sure to toss cabbage to separate and fluff the combine with other filling ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold (minimum of 30 minutes, no more than 24 hours).
  2. Now for the fun part...Wrapping Things Up! When working with the wrappers you want to be sure to keep them from drying out, the best way to do this is to keep them covered with a damp cloth until they are ready for use. Remove one wrapper from under the cloth and begin...
    • Place the gyoza wrapper in your palm and place a small spoonful of filling in the center. Use enough of the mixture to fill out the wrapper completely without overstuffing it. Be sure to keep the edges clean giving you room to enclose the filling with the wrapper. It may take a couple to get it just right; just remember practice makes perfect.
    • Place your index finger of your opposite hand into the water and use it to wet the edges of the gyoza skin (no need to wet the edges all the way around, just the top half). If you have any filling that is approaching the edges at this point, you have too much filling. Remove the excess and reposition the remaining filling in the center of the wrapper with your fingers.
    • Fold the bottom half of the wrapper to meet the top half that you moistened in the previous step. I work from one edge of the skin to the other, making pleats by crimping the bottom half of the wrapper to meet the top half. I follow each pleat with my index finger to keep the sides from sticking before I am ready to bring them together. I also use that same finger to keep the filling from escaping. Continue making pleats until the filling is completely encased, you should have about 5-6 pleats total. The gyoza should naturally curve as you're working.
    • Place the wrapper gyoza on a baking sheet to flatten the bottom of the dumpling. At this point you can also press down on the pleats to ensure a tight seal while eliminating any air bubbles.
    • If you are not eating right away, freeze gyoza in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once fully frozen, place into freezer bags.

    If you are like me and cannot resist, move on to the cooking phase...

  3. Grease bottom of a 12-inch nonstick skillet with vegetable oil using a paper towel to spread to all edges of the pan. Add gyoza to the skillet, laying them flat and being sure not to crowd. Place skillet over medium-high heat and cook for 4-5 minutes WITHOUT moving. You want the bottoms to become golden brown. At this point add a couple of shots of water (just enough to cover the bottom of the skillet) and cover with a tight fitting lid. The intention is to steam the dumplings - you do NOT need a lot of water. Cook for another 4-5 minutes. You will undoubtedly have to cook and eat in batches. Serve with Scallion Dipping Sauce and eat while hot!

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35 Responses to “Potstickers”

  1. SearchBuzzNo Gravatar Says:

    I [heart] Gyoza

  2. GFYMNo Gravatar Says:

    As I know it will not be pirozhki to the Russians, but pelmeni.
    Pelmeni is dumplings boiled in water, as pirozhki is baked in the oven.

  3. Gyoza LoverNo Gravatar Says:

    SearchBuzz – I ♥ gyoza like there is no other :)

    GFYM – Woops, I better get my facts right. Thanks for the tip :)

  4. dominoNo Gravatar Says:

    I had a blast making these last night. Ground pork is only sold in 1 1/4# packages in my local supermarket. I didn’t measure the yield from my head of Napa cabbage but the ratio felt right. I do not have any table salt. Wetting the cabbage before applying the kosher salt seemed to help it wilt correctly. Unfortunately I was unable to find gyoza wrappers on a short notice so substituted wonton and sambal oelek for chili oil. They turned out great but I will definitely make the effort to find the proper ingredients next time. Next time I’ll make a double batch as well. They disappear really, really fast.

    Below is a link to common food wrappers and substitutions you can use in a pinch.


  5. Heidi @ Carolina DreamzNo Gravatar Says:

    Thank you so much for the wrapper link.

    This native San Diegan can never feel at home anywhere where there isn’t a huge Japanese Grocery. I so miss that, the most.

    Gyoza goes on my list of MIA’s because I just can’t substitute the wrappers and I can’t find them, either. I can only get egg roll wrappers.. and well, they are not the same for everything.

    (I also can’t get bonito flakes (katsuabushi), but at least they weigh nothing and can be shipped!)

    Also on the MIA list is spring roll and lumpia wrappers.

    I suppose gluten makes it good that they are off the list.. but sometimes there is nothing better than real comfort food that isn’t wrapped around meat and potatoes.

    Great post! (I’d drive from the North of SD to that grocery store.. *giggle*)

  6. Gyoza LoverNo Gravatar Says:

    Domino – Thanks for the link on food substitution, what a great resource. I am glad to hear that you had fun making gyoza. Make more, keep them handy because you never know when you will get that late night munchies. I know Filiberto can seem really far some times :)

    Heidi – Where in San Diego did you live, have you been in Carolina for long? Is there a Trader Joe’s near by you? They have frozen chicken goyza that are decent.

  7. Jonathan LiebermanNo Gravatar Says:

    We make our Gyoza with ground turkey for health reasons and you can not taste the difference.

  8. adminNo Gravatar Says:

    @Jonathan – That is a great point you make!

  9. Heidi @ Carolina DreamzNo Gravatar Says:

    I grew up in Kearny Mesa, on the wrong side of the tracks? *smile* Most of my life was spent in East County. My great grandfather built the Aero Drive-in/Swap Meet, in El Cajon (or more appropriately Bostonia, California..)

    I left “home” in 1996.

    I’ve been in South Carolina, via Colorado Spring and Jacksonville, Florida, for about 7 years now.

    I’m sorry I didn’t get back here to answer your question, before now.. didn’t know it was here.

    I came back to tell you and your readers that I found a recipe, to try, with your fillings, for wrappers..


  10. adminNo Gravatar Says:

    @Heidi Drove by Kearny Mesa yesterday on the way to Convoy for some Asian markets. I know you love your Padres, are you a Bolts fan too? We are heading out to the Monday Night Football to go see San Diego vs NY Jets.

    Thank you so much for the link. This is a beautifully done up post. Going to try the gyoza wrappers for sure.

  11. Deborah DowdNo Gravatar Says:

    Your gyoza look beautiful! I will have to try your recipe since I usually make shu mei for my family!

  12. adminNo Gravatar Says:

    @Deborah Welcome to Wasabi Bratwurst, and thanks for stopping by! Spending significant time in Yokohama, I ate my fare share of shu mai. They are so yummy! Because that it was readily available, I have never tried making them. Do you fry or steam?

  13. tommyNo Gravatar Says:

    These look great. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Fumi MatsubaraNo Gravatar Says:

    @Tommy! Welcome and thanks for stopping. They always taste better than it’s appearance!

  15. Cippen LippenNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi, I’m gonna try to cook gyoza with the help of your recipe soon and I was asking myself if this is an error:

    1 1/2 teaspoons grated ginger
    2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (No substitution with the dried stuff, please!)

    I don’t think that by the first one you mean dried ginger, as you don’t seem to be fond of it.

    Thanks in advance for your answer and for the recipe!

  16. adminNo Gravatar Says:

    Update made, thanks for catching that.

  17. Rachelle LouiseNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi there, these look fabulous! I’m in a gourmet cooking group and we have a dinner coming up this week and the theme is sushi/Japanese. I’d LOVE to make these. One quick question, do you put the pork in the mixture raw or cooked already?


  18. Katrin SchenkNo Gravatar Says:

    Some specifics on making the above vegetarian:

    Before starting with the “wilting and drying cabbage” step above take 4 (vegetarian)Morning Star Farms (Veggie!) Sausage Patties patties out of the freezer to thaw.
    Assemble all ingredients (except the pork) as above
    Add 1 cup chopped (no piece bigger than .5cm cubed) of Shitake mushrooms.
    Shread/chop the thawed veggie sausage patties into the mix.
    Proceed with chilling and the rest of the procedure.

    HINT: During the filling process I noticed that my mixture was getting watery (maybe due to the mushrooms?). I just used my hand to squeeze out the mixture like I had for the cabbage then proceeded.

    STEAMING: I did not want to fry mine so I used a bamboo steamer and steamed them.

    Steaming Procedure: Use a paper towel coated with oil to lightly grease the bamboo steamer before steaming the gyoza or they will stick! After bringing water to a boil, steam fresh gyoza for 8-10 minutes and frozen ones for 15 minutes.

  19. MonicaNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi, I’m trying to follow this recipe, but I am confused with the two separate ginger ingredients? Was one supposed to be another ingredient or is it 2T + 1 1/2 t ginger?

  20. Rachelle LouiseNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi again, thanks for getting back to me! I ended up just assuming the pork was raw, I can’t believe how quickly it cooks! These were such a huge hit, you can see them on my blog if you’d like, I also made tempura to go along as an appetizer. usethegoodchina.blogspot.com The host of the party said they were the best she’s ever had! Thanks for such a wonderful recipe!

  21. adminNo Gravatar Says:

    “sat down on the sofa with ingredients at hand and quickly folded fifty gyoza while watching Sex and the City”.

    YOU ARE A GYOZA PRO! I am calling you for help next time I am having people over! Turkey is a great healthy alternative to pork. You can even combine the meat too :) Glad the recipe worked out! Thanks for reading Rachelle!

  22. MonicaNo Gravatar Says:

    Just an update: Thanks, they came out great and tasted awesome! I must’ve made about 200! I did change the recipe a bit; I added silken tofu because I saw it on the foodnetwork that it gives a nice texture. They are frozen and ready for eating when we want them more. I can’t do those cool folds though!

  23. SparkieNo Gravatar Says:

    1) if you want nice wrappers make noodle dough rest two hours reknead then,all day infridge, USE A PASTA MACHINE to make the sheets

    Now you make dumplings of any kind.

    2) if I get around to it I will look at ingredients on a wonton/goyza wrapper package, and suggest flour types. I think they use a rice flour wheat flour mixture. Steamed dumplings seem to have a more rubbery mouthfeel, so I believe they are more starch then protien-ish hence rice not wheat , (I am guessing here)


  24. SparkieNo Gravatar Says:

    err pasta machines will give you a nice even sheet over trying to learn to be a black belt super noodle maker. My Great Grandma, (Sicialian, thankfully), made nice even sheets with a board and rolling pin, I can’t :-(



  25. SarahNo Gravatar Says:

    I just stumbled on this. And I’m eating Gyoza. What are the chances? Nom nom nom gyoza!

  26. GyozaHimeNo Gravatar Says:

    I’ve made gyoza in the past and I’m always looking for new recipes… I made spicy gyoza last time for a group of friends and they loved it! I’m actually about to head over to the grocery store to get the fixings for gyoza! Woots! DAISUKE!!!

  27. JessicaNo Gravatar Says:

    I used ground chicken instead of pork and it’s delicious!! Thanks!

  28. LaurieNo Gravatar Says:

    I couldn’t find the gyoza press so I just put the wrappers in a cupcake tin and make little cups out of them. I then made the mixture and kept it warm in a crock pot to take to work for a pot luck…it worked great with a squeeze bottle of dipping sause.

  29. adminNo Gravatar Says:

    Havent tried the gyoza press, wondering how well it works? Might save a lot of time if it does!

  30. ColleenNo Gravatar Says:

    This is, by far, the best gyoza recipe I have found on the Internet! I made a believer out of my husband, who swore he did not like dumplings of any sort. We now go to sushi restaurants, and he won’t order gyoza because “it’s not as good as homemade”! Thank you for sharing the recipe and your story.

  31. adminNo Gravatar Says:

    And this is, by far, the best compliment we have received on the blog! Glad you liked the story, recipe and the gyoza. Thank you Colleen!

  32. EmNo Gravatar Says:

    Oh wow. Thank you for this. Turned out excellent! Another important life goal has been accomplished. And also, apparently soy sauce with a little angostura bitters and red wine vinegar is a great dipping sauce.

  33. adminNo Gravatar Says:

    Great to hear that it went Well Em! Thanks for coming back to share. Curious, what do you normally use angostura bitters for, beverage of some sort?

  34. EmNo Gravatar Says:

    Bitters and Sprite, usually.


  35. adminNo Gravatar Says:

    Can’t say I have tried, it’s now on the list. Thanks for the recommendation Em!

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