Sunday, February 17, 2013

My favorite Japanese Pan-Fried Dumplings or Potstickers (Gyoza)

If you could ask me what is one of my favorite Japanese foods- "gyoza" (Japanese pan-fried dumplings) is something that immediately comes to mind. The garlic/ginger meat mixture is so delicious, and who doesn't like anything that is pan-fried?

I've tried a variety of recipes, but to my surprise, ground pork is my favorite flavor for these. The meat mixture is straightforward and easy (just like making meatballs, but less ingredients). What does take a bit of time is the "sealing" of the meat mixture inside the gyoza wrappers. I've been helping my mom make these for years so I can do it fairly quickly and effortlessly. For Darin, I bought him this wrapper maker and it is much easier for him to help me.

Since I like to make a large batch at a time, I will make the meat mixture, wrap them, and then freeze them. This way, when I need a quick, easy dinner or appetizer, all I need to do it remove it from the freezer (no thawing needed), and fry away. I love dipping sauces, and I've listed the dipping sauce we use below as well.
Potsticker meat mixture
Note: I have recommendations for specific brands, and I'm able to find them in the international aisle at my larger Kroger grocery stores, but I can find these at my local Asian grocery as well.

Update (Oct 2014)- I now pulse my Napa cabbage in my food processor. Makes the pieces more uniform and it can be finely shredded this way. If you don't have access to a food processor, it isn't a problem. I used to finely chop it with a knife for years.


Finely shredded Napa cabbage

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 4 green onions, chopped finely
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-4" piece of fresh ginger, grated (I used a microplane to grate)
  • 2-3 cups finely chopped Napa cabbage
  • 2 tsp sesame oil (I strongly recommend using Kadoya brand; other generics are too weak tasting)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 packages of gyoza/potsticker wrappers (usually in the frozen section of Asian grocery store; I like this brand since the wrappers are thinner)
  • Cup of water (to use to seal potsticker wrappers)
Directions:
Pan-fried to a golden brown color (Step #4)
  1. In a large bowl, combine the pork, salt, and white pepper, and use your hand to mix the meat mixture for 1-2 minutes until it becomes sticky. This will help the pork bind to the other ingredients.
  2. Combine the ground pork mixture with the green onions through egg. (You want to see a ratio of 1:1 ground pork and Napa cabbage in your meat mixture. Chop up more Napa cabbage if you need to.)
  3. Once the meat mixture is done, grab a comfortable chair, sit at a table, and start filling the gyoza wrappers. I use a 3/4 tsp measuring spoon (or just use a 1 tsp measuring spoon and just fill it slightly under with potsticker meat.)
  4. (Here is a good up-close video on how to properly wrap/seal the gyoza.) Note: Potsticker wrappers dry out easily so take a warm, damp washcloth and drape it over the untouched wrappers while you're filling them. I normally take 5-6 wrappers out, put a damp cloth over the others, and start filling them.
  5. If you're going to cook it right away: In a non-stick pan, coat the bottom with oil over medium heat. Add the potstickers, side by side in a round circular pattern around the pan, and let the bottoms brown to a golden color. Once this happens, fill the pan with water (until it comes up halfway up the potsticker), cover, and allow the water to steam/cook the potstickers. Once the water has evaporated, I remove the lid, and allow the bottoms to get crispy again. Serve.
  6. If you're going to freeze it: Line a baking sheet with wax paper, and line the potstickers in rows. Don't let them touch other. Place the potstickers/baking sheet in the freezer for 30 minutes. Once they are frozen, remove them from the baking sheet, place them into a freezer bag, and freeze! Once you're ready to cook them (from the freezer), follow Step #4 above. (Cooking times don't vary.)
Freezing them: Line the potstickers in rows but don't let them touch each other or they will stick!
Ingredients for the dipping sauce:
Directions:
  1. Make equal parts of soy sauce and rice vinegar. (I normally make 3 Tbsp each.)
  2. Add a few drops of chili oil.

Yield: 50-53 potstickers

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