March 14, 2015 § 1 Comment
When my husband Kahn and I were in Tokyo this past September, he took me to a famous restaurant in Harajuku that specializes in “gyoza”. I had never had an exceptional gyoza in my life, so I was excited. We ordered gyoza served two ways, one boiled and the other pan-fried. They were delicious. They tasted incredibly clean, perfectly seasoned, and the texture was so soft and tender. I could see why they were known for their gyoza, I can still remember how amazing they were.
I have probably tried making a hundred different type of dumplings in my life so far. After tasting every single one of them, I’ve always been left wanting something more from the recipe, even the incredibly delicious ones. I’ve tried Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese recipes and while it’s been very fun tasting these experiments, it has been frustrating as well. Ever since our trip, I was a little scared to attempt making another so-so dumpling recipe. And, it didn’t help when Kahn told me that many Japanese women make a special gyoza recipe for their household. No pressure, really! Why is it so hard to find “the one” recipe when it comes to dumplings?
That is…until now.
I love reading seriouseats.com, and whenever Kenji comes out with a new recipe or “Food Lab” experiment, I can’t wait to read what he has discovered. And, after trying nearly every single recipe he posts, I can trust his taste and I know I will like the dishes themselves (90% of the time, there have been a couple duds). This gyoza recipe is my favorite recipe of his so far. I adapted it only a little bit, because it really was THAT good. I didn’t use any sauce as the gyoza was perfectly seasoned, but the sauce recipe he provides sounds delicious as well.
The Best Japanese Pork and Cabbage Dumplings (Gyoza)
|YIELD:||Makes 30 to 45 gyoza, serving 4-5|
|ACTIVE TIME:||1 hour|
|TOTAL TIME:||1 hour|
- For the Dumplings:
- 1 1/2 pound finely minced Napa cabbage (about 1/2 a large head)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (about 3 medium cloves)
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1/2 cup of chopped scallions
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 package dumpling wrappers (40 to 50 wrappers)
- Vegetable or canola oil for cooking
- For the Sauce:
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons chili oil (optional)
For the Dumplings: Combine cabbage and 2 teaspoons salt in a large bowl and toss to combine. Transfer to a fine mesh strainer and set it over the bowl. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Transfer cabbage to the center of a clean dish towel and gather up the edges. Twist the towel to squeeze the cabbage, wringing out as much excess moisture as possible. Discard the liquid.
Combine pork, drained cabbage, remaining teaspoon salt, white pepper, garlic, ginger, scallions, and sugar in a large bowl and knead and turn with clean hands until the mixture is homogenous and just mixed.
Set up a work station with a small bowl of water, a clean dish towel for wiping your fingers, a bowl with the dumpling filling, a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet for the finished dumplings, and a stack of dumpling wrappers covered in plastic wrap.
To form dumplings, hold one wrapper on top of a flat hand. Using a spoon, place a 2 teaspoon- to 1 tablespoon-sized amount of filling in the center of the wrapper. Use the tip of the finger on your other hand to very gently moisten the edge of the wrapper with water (do not use too much water). Wipe fingertip dry on kitchen towel.
Working from one side, carefully seal the filling inside the wrapper by folding it into a crescent shape, pleating in edge as it meets the other. Transfer finished dumplings to the parchment lined baking sheet.
At this point the dumplings may be frozen by placing the baking sheet in the freezer. Freeze dumplings for at least 30 minutes then transfer to a zipper-lock freezer bag for long-term storage. Dumplings can be frozen for up to 2 months and cooked directly from the freezer.
To Cook: Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add as many dumplings as will fit in a single layer and cook, swirling pan, until evenly golden brown on the bottom surface, about 1 1/2 minutes.
Increase heat to medium-high, add 1/2 cup of water and cover tightly with a lid. Let dumplings steam for 3 minutes (5 minutes if frozen), then remove lid. Continue cooking, swirling pan frequently and using a thin spatula to gently dislodge the dumplings if they’ve stuck to the bottom of the pan, until the water has fully evaporated and the dumplings have crisped again, about 2 minutes longer. Slide dumplings onto a plate, turning them crisped-side-up before serving with the sauce.
For the Sauce: Combine vinegar, soy sauce, and chili oil.