Gyoza (ギョーザ, ギョウザ), the Japanese version of a pot sticker, is one of my favorite Japanese dishes. I like the texture of the gyoza—crunchy at the bottom part and softer and more tender on top than a Chinese dumpling. The cooking technique of gyoza involves pan frying the dumplings with water and very little oil instead of steaming. This makes preparation easier and more convenient. But other common ways to prepare it are by steaming and deep frying.
Gyoza was initially from China and was called jiaozi. It was said to have been invented by Zhang Zhonging, an expert in traditional Chinese medicine. Jiaozi is shaped like a horn, hence its name “jiao” which means “horn” in Chinese. The Japanese word “gyoza” is from the Shandong Chinese dialect (giaozi). The main difference between Japanese gyoza and Chinese jiaozi is the richness in flavor. The gyoza has a prominent garlic taste and its wrapper is thinner, while jiaozi is lighter in flavor with a slightly thicker wrapper. The dipping sauce also makes a difference in the taste. Gyoza sauce is tangy— usually soy sauce mixed with rice vinegar—while jiaozi is dipped in soy sauce with chili. Gyoza is also made with less meat and has a lot of healthy vegetables like cabbage and carrots which I miss in the Chinese version.
Gyoza | adactio
Making gyoza is not as difficult as it may seem. Probably the hardest part is wrapping them up in nice, neat little nuggets of pure delight and mastering the pleating method. The Japanese make their food with such artistic care and preparation; I always make it a point to appreciate the meticulous aesthetic beauty of each dish before gobbling up everything on my plate.
Here is a simple and easy recipe for gyoza that will surely leave you wanting more!
1 T sesame oil
2 cups chopped cabbage
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup chopped carrot
1/2 lb ground pork
1 T vegetable oil
1 (10-oz.) package wonton wrappers
pinch of salt and pepper
Uncooked gyoza | Tare Panda
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 T rice vinegar
Heat sesame oil in a pan and mix in cabbage, onion, garlic, and carrots. Cook until cabbage is soft.
Mix in the ground salt, pepper, pork and egg and cook until pork is ready.
Allow the meat mixture to cool. Put about a tablespoon of meat mixture at the center of each wonton, then pleat to close.
When you are done making all the dumplings, freeze them for about an hour. When the dumplings are hard enough, set aside the ones for cooking. Transfer the rest to a freezer bag and freeze until you’re ready for more.
Pan frying process
Position six pieces of gyoza in a line on a non-stick frying pan. Pour in about half a cup of water. Turn on the heat to medium and cover the pan to steam the dumplings. Check every now and then if the water has evaporated. Once it does, pour in a teaspoon of oil and allow the dumplings to cook until the bottom parts are golden and toasty.
For the sauce, mix ¼ cup of sauce and 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar. There are also ready-made gyoza dipping sauces available in most Asian groceries. Enjoy!
To watch a video on how to make gyoza, click here.