Gyoza (Japanese Potstickers)
3 large green cabbage leaves, rinsed and thick stem removed
3/4 of pound of ground pork or chicken
Optionally, 1-2 tsp unflavored gelatin
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
3 green onions, minced
Optionally, 2-3 shiitake mushrooms, minced (these can be fresh, or you can rehydrate dried ones)
2 tsp sake
1 tsp shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)
A package of gyoza skins, defrosted (many Japanese brands come in packs of about 50 but some are half that so keep an eye out)
Oil for frying
1 Tbsp good shoyu
Dash or two of chili oil
Optionally, a dash of black vinegar
Optionally, a grating of fresh ginger and/or some scallion rings
Finely chop the cabbage, then mix with a few big pinches of salt and let stand for 10 minutes. This will draw out water and soften the leaves. If you're using gelatin (this creates more of a luxurious mouthfeel to the filling when cooked), sprinkle it evenly over the meat and mix it in.
Rinse the cabbage and squeeze it dry with your hands. Add it to the pork along with the ginger, garlic, green onion, shiitake mushroom (if using), sake, shoyu, and pepper.
Mix well with your hands or a spatula until everything is well incorporated and slightly tacky.
Unwrap the gyoza wrappers and set them under a dishcloth. Get a small bowl of water ready.
Add a small spoonful of filling to the center of each skin (don't overfill as you'll need to seal them). Then wet the outside edge all around with a moistened fingertip. Fold the skin in half, and then pinch pleats into the edge to crimp and seal. Here's a great example of the technique.
In a non-stick pan with a lid over medium heat heat a couple teaspoons of oil. Fry gyoza (usually I can get about 15 in a pan, just make sure they don't touch), until the bottoms are golden (about 3 minutes).
Add 1/4 cup of water and cover, then steam until almost all of the water is absorbed (about 4 minutes).
Remove the lid, optionally add a dash of sesame oil for flavor, and cook until all of the water has evaporated and the bottoms are browned and crisp, about 2-3 more minutes.
Transfer to a warm plate or cutting board. I like to lay them on their sides so the bottoms stay crisp. Serve with shoyu mixed with chili oil for dipping. To lower the salt level and amplify the flavor a bit, add a bit of savory black vinegar. Fresh ginger or scallions are also nice.
Uncooked gyoza can be frozen (this recipe makes a lot!). Any that you don't plan to cook immediately are best frozen straight away as the moist filling will cause the skins the skins to deteriorate if you leave them at room temperature too long.
Place them on a sheet tray on parchment paper in a single layer and make sure they aren't touching. Allow to freeze until solid then remove and store in an airtight bag. Cook them straight from frozen, you'll just need to add a minute or so to the steaming time.
Food images and recipe © Christian Leue.
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