Monday, March 23, 2009

Gyoza (Chinese dumplings, aka "pot stickers")

Gyoza is the word that refers to boiled Chinese dumplings; the steamed versions and the skillet-cooked versions are each called something slightly different. Because my husband ate gyoza in China most often, that's what we call them regardless of how we're cooking them. These are labor intensive the first go round, but provide both the opportunity to fellowship during preparation and the opportunity to freeze an outstanding meal for later consumption! Our recipe makes roughly 60 dumplings, or the amount in the storebought wrapper packages (you can make your own dumpling wrappers, but I always buy them in the grocery store--near the tofu; look for wonton wrappers and the like); you will have leftover filling which is great cooked/browned and then mixed into rice for fried rice (or served as part of Bibimbap). We can polish off 1/3-1/2 a recipe in no time; I freeze the leftovers for a second meal that we cook slightly differently (see below). We don't use a recipe for the filling, really, but sort of "eyeball" it. The one below is a great start.

Recipe based on one from thekitchn

  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • 4-6 cups or so chopped napa cabbage (maybe half a head? we sort of eyeball it)
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 1 T. or so soy sauce
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced or smashed (about 2 tablespoons) (or much more!)
  • 3-inch grated ginger (about 2 teaspoons) (or more!)
  1. Mix the pork and chopped cabbage and scallions. Mix in the soy sauce. Add the garlic and ginger and mix well. (It should look like the picture just above)
  2. Place a tablespoon on each wrapper. Moisten edges with water and seal up (I usually make little half-circle shapes; technically, the steamed varities are made differently--check out the recipe link above for a picture). You'll have extra filling--we mix it into fried rice.
  3. If boiling, drop in boiling water for about 10 minute (test one to be sure it's fully cooked). You'll have to do this in batches because you don't want to crowd the pan too much. Cook the first 10 or so while you're making up the next ones. These will be slightly "slimy," very soft, and slippery.
  4. If steaming, lightly spray a flat steamer basket, and steam as many dumplings as will fit in one layer for 10-15 minutes (again, cut into one to check). We now cook all the dumplings this way the first day we make them; this verison is the one that freezes well once cooled--just freeze in a single layer on a cookie sheet and pop into a ziploc bag once solid). These are a little more solid than the first, boiled version. You can pick them up with chopsticks (or fingers) and dip them easily. Mmmmm
  5. If cooking in a skillet, generously film the bottom of a skillet with oil and "fry" the dumplings in one layer, flipping only once. The bottoms will get crusty and stick a bit to the skillet bottom (hence, "pot stickers"), but that crusty edge is to die for!!! This is the way we "reheat" our previously frozen, steamed dumplings for a quick meal. Yum yum yum yum....
Our kids love these!!! We serve them with rice, fried or steamed, and sometimes nothing else!

Serve with dipping sauces of choice (teriyaki, soy sauce, etc.). My husband makes one with Chinese vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, and something else. You can also search the web for Gyoza dipping sauces or Pot sticker dipping sauces. Enjoy!


Food Jaunts said...

Hi! Searching for gyoza make-ahead tips and ran into your blog. So let me make sure I'm understanding - you do steam your first and then freeze them? Do you defrost them before doing the pan-fry or do you just do it frozen?

Betsy said...

That's the way we've done it--steamed them, frozen them, and then just pan fried them straight from the freezer (since they're already cooked, you're just frying the outside and warming the inside). If you try freezing them before cooking, let me know! I just figured it would be easier to go ahead and steam all of them at once, but you might discover something new. Do share! ☺