17 Apr 2012

Japanese Pan-Fried Dumplings / Yaki Gyoza 焼き餃子

Do you like to order a side dish of yaki-gyoza when you eat-in Japanese restaurant?

Japanese pan-fried dumplings the yaki gyoza, or simply gyoza, is not difficult to prepare at home actually, as we can easily find the ready made gyoza skins in supermarkets now. Let me show ya.

Japanese Pan-Fried Dumplings / Yaki Gyoza ・ 焼き餃子
for filling:
  1/2 cup cabbage (abt 50 g), diced finely
  1/2 cup pork (abt 140 g), minced
  pinch of minced ginger
  pinch of minced garlic
  1 tsp bonito liquid instant dashi / wafu concentrated dashi
  1/2 tsp shouyu / Japanese light soy sauce
  1 tsp ryouri-shu / Japanese cooking wine
  1/4 tsp sesame oil
  1/2 TBsp cornstarch
  dash of white pepper

10 pieces Japanese gyoza pastry (10+/-)

1 ~ 1½ TBsp cooking oil
1/3 ~ 2/5 cup water

for dipping:
  1/2 TBsp shouyu / Japanese light soy sauce
  1/2 TBsp ponzu / Japanese citrus vinegar
Yield: 10 (2 ~ 3 servings as side dish)
1. In a bowl, mix & knead all the filling ingredients together.

2. Lay a piece of gyoza pastry (gyoza skin) on a clean & dry cutting board, or, lay it on your palm. Scoop about 1.5 tsp of filling onto the centre of the pastry. Use a small brush or just by your finger, dip water & draw along the outer edge circling the gyoza pastry.

There are ways to seal the edge:
- easiest: just fold half, edge to edge to seal by pinching firm along the edge. [No pleat.]
- fold to half; from left to right: seal, pleat & pinch to seal; pleat & pinch to seal (or right to left for left-hander). [Pleats at 1 side.]
- fold to half; seal & pinch the middle edge first, then pleat from middle to right, and from middle to left. [Pleats at 1 side]

Any way is just fine. I like to pleat mine with 3 pleats on the right + 2 on the left (don’t ask me why!), see below.

3. There are a few ways in cooking the gyoza too. This is how I do:

a.) Add about 1/2 TBsp oil to frying pan, just lightly coat the pan. Place & arrange the gyoza onto the pan. Then only turn on the fire for medium to high heat. Level the pan to distribute oil evenly around the pan, but not moving the gyoza.

b.) Pan-fry about 1 to 2 minutes (yes, not browned enough yet, don't worry). Pour in 1/3 ~ 2/5 cup of water to the gyoza. Turn high heat to bring to boil. Put on the lid, and turn to medium heat. Simmer / steam / cook for about 4 minutes.

c.) When the water almost runs dry & the gyoza turned somewhat translucent, open the lid. Round the edge of frying pan adding another 1/2 TBsp of oil. (Lever the pan to distribute the oil evenly if necessary.) Let pan-fry for about 3, 4 minutes or until the back of gyoza turns golden brown & slightly crispy. Remove from heat. It’s ready. See below.

- Use non-stick pan if possible. Always minimise oil when pan-frying Japanese cruisine.
- Do choose the cut of pork with about 30% of fat. All-lean-meat…ahem…not so juicy. Also, best to mince the meat by yourself rather than those machine grounded one.
- You can opt for chicken, shrimp, or even beef. No lamb please!
- If no Japanese cooking wine, can replace with Chinese cooking wine. No wine, no problem too.
- I like to go with cabbage. Some people like to have fillings with spring onion or celery and so on. But, if of adding water chestnuts, or maybe with load of Chinese leek (ku chai), then it would be Chinese styled dumpling ~  "Jiaozi ” liao.
- As for the cooking style. Some people: steam with hot water first, then add oil to pan-fry. Some: pan-fry with oil first, and then pour in hot water to cook further. My way somewhat differs a bit. Choose the one you are most comfortable with.
- No over-turning the gyoza-s, need not to pan-fry both sides!!
- Some ponzu is ready mixed with shouyu & etc, i.e. ready for dipping type. Therefore, need not to add shouyu further.

Serve the yaki-gyoza warm with dipping sauce.

Itadakimasu!! When warm, the upper skin is light chewy and soft, but the bottom part is kinda crispy, while good filling is juicy. That’s the magic of contrast.

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Update: Example of variation ~ yaki-gyoza with leek leaves. Delicious too. I like it a lot.

Update II: Japanese pan-fried dumplings / yaki-gyoza 焼き餃子! Love it!

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