Saturday, July 16, 2011

Gyoza - Japanese Pan-Fried Dumplings

I'm pretty particular about dumplings; whether gyoza (Japanese), mandu (Korean) or jiaozi (Chinese), I can spot a factory-made frozen batch from a mile away. That being said, HOMEMADE dumplings can be made and frozen, with no difference in taste once reheated. 

I have yet to find a restaurant dumpling that can compare to the ones my mother makes; she kindly gave me her recipe to share with you. Making dumplings is a time-consuming and tedious process (hence why most restaurants use store-bought frozen ones), so I typically make a HUGE batch over the course of a lazy day and freeze them in bags to be cooked at my convenience. To cook them, you can steam them, boil them, deep-fry them, or do what I do - pan-fry them for a few minutes, then add water to the pan and steam them until done. 

For the dumpling wrappers, make sure you purchase the ROUND wrappers, not to be confused with wonton/egg roll/spring roll wrappers. They are typically sold frozen in most Asian markets, and will need to be thawed about a day ahead of time. I also occasionally use a dumpling press when making gyoza, as I never mastered my mother's skill of perfectly folding and pleating each dumpling (I'm also incredibly impatient and easily frustrated). 

For the sauce, you can buy a premade gyoza dipping sauce, or simply make your own. I usually make my own sauce, since I almost always already have the necessary ingredients. 

Gyoza (Japanese Pan-Fried Dumplings)
1 cabbage, trimmed and minced
½ tsp salt
1 lb ground pork
5 shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated, trimmed, and minced
½ Tbsp grated fresh ginger
2-3 cloves garlic, grated
1 Tbsp minced scallion
2 tsp miso paste
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
¼ tsp sugar
1 bundle cellophane noodles, rehydrated and trimmed
100 dumpling wrappers
sesame oil
½ cup water
Dipping Sauce:
6 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
Several drops chili oil or sesame oil

Toss cabbage with salt in a large bowl and let sit 10 minutes. Using both hands, squeeze cabbage to drain and discard liquid. 

Transfer cabbage to a deep bowl and add pork, shiitake, ginger, garlic, scallions, miso, soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper, noodles and sugar. Mix together with hands until evenly distributed. Scoop into a ball, lift, and toss back into the bowl. Repeat several times to tenderize meat.

Have a small bowl of cold water ready. Lay a dumpling wrapper on a dry work surface and place a heaping tsp of meat mixture in the center of the wrapper. Moisten one edge of the wrapper; fold in half and seal together, pleating the edges. Repeat until all dumplings have been made. To freeze dumplings, place in a single layer, without touching, on a baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to a plastic bag.

I had some extra filling, so I opted to use some wonton wrappers in order to use up my filling. Just like with the dumpling wrappers, place a spoonful of filling in the center of the wrapper. Moisten 2 adjacent sides with water or egg white, and bring the corners of the wrapper together to form a triangle. Next, moisten the side corners and bring them together. These can be frozen or cooked just like the gyoza.

To keep gyoza moist until ready to cook, simply cover with damp paper towels. It also helps to keep the wrappers covered with damp paper towels while filling and folding the dumplings. 

To cook fresh or frozen gyoza, in a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid, heat 1 tsp sesame oil over medium-high heat. Carefully place dumplings in skillet without touching, seal-side up. Cook 3 minutes or until nicely browned on the bottom. Carefully pour in ¼ cup water. Once the hissing and splattering dies down, drizzle ½ tsp sesame oil around the edge of the skillet. Place lid on skillet and lower heat to keep liquid at a gently simmer.

Check dumplings after 2 minutes; when wrappers appear slightly translucent and meat feels firm when pressed with a spoon, remove lid and slightly increase heat. Continue to cook until all water has evaporated and only the oil remains (~ 2 minutes).

Make dipping sauce by combining soy sauce, rice vinegar and oil. Serve with dumplings. 


  1. Lovely recipe Julia, I'll totally have to try this. One addition I always make with any dumpling/gyoza recipe I try is substituting chicken broth for water during the final pan-steaming phase. I originally got the idea from Alton Brown and after tasting the results, I've never used plain water again.

    1. Thank you, Christopher! The chicken broth is a GREAT idea - I had never thought of trying that, but I definitely will now!

  2. Thanks for sharing this! I love Gyoza! More than qiaozi ... Can't wait to try this out :)

    1. You're welcome, Shirley! Please let me know how you like these when you make them!

  3. Had my own empanadas filling and needed a cooking method, so found yours--and it worked fine. I ended up with these tiny-ass wonton wrappers so each gyoza was a sorta mini...but they tasted fine. Good method, and maybe next time I'll try broth...or maybe some sake.

    1. Sounds like a good way to use leftover filling, too!

  4. Your pictures are soooooo helpful Julia! It helps to have a photo of the product I'm looking for at the Asian food market. I can't read Japanese, so knowing what kind of packaging the dumpling wrappers come in is very convenient. Thank you!
    --- Linda

    1. Thanks, Linda! I'm glad the pictures helped you find what you were looking for! Sometimes a picture really IS worth 1000 words!

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  6. Your photo instructions are dummy proof! But here is a stupid question: do you flip over and fry on other side also? Thanks
    Gladys from NY

    1. Gladys, you actually DON'T flip the dumplings - they will pan-sear on one side, then steam on the other!

  7. How big is the bundle of cellophane noodles? I bought a package that weighs 8.8 oz
    The Oriental shop lady wanted to give me a package that had several small packages inside but NO I didn't want that! Maybe I made a mistake. They had a large variety of miso paste. The lady said I didn't need that to use soy sauce or sesame oil instead. Hopefully I'll make it this weekend. Will keep you posted!!!!

    1. Most cellophane noodles are sold as little bundles, maybe the size of a small Twinkie. The packages will have 3-5 bundles in them. I'd say maybe each bundle is 1-2 oz maybe?

      Any "red" or "white" miso paste will work just fine. There's a lot of them out there, in a HUGE range of prices. I personally use a 'red' miso that already has dashi in it - that way I can make miso soup with water instead of mixing up some dashi.

    2. Thanks! she tried to give me the little bundles....but I did not take it!

  8. I made them! Got a small head of cabbage and chopped it like you show in pic. When it was fried I thought it to be too crunchy so I put everything thru small food processor to chop it more finely and I bought another package of chopped pork. Turned out much better! Ran out of wrappers. Well, at least I go my feet wet and won't be afraid to experiment!

    1. Yay for experimentation!! I'm so proud of you! :)

  9. Thanks for sharing. Just got back from Japan and fell in love with these "little critters" I agree with a post above about putting them in chicken broth instead of water. Had some at a gyoza restaurant and they used a "doctored up" chicken broth and served the boiled ones that way. By far my favorite. The juice of the broth seeped through the noodle and made it so tastey. Be careful as they were super hot.

  10. After all of these comments, no one has asked you what you mean by trimming the noodles!? Could can you please elaborate? Thanks.

  11. After all of these comments, no one has asked you about trimming the noodles! I assume it's cutting them into pieces, but how large? Please elaborate! Thanks.