Introducing item #2 for the Philly Food Swap tonight: gyoza!
Gyoza are Japanese dumplings, and I’ve made the classic style, with pork and cabbage. I got the recipe from La Fuji Mama, and it is *excellent.* I have eaten quite a few dumplings in my day, and these are as good as the best I’ve had in Japanese restaurants. A few times a year I’ll make a massive quantity of dumplings for the freezer, and this time I actually made a triple batch. I’ll be bringing 8 bags of dumplings, frozen in a cooler of ice. I won’t be able to do sampling without a stove, but you can see here how I made them:
The first step is always salting the cabbage and wringing out the water. This keeps the dumplings from getting soggy down the line. Look how much volume comes out:
While the cabbage sits with the salt, I prep all the other seasonings. The smell coming off this bowl is outrageously good. It’s masses of microplaned fresh ginger, minced garlic, minced green onion, red miso, red pepper flakes, sesame oil, and a touch of sugar:
Then I mix it with the cabbage and the ground pork – I got it at Whole Foods in the hopes that it was Really Good Pork – and sit down at my coffee table in front of the TV to spend an hour assembling dumplings. (Here’s a video of how I do it.)
I do my thing…
…and then a little while later, I have this tray to pop in the freezer.
I’ll be swapping bags of 9 frozen gyoza, which is a nice dinner portion, or appetizers for two or three. Below are the directions for cooking them, along with a really simple recipe for dipping sauce. You might also look at La Fuji Mama’s page for her cooking directions. Mine are similar, but I’ve made dumplings so many times that I have a few of my own tips:
Cooking Instructions for Julie’s Gyoza:
You can steam these guys in an electric or bamboo steamer, but I haven’t done that in so long, that I’m going to leave that route to you. I always do a pan fry/steam combo that makes for d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s dumplings. Here’s how I do:
1. Get a non-stick pan with a lid and heat a glug (1-2 teaspoons) of oil over medium to medium high heat. I usually use canola, but you can also use sesame oil or other neutral vegetable oil.
2. When hot (~30 seconds), put frozen dumplings flat-side-down into the pan. Do NOT defrost them ahead of time.
3. Let the dumplings cook uncovered for a few minutes until the bottoms get crispy and brown. If they appear to be burning, your heat is up too high. You’re looking for a nice caramel brown.
4. When you get the brown color (tops will still be pretty much frozen) take about a quarter cup of water, throw it into the hot pan and immediately cover it with a lid. Watch out for splatter – DO NOT BURN YOURSELF. Use the lid like a shield and stand back. The water will make a great sizzle and steam. You want to trap the steam into the pan.
5. Let the dumplings steam for about 7-10 minutes. The pork is NOT pre-cooked, so it’s important you make sure they are fully cooked with the steam. If the water is gone and they’re not done yet, add a little bit more water.
6. When they look fully cooked, take the lid off and let them cook uncovered for another 30 seconds to evaporate the rest of the water and return the bottoms to crisp.
7. Eat! Eat! They are best hot.
Make a 50-50 mix of soy sauce and rice vinegar, and add a tiny drip of chili oil (optional). That’s it! Enjoy!