I’ll never forget the summer I spent in Japan. I was 19, working as a day camp counselor on an American military base and had the entire beautiful, mysterious and eccentric country at my fingertips. Everything about Japan, from the culture, to the food and history struck a chord with me, and I still think about it almost every day.
I came back from that summer abroad with many memories, new experiences and stories to share…as well as 8 extra pounds on my body! 8 pounds on a 5’2 person is…a lot. I looked like a little marshmallow!
And Gyoza. Tons and TONS of chewy, savory, incredible Gyoza!
Commonly called “pot stickers” in Chinese cuisine, Gyoza typically consist of ground meat and vegetables which are crimped and sealed in a dough that is much thinner than pot stickers. In Japan, they’re usually served in “rows” of five and have a thin, chewy outside with a crispy, crunchy bottom. Aka, they’re one of the best things on earth.
Japan was on my mind nearly every day after I left – Gyoza’s included – and I knew that recreating them at home would not only satisfy my cravings, but it would also take me back, if only for a little while, to the best summer of my life. After some searching and testing, this is the closest thing I’ve found to replicating the enticing Gyoza that I enjoyed so much during those unforgettable months in Japan.
Japanese Pork Gyoza
Makes 30 gyoza
1 cup cabbage (or coleslaw mix)
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
2 green onions, sliced
2/3 lb pork (could use ground turkey or chicken)
30 wonton wrappers
1. If coleslaw shreds are longer than 1/2 inch, chop them up with a knife or kitchen scissors.
2. Whisk egg and soy sauce, then add with the green onion to the cabbage. Stir to combine. Add pork and incorporate with hands.
3. Open wonton package and cover with a wet paper towel that has been wrung out, so they will not become dry and hard.
4. Working in batches, lay wonton wrappers on a clean, dry surface and spoon 1 tablespoon of pork filling into the middle of the wrappers.
(a cookie scooper works really well!)
5. Using your finger and some water, wet two sides of the wonton wrappers.
6. Fold the wrapper over and press down firmly to seal, making sure to press out any excess air from around the filling.
7. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and lightly press the Gyoza down, creating a flat bottom so they stand up straight.
At this point, you can either freeze the Gyoza on the cookie sheet and transfer to a freezer bag once frozen through, or move forward with cooking them!
1. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat.
2. Line the Gyoza up in the pan, making sure not to crowd them, and pan-fry for 2-3 minutes or until the bottoms are crisp and golden brown.
3. Add 1/3 cup water to the skillet and immediately place a lid on top. Steam for 2-3 minutes, or until the wrapper becomes transparent.
4. Remove the lid and allow the remaining water to evaporate and the bottoms to crisp back up. Shake the pan occasionally, or use a spatula, to make sure they are not sticking to the bottom of the skillet.
Enjoy with your favorite dipping sauce!
One taste of these Gyoza instantly takes me back to a tiny table in a crowded little Japanese restaurant. It makes my heart ache!
The chewy wrapper, crunchy bottom and salty filling are indescribable. It’s more than an appetizer, eating these is an experience!
I prefer to dip my Gyoza in plain soy sauce. Simple is best, I think, so you can really taste the filling. It’s only made up of 5 ingredients, but they all work together so incredibly well!
Make this recipe – nay, double it! You’ll want a stash of these to eat whenever you feel like it. They cook the same straight out of the freezer as they do fresh. How convenient is that?!
Until I make my way back to the country that has me so smitten, these will absolutely do – while they last. They certainly go fast!
Have you ever been somewhere, or gone through an experience, that changed your life?