Friday, March 25, 2011

Gyoza - Japanese Dumplings


Gyoza are Japanese dumplings.

Not to be confused with goza, the Japanese portable grass mat you sit on at the beach or picnics.

I love gyoza.

There's lots of different ways you can fill them and make them, today I am making a meat filling and a vegetarian filling.

Vegetable ingredients:

1 sweet onion, chopped
1 small bunch nira-japanese garlic chives, minced
1 package mushrooms, chopped
2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
2 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage
1 beaten egg

For meat filling add to the vegetables:

1 lb. bulk pork hot breakfast sausage or ground pork
1/2 lb. shrimp, roughly chopped

I like the spiciness of the hot pork breakfast sausage, but you can use plain ground pork also.

Season the plain ground pork with a tablespoon of sake, shoyu and oyster sauce or hoisin sauce along with a teaspoon of sugar and salt.

This is nira--Japanese garlic chives.

They have a strong garlic smell, so when you bring them home, put them in an air-tight container or a plastic bag.

Slice them thinly.

Add the vegetables to the bowl of meat.

I had some sliced green onions, so I added them along with the onions and mushrooms.

Thinly slice the cabbage, then chop roughly in the other direction so the pieces are small.

Do the same with the nappa.

You can use just one kind of cabbage also.

Add a teaspoon of salt to the cabbage and mix thoroughly. This will cause the cabbage to wilt.

Mix the meat filling together with one beaten egg.

The same vegetables are mixed together for the vegetable filling.

I had some thinly sliced red cabbage, so I added some of that.

You can put anything in here you like!

I bought these round pot sticker wraps at the Chinese market.

They're a little thicker than gyoza wrappers, but they were good.

Lay out the wrappers and add a generous teaspoonful of filling to the center of each wrapper.

The vegetable filling.

The meat filling.

Have a small bowl of water nearby, and moisten around the edge of the wrapper with water with your finger.

Pinch it in the center.

Start from the center and pleat the wrapper to the right.

Then pleat the wrapper to the left.

I do it using my thumbs, with my fingers in the back.

Finished and ready to fry.

If you're making them and not going to cook them right away, spread a little bit of cornstarch on the plate or tray to absorb moisture, so the gyoza don't stick.

Heat up a frying pan over medium-high heat and add about a tablespoon of oil.

Add the gyoza.

I like to make sure there's a little bit of oil under each one so they don't stick.

Lining them up makes them easy to plate when they're done.

Cover and lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 2 to three minutes.

The bottom should be nice and brown.

Then add 2 tablespoons of water.

The water should sizzle.

Cover and cook for 4 minutes.

The wrapper will become translucent when they're done, and the meat in the filling will be firm.

Maybe you should try one to be sure it's done.

That's what I would do.

But be careful. 

You don't want to eat all the dinner.

Best buy an extra package of wrappers.

Gyoza is plated with the bottom side up.

Serve it with a sauce of shoyu (soy sauce) and vinegar.

A squeeze of lemon and a little bit of sriracha hot sauce with some grated ginger and daikon is my favorite sauce.



This is Lilian.

She lives next door.

She loves to eat.

I sent her a text: 

Come over if you want some gyoza!

I sent one to her brother David, too.

He was playing video games, so he came over a little later.

They moved in next door about four years ago from Taiwan.

Their parents went to college here in the US so they speak English, and Lilian's hobby in Taiwan was learning English.

Good for me because I speak zero Mandarin.

Oh, wait!

I know xie xie, thank you, and ni hao, hello.

Lilian and David tried to teach me some Mandarin, but when I'd repeat what they said, they'd shake their heads, no. Apparently, there are some sounds in the language I cannot hear.

Soon after they moved in, they were coming over almost every day to visit, play with our dog Dixie, and eat.

What fun that was!

We went through a baking period when we baked a cake at least once a week.

In the summer, they'd come over for somen--cold noodles--and swim in the pool.

David liked to come over and help out around the yard, taking cobwebs away from under the eaves with a broom, and helping with the yard work.

David used to like to rollerblade with Dixie on her walk, as well as swim with her.

At first, Lilian was very concerned that she would get a tan if she spent too much time in the pool.

She said in Taiwan, pale skin is considered the most beautiful.

Little by little she's becoming a California girl, she still uses a lot of sunblock, but doesn't care as much about being out in the sun.

Lilian was a willing model for my boutique photos, too.

When they first arrived from Taiwan, they didn't ship their piano. Lilian came over just about everyday to practice on mine. It was so much fun, I was a little sad when they bought a piano, but to my delight, she still plays the pieces she's working on when she comes over.

Lilian and David are in high school now, busy with studying, activities and their friends. We don't see them as often as before, but they still come to visit, play with Dixie, and eat.

It's so much fun watching them grow up.

No printable recipe for Gyoza yet.

We feel blessed to have such nice neighbors!


  1. Dumplings.... yummy! Need to move next door to you.

  2. These look crunchy and yummy. Photos are beautiful too. I found your blog on Tastespotting and will visit often.

  3. Those look amazing. Thanks for sharing! I just bought a pack of gyoza wrappers the other day and was looking for a good excuse to fry some up. I think I found it! Great photos!

  4. Just found your website it is fantastic. I have been looking. So many recipes I want to try out.

  5. Found and bookmarked your blog thanks to Foodgawker, and will pass the link along to my three Fujimoto-surnamed friends here in the
    Bay Area :-) I'm in love with your dog, and I also love your story about the neighbor kids. They will probably always remember your welcoming attitude...and those tasty treats from your kitchen:-)

  6. Haha! This reminds me of my house. I have track everyday after school so whenever my baking sessions go late, my best friend- also neighbor- comes over after school to eat whatever I made! Her and my twin brother feast haha!
    These look delicious! I'd really like to get to making them!

  7. My family has made the same pot stickers for over 13 years, but on on whim I tried these! They were FAB!!! And were liked better then the usual!
    You're recipe has now become the staple!!!
    Thank you!