Homemade Japanese Dumplings?? Yes, it’s possible. I became familiar with Gyoza (their official Japanese name) from Street Food Festivals and they were always my top choice at these kinds of events. I used to think these were the only places where I could find them. I loved seeing all the bamboo steamers at the stand and observing how much they expanded in there. Never, ever would I have thought that I’d make them at home one day. That is, until the day we cooked Japanese food at culinary school. It was the first of many times that I made them for myself at home, with NO special equipment whatsoever. This recipe I learned at school is not difficult to recreate, and with a little patience, it’s doable for anyone who’s willing to try.
Tips for making Japanese Dumplings for the first time
Gyoza are made out of two components: the dough and the filling. The dough is very simple and straightforward to make. The filling is also quite easy to make, but might be a little trickier as far as flavor goes. Since you’re working with raw meat, you cannot taste the filling before you finish cooking the Japanese Dumplings. So, you just have to trust the quantities I suggest below for your first time, and then you can adjust them to your liking for your next time around.
Now, the trickiest part is forming the dumplings. I always tend to overload them which makes it more difficult to shape them nicely. Do not overdo them with the filling, or else your Gyoza will not look very pretty.
How to shape and cook Gyoza
The original Gyoza has 6 pleats on one side and is flat on the other side. This flat side is going to get browned, while the side with the pleats will never come into contact with the bottom of the pan and will only be steamed. The goal is to get the Gyozas browned on the bottom, and steamed on top.
The technique to shape the Japanese Dumplings might be a little tricky at first, but once you know how to do it, you will master it perfectly. Here’s a detailed explanation as follows:
Take one disc and place it in the palm of your hand. Wet your index finger slightly and moisten the edges all around the disc. Place one ball of filling into the center.
Now, fold the disc in half over the filling into a crescent shape, without sealing the edges.
Using your index finger and thumb, start forming small pleats at the top of the half moon starting at the center.
Pleat first moving towards the left, and then, once again, starting from the center, form pleats towards the right. As you fold each pleat, press the folded pleat tightly from front to back, and once you’ve formed all the pleats, gently squeeze the seams to seal all the pleats together.
Repeat with all discs. Roll out the second half of the dough, form all the dumplings, and at the end, repeat with all the leftover dough.
If you want to spare a little bit of time, simply fold the discs into a crescent without adding the pleats and seal well.
So now, happy shaping, it will be worth the time!
JAPANESE DUMPLINGS – GYOZA
- 175 cl water
- 350 g all-purpose flour plus a little more to roll out
- 35 g butter soft
- 100 g spring onions
- 100 g Napa cabbage
- 60 g mushrooms
- 2 cloves of garlic finely grated
- 300 g minced beef and pork use a mix of both meats
- 20 g ginger finely grated
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 hints of black pepper
- 2 tbsp sesame oil for frying
- Soy sauce for serving
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour and water by hand. As soon as it starts to form a dough, add the butter and fully integrate it by hand. Then, transfer the dough to your working surface, knead for approx. 5 minutes until you have a soft, uniformed dough. Wrap in transparent foil and let it sit in the fridge until the filling is ready.
- Chop the spring onions, Napa cabbage and mushrooms into very small pieces of approx. 1-2 mm (0.04 – 0.08 inches). In a large bowl, mix the vegetables well with all the other ingredients by hand. Then, form small balls weighing approx. 10 g each and set them aside on a tray in the fridge.
- Roll out half of the dough with a little flour until 1 mm (0.04 inches) thick. Cut out round discs of approx. 7 cm (2.8 inch) in diameter. Wrap the leftovers back into the foil and set aside in the fridge.
- Take one disc and place it in the palm of your hand. Wet your index finger slightly and moisten the edges all around the disc. Place one ball of filling onto the center.
- Fold the disc in half over the filling into a crescent form, without sealing the ends. Using your index finger and thumb, start forming small pleats at the top of the half moon starting at the center. Pleat first moving towards the left, and then, once again, starting from the center, form pleats towards the right. As you fold each pleat, press the folded pleat tightly from front to back, and once you’ve formed all the pleats, gently squeeze the seams to seal all the pleats together.Repeat with all discs. Roll out the second half of the dough, form all the dumplings, and then, repeat with all the leftover dough.
- Freeze the dumplings for at least 30 minutes. If you have space in your freezer, place them on a baking tray, wrap with one big piece of foil and freeze on the tray. If not, layer them, using a piece of parchment paper to separate the layers from one other.
- Heat the sesame oil in a large frying pan, remove the pan from the stove and place the dumplings in it in a spiral shape, with the flat side in contact with the pan. Fry on the stove for about 5 minutes until nicely browned on the bottom. Then add water up to a little less than half of the height of the dumplings (about 1 cm / 0.4 inch), cover with a lid, and simmer over minimum heat until all the water has evaporated, for about 20 minutes.
- Serve immediately with soy sauce.