This pan-fried gyoza (yaki-gyoza) recipe comes with instructions and illustrations for making the wrapper from scratch, folding and pleating the dumplings and pan frying for maximum crispness at the bottom of the dumplings.
If you feel that thirty-something pieces of gyoza are too much for one meal, you can divide the uncooked dumplings into two or more portions. Freeze the other portions in a container with a tight lid so that they do not touch one another. Uncooked gyoza stays good in the freezer for two weeks.
The dough for the wrapper can be made from scratch or store-bought. My daughter, Alex, our resident gyoza maker, likes control over the thickness and chewiness of the wrapper so she makes it from scratch. The ingredients are just flour, water and salt, and starch for dusting.
If you’re up to the challenge of making the gyoza wrappers, the details are all in the recipe. As an introductory note, however, know that once mixed, the dough needs to rest to allow gluten to form. That’s what makes the dough pliable and elastic, and what gives the wrapper a wonderful chewiness.
So, make the dough for the wrapper and leave it to rest. Then, take the rested dough, roll and divide into portions. Take a portion, flatten with your hands and coat in starch to make the rest of the process easier.
Flatten and stretch the starch-coated dough with a rolling pin to the thickness that you prefer. Ideally, it should be less than an eighth of an inch or thinner, but the center should be a little thicker than the edges. The diameter should be three inches or so.
To make the dumplings, place the filling at the center, fold and pinch. No sealing at this point. Not yet. The sealing happens during the next stage.
With the filling in place, you make the signature pleats for gyoza. It does take practice but it’s not mission impossible. I’ve tried it but I have to admit that Alex is better at the job than I am.
The pleating is made in opposite directions so that they meet at the middle of the top of the dumpling. By the time the pleats are complete, the filling is totally sealed.
The formed dumplings are arranged in a lightly oiled pan, left to cook until a crust forms at the bottom then water is poured around the dumplings. The pan is covered and the gyoza cooks in the steam.
The dumplings are done when all the water has evaporated. But cooking the gyoza uncovered for a minute or so after removing the lid of the pan is like frying the bottoms a second time. Don’t skip that extra step to give your gyoza the best texture.
To pan-fry the gyoza
- 2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
Mix the gyoza filling
- In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the gyoza filling.
- Cover the bowl and chill in the fridge while you make the wrappers.
Make the gyoza wrapper
- In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the wrapper until it forms a ball.
- Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and leave to rest for ten minutes.
- Dump the rested gyoza wrapper dough on a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, about 15 to 25 minutes depending on the level of humidity in your kitchen.
- Divide the dough into two equal portions.
- Roll each portion into a thin log.
- Cut each log into 18 pieces so you have 36 pieces of dough altogether.
Roll the gyoza wrappers
- Take a piece of dough and flatten with your hands.
- Lightly coat both sides of the flattened dough with starch.
- With a rolling pin, flatten the dough to form a three-inch disc about two millimeters in thickness.
- Repeat with the rest of the gyoza wrapper dough.
Assemble the gyoza
- Take the filling out of the fridge.
- Take a wrapper and place a teaspoonful of filling at the center.
- Fold the dough and lightly pinch the center of the edges. DO NOT seal the edges at this point.
- With one hand holding the dumpling, use the index and forefingers of your other hand to fold a pleat near the center. The direction of the pleat is towards the center. Make two more pleats keeping the pleats about a quarter inch apart.
- Fold three pleats on the other side of the dumpling.
- Repeat until all the wrappers have been filled.
Pan fry the gyoza
- Spread a tablespoon of sesame seed oil on the bottom of a frying pan and heat.
- Arrange half of the dumplings in the pan so that they do not touch one another.
- Cook the dumplings in the hot oil until the bottoms are browned and crusty.
- Pour in a quarter cup of water around the edges of the pan (be careful not to pour water directly on the dumplings).
- Cover the pan, set the heat to medium and allow the gyoza to cook in the steam for about eight minutes.
- Uncover the pan and continue cooking the dumplings until all the water has evaporated and the oil is sizzling.
- Repeat the process for the remaining half of the gyoza.
Serve the gyoza
- Arrange the cooked gyoza on a plate.
- Serve the gyoza with soy sauce and chili oil sauce, or your preferred dipping sauce.