Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Who Says You Can't Make "Exotic" Meals In The RV Galley? - Japanese Gyoza

    Dumplings are good, Japanese dumplings or Gyoza are amazing. They are related to their Chinese counterparts, but are quite different. The skins are very thin and one side is crispy while the rest are tender. The filling, while simple, is packed with flavor. I learned how to make these little beauties about a year ago and then realized that they could be made in the RV without much trouble. Since they cook in a single skillet, they are even easy to clean up. It's even easier now that thin wonton skins are available at most mega marts. Here's how:

The Assembly Line!
First, the filling needs to be prepped in a large bowl. Larger bowl equals more Gyoza which, in turn, equals more enjoyment! Besides, these freeze REALLY well, so well they can be cooked directly from the freezer and brought to the table. More on that later. You will need: 1 pound of ground pork, about 1/3 head of green cabbage, some fresh ginger, about 4 cloves of garlic, some chives (well, really a Japanese herb called Nira but chives work too) and some chicken soup base (Japanese Torigawa if you are being precise), a splash of Sake (Japanese rice wine), a drop or two of good soy sauce, a dash or two of White pepper and salt to taste. I add 2 teaspoons of corn starch as a thickener.

This Picture Gives You An Idea On How To Fold Properly
Place the meat in a large bowl, add grated ginger and finely grated garlic. Add 2 teaspoons Torigawa soup base, the pepper and salt. Chop half a bunch of Nira (chives) into 1/8 inch pieces, discarding the very tops and bottoms. Finely chop the cabbage and mix in. The mixture should be uniform in texture. Believe me this will all be worth it!

Yes. You can eat them right away!
Now you take the skins -- I prefer the smaller size and the thinner the better (do not use Chinese wonton skins, they are really too thick) -- and set up a workstation. You'll need the pre-prepared mixture and a small bowl of water to moisten one edge of the skin to seal. Begin by scooping a small amount of your filling (it should cover the center of the wonton skin with at least an inch all the way around the outside edge of the wonton skin.) Tap your finger in the water and go over the edge of the skin on one side then fold over. Here's where it gets tricky. You need to fold over the edge every half inch or so back onto itself so you get a nice seal with even folds. Look at the picture -- it is way better than the description! Now do this 50 more times, as you can get 50 small Gyoza from 1 pound of ground pork mixture.  You could also use Chicken or Shrimp or just the vegetables if that's what you'd like.

They REALLY Freeze And Travel Well!
At this point you could place them on a plate with space between each one and freeze. Once solid drop them in a zip top bag or bags and use whenever you like. Mine don't usually last that long! On to cooking. Take a skillet large enough for the number you wish to cook and add enough oil to thinly coat the bottom. Heat up the oil and add the Gyoza folded side UP into the sizzling oil. Turn down the heat to medium high and cook until the bottom is golden brown and delicious. Then add enough water to come about 1/4 inch up the side of the pan and cover. The steam will finish the cooking process. You should run out of water when they are done. You may have to adjust the amount accordingly or just drain. Too much water will give you soggy, but still tasty Gyoza! Even the failed experiments are delicious! When done, remove from heat and place in a row on a serving plate. What about a dipping sauce? Well, that's easy! Just mix good quality soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and hot Chili oil to taste. YUM!

It all sounds complicated, but isn't. AND it's lots of fun to do around a table with friends with or without adult beverages!!

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"



  1. Always loved these from the roadside carts in Japan - thanks for the recipe.

    1. Greyhound Express,
      Me too! If I had known how simple they were to make, I would have lots more frozen, ready to go on a moments notice!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

  2. I love Chinese pot stickers, and these sound very similar, so I will definitely make them if you'll tell me the quantity to use for the following:

    ~Some fresh ginger (amount of grated ginger or size of piece needed). Fresh ginger is very strong, so I don't want to overdo it.
    ~Some chives or Nira (you say use half a bunch of Nira, but I'm more likely to use chives--so can you say how much chives (they're usually sold in a small package with the chive stalks cut to about 6" lengths)
    Wonton skins or wrappers--you say not to buy Chinese wonton wrappers. What exactly do you buy? Is there a special Japanese skin you use--can you tell us a brand that is best?

    Also you say chicken soup base can be substituted for the Torigawa. Do you mean chicken stock or is soup base different?

    Do you find a difference in taste if substituting American ingredients for the Japanese ones you list?

    Thanks! I want to make these this week and I'm home bound with an injury, so I'll have to order my ingredients delivered. A little more information will be very helpful. I can taste them now. . .

  3. Unknown,
    About a half golf ball size chunk of ginger. 2 packages of chives. Look for VERY think wonton skins. Usually round.

    Chicken soup base is a powder. Can be found in most supermarkets.

    The difference is detectable, but not terribly so.

    As always, this kind of mixture isn't all that exact!

    Rich "The Wanderman"


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