My 1st Washoku Warrior Challenge – Gyoza!

gyoza2
Wafu-gyoza

I love dumplings. I really do. But finding the time to make them seems close to impossible. The one time I made wantons were at a friend’s house. It’s always good to make them with a couple of friends since we Asians tend to make a ton of these things at a time and looking at a large bowl of filling can be daunting if not tedious to work with. The “Hungry” Hubby, by the way, is banned from making dumplings since he made his unwillingness to do such manual work known by pasting two wrappers together and making his own design.

As luck would have it, my first recipe as a Washoku warrior (a group cooking from Elizabeth Andoh’s book) was to make homemade gyoza – a dumpling I’ve always enjoyed at a restaurant, a friend’s house or gasp (!) microwaved. I was looking forward to this challenge as I’ve always wanted to make gyoza before. We were given a choice to make or buy our gyoza wrappers.

gyozawrap2
So I cheated by using a cutter – but hey, whatever works!

Never thought I would make my own wrappers, but I did! This part was challenging because I did not know what to expect specially after kneading the dough a while that it became too tough to roll into a log and would have taken two people to pull it on either end to get it to 12 inches. Definitely did something wrong here but since it was my first attempt I wasn’t overly concerned. The recipe could be found at La Fuji Mama’s .

gyozawrap1
 

So on to the main part of the gyoza filling. It looked relatively easy, right? Mince some of the ingredients and mix. But working with wakame seaweed was a new experience for me and I realized it wouldn’t get ground in the food processor. I tried to smash it to pieces but they kept on bouncing off the countertop. I was doubtful that I was headed the right direction when my cabbage-leek-wakame blend appeared very watery after running it through the food processor. In fact, when everything was blended together ,the whole filling seemed so packed with moisture that when I threw it on the surface of the chopping board to tenderize the filling it gave an audible splat and I was surprised none of the mixture backfired into my face.
But that was not my biggest problem. I took out my gyoza wrappers and was miffed to find out that they’ve become so stuck together that it took careful peeling to get them to separate and I did suffer more casualties than I wanted. I’m pretty sure I dusted them with enough flour but that seemed to have been absorbed by the wrapper. Much to learn about these dumpling wrappers.
I was excited to get started pleating. It took me a while to figure it out. My first one did not have any pleat at all. Why? Because when I pressed the center, both sides already sealed shut so I just sighed and pinched them firmer.
Gyoza:1, Veron:0
The next one was not any better, I got 1 pleat.
Gyoza:2, Veron:0
For the third one, I decided to pay more attention when I pinched the center. And with nimble fingers, managed to make 3 pleats on the right side and then without thinking turned the gyoza and pleated on the left side until …WTF! Why are the pleats on opposite sides?!
Gyoza:3, Veron:0
After that I stopped counting but in the end as my fingers got more coordinated I managed to turn out pretty decent ones some may have 6 pleats , others 5 or 4 but as long as they are sealed shut – I was happy.
 

foldinggyoza
Pleating can be a pain in the ass …

  Cooking them wasn’t as scary as I thought (adding water to a hot pan with oil). I did wonder if I had the pan too hot because the water I added evaporated almost as soon as the water stopped sizzling. I have a fear of undercooked pork and I may have been too zealous about cooking it longer.
The verdict: The filling was a bit bland but I did think my mixture was watery to begin with so I don’t think it was the recipe. And I did overcook my dumpling as the pork filling was dry. Nothing a little gyoza sauce can’t fix.
This was a great learning experience, the gyoza wrapper was a bit tougher, but definitely tastier than store-bought. My thanks to Rachael of La Fuji Mama for picking this fantastic challenge. She has a round up of the group’s individual rendition of the Wafu Gyoza on her site.
 

potstick
Gyoza served with the browned side up…

(some of you must be wondering where’s the dipping sauce…it was late at night…I forgot to include it in the picture)

27 thoughts on “My 1st Washoku Warrior Challenge – Gyoza!

  1. They look divine! Judging from the photo, I never would’ve guessed that you had any issues with the pleating. And the browning is totally making my mouth water.

    I have a weakness for dumplings, and potstickers are my absolute fav. Whenever I make them, I can’t help myself—I have to make enough to stock the freezer. But I’ve never made the effort to make my own wrappers. Maybe next time!

  2. my hubby and i are very much opposite. but if there’s one thing we both agree to enjoy on japanese food are gyoza!! we both love gyoza specially eaten with a hot bowl of ramen!! your gyoza looks divine!!

  3. Goodness! I am seriously craving these gyozas now! My friend’s mom makes AMAZINg dumplings, and she uses the leftover dough to make noodles!

  4. your handmade gyoza look so professional! I guess we had the same problem with the sticky dough… the dough in lafujimama’s pictures looked much firmer and less sticky. Anyways, it was a fun challenge and in the end, delicious too

  5. It’s been SO long since I’ve had decent gyoza… But yours look so perfect, it makes me want to try my hand at creating them myself! Properly made gyoza have no comparison, they’re one of the best things out there!

  6. Looking very very yummy! Love the browned bottoms!!

    My filling was rather liquidy too. I figured it was since I used a blender instead of a proper food processor, or I didn’t double the the recipe properly. I added a bit more cabbage (just chopped with a knife) and that seemed to help.

    Pleating took me many many MANY tries and plenty of ridicule from my step-mother’s mother to get it right. I still here her voice in my head if I don’t fold it quite right…! It looks like you got the hang of it though, and I figure that as long as they TASTE good, that’s all that matters anyways, right?!

  7. Well, color me impressed anyways – I love dumplings of any sort, but I’ll almost always take the easy way out and get them when I eat out instead of trying to make them myself. They look gorgeous!

  8. Last year we made a ton of these…our Philipino/Chinese nanny and I. My daughter ended up using them as mid-day school snacks,… and me, I ate them, at various hours of the day and enjoyed them tremendously. They freeze well too once assembled

  9. I’m in awe of your fabulous dumplings. Such patience, creativity and finesse’. I only wish I had the courage to attempt such a feat.

    Your posts are ever so inspiring, Veron. Thank you:)

  10. The gyoza do look wonderful. I haven’t made any recently, but I first learned how to make them when I was about 8 years old. My whole family would sit around the kitchen table, my dad would make the dough, my mom would make the filling, my sister and I would roll out the dough and then we’d all wrap together. I made only once with hubs (now that I’m older) and had similar experience with him making the oddest shaped gyoza and the thickest dough too! But I then got to make him eat his own and he regretted not filling them properly :) One secret about the watery filling – the best filling is prepared by hand-chopping the vegetables rather than using the food processor and then you have to try to drain the veggies before combining in the seasoning and meat.

  11. I have never made dumplings before. My husband likes them, but I do not. So, if I don’t care for it, he has to buy it at a restaurant. You make it look so easy, I will have to give it a try for him.

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