I am slowly trying to japanify myself, and a friend of mine helps me to do so by teaching me how to cook. Last Friday, we spontaneously decided to make gyoza – Japanese meat dumplings.

You need gyoza wrappers – thin, round wrappers made of noodle dough. I guess if you can’t find those, it would be possible to make them yourself. Those are filled with a mixture of cabbage and pork and a few other things and are relatively easy to make. The recipe is below. I would recommend making a really large batch and freezing whatever you can’t eat. It is best to freeze the fresh gyoza before frying them.

Also, extra tip: the meat mixture described in the recipe is the same as for meat balls. Japanese tend not to fry those in a pan, but rather, they put them on a stick and grill them. Something I will also try out eventually.

Japanese Gyoza

Gyoza à la Junko san
(25 pieces)

– 180 g (Chinese) cabbage
Wash the cabbage leaves and cut them in smaller pieces. Boil them in hot water until the hard stalks are soft. Wring out thoroughly (use a towel to get all the water out) and chop in very small pieces.

– 30 g thin leek or spring onions
Chop into thin rings.

– 150 g finely minced pork
– 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
– 1 piece of ginger, finely chopped
– salt, pepper, a few drops of soy sauce
Mix all of the above together thoroughly with your hands. Make sure the result is a very smooth paste. Let it rest for 10 minutes or so to enhance the flavour.

– 25 round gyoza wrappers
Fill each of the gyoza wrappers with about 1 teaspoon of the meat mix. Moisten the edges of the wrappers with a bit of water (special tip: dissolve a little bit of flour in the water for even better results) and close the wrappers, making a half circle. To make sure the gyoza will not open during frying, fold the round edge over itself a few times.

Fry a batch of the gyoza (5-10, depending on the size of the pan) with a little oil in a pan. When one side is nice and crisp, turn them around, add a little water and put a lid on the pan. The gyoza are finished when all the water is gone. To make them extra crispy, turn them around again and fry them a few minutes longer.

For the dipping sauce, mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and a few drops of sesame oil.