Monday, September 17, 2012

Japanese Gyoza (Dumplings) with Beef

            We finished our study on Japan this week, so of course I was asked by my adventurous eater (my 11 year old) to make something Japanese for dinner.   I thought of what I had in the fridge and what could I possibly make with it that would be Japanese.  Luckily, I had asked my husband to pick up ground beef and cabbage at the store the other day.  Seeing those two ingredients I knew I could make a dumpling.  My favorite appetizer found at a Japanese restaurant is Gyoza, which forgive me if you already know, are dumplings.

             They were actually brought to Japan from China.  Chinese dumplings always seemed more doughy to me, where Gyoza dumpling dough seem thinner, and I personally like the crispiness on the one side.  They don't seem to taste as dense as the Chinese dumplings, in my opinion.

              These do take some work, especially if you are going to make the wrapper, which I did.  If I was going to make a recipe from scratch, I was going all the way.  Since I made the wrapper as well, I can tell you what not to do.

              I did an internet search and found that the dough is 2 parts flour to 1 part water.  Depending on the time of year you may have to adjust the water amount.  This is pretty much trial and error.

Ingredients for the dough
  1. 2 Cups flour
  2. 1 Cup boiling water
  3. 1/4 tsp salt
First place your flour and salt in a mixing bowl.  Slowly add the water and stir.  Do not add it all, because you don't know if it will need less than a cup of water or more than 1 cup of water to get the consistency you want.  For example, I ended up using only 3/4 of a cup of water.

Work the dough with your hands to make sure the water is all incorporated.  You should be able to form the dough into a ball.  It should not be overly sticky, and it should not feel gooey.  If it does add a little more flour, a tablespoon at a time until it is more workable.

Place the dough ball in a bowl and cover the bowl with a damp towel or paper towel.  Let it sit an hour before you use it.

Ingredients for the filling (I used what I had on hand)
  1. 1 1/3 lbs ground beef (you can use pork, or chicken, or a veggie mixture)
  2. 1/2 Cup finely chopped onion
  3. 1 Cup finely diced cabbage
  4. 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  5. 1 egg
  6. 4 tsp sesame oil
  7. 2 Tbl low sodium soy sauce, or soy sauce alternative
  8. 1/4 tsp dried ginger (You can sub 1 tsp fresh grated ginger.  I had none.)
  9. 1 tsp salt
  10. 1/4 tsp pepper
First, chop up all of your cabbage, onion, and garlic, and add them to a bowl.

Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix well with your hands, so the ingredients are mixed well.

Place in the fridge until you are ready for it.

Ingredients for the dipping sauce
  1. 1 part low sodium soy sauce or alternative 
  2. 1 part rice wine vinegar or cider vinegar
The 1:1 ratio worked well for my family's taste.  You may need to adjust if you want it less sour.

When you are ready to work with the dough, get out the flour.  It is really sticky.  I was constantly flouring my board and rolling pin.

First, I rolled the dough so that it looked like a french baguette.

 I then cut it in smaller pieces.  I rolled the smaller pieces into similar sized balls.  I then rolled those balls out into thin circles.  They were about 1/8 an inch.  Pretty thin.

I then used a round glass to cut the dough.  I put the circles aside.

Here is my first tip with this.  You must flour each disk well, because they will stick.  In fact do not stack too many on top of each other.  I did this and had a whole bunch stuck together so that I ended up having to re-roll them.  If you want you can always cut parchment paper and place between the disks.

Once your disks are ready, take a small amount of filling and place in the middle of the disk.  Then roll one end over onto the other.

Then you are going to make pleats in the edging.  This seals the dumpling.

To cook, place a small amount of oil in a frying pan.  I used 2 tablespoons.  Place your dumplings in the pan when it is hot.  You want the pleated part up.  It will not take long for the bottoms to brown up.  Carefully check them after about 3 minutes.  Just lift up the bottoms to check.

Once they are brown on the bottom, you are going to add 1/2 Cup of water.  Careful of the splatter.  You will then immediately cover the pan so the dumplings will steam.  I had the heat on high, but them lowered it to medium.

It took 3 minutes of the steaming until they were cooked.  If you are not sure, do what I did.  I took one out, cut it, and checked.  Yes it was done, so I happily ate it.  I was really happy to eat it.  It was really good.

I did end up having extra filling, so I will have to figure out what to do with it.(A new challenge, yeah!)  You may want to decrease the amount of filling in the recipe or increase the amount of dough you make.

My husband said that this was the best thing I had ever made, ever!  He said he loved them, and he doesn't even like gyoza. 


  1. What great recipe, Siggy! Would love to try it one day...

    It's funny, I've been making some Japanese dishes myself, lately:).

    If you have leftover filling you may want to make the Japanese Okonomiyaki pancakes.... add some beaten eggs and a bit of flour to make a batter and add your filling(and any other meat/seafood or vegetables you like). Cook pancakes in a skillet and serve them with a sauce of choice: hoisin, mayonnaise+a a bit of rice vinegar, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, etc... just a thought:).

    Have a great day!