From The Garden Gyozas
You might have heard by now, but I grow napa cabbage almost solely for these gyozas and kimchi. The minute the cabbage heads are ready, we gather together and make lots of these gyozas to eat and to freeze for future meals. Our favorite way to round out the meal is to serve them with rice, a saute of whatever greens are available from the garden, or a refreshing side salad. PS: do not forget the dipping sauce! It is absolutely necessary and delicious. I’ve included the recipe at the end of this post.
Napa cabbage is a cool season (Fall through Spring) crop in my zone 10b garden. It’s also very finicky, because it bolts quickly in heat—-meaning the flavor becomes more bitter as it prepares to flower. Because of its delicate nature, it’s great to have recipes (like these gyozas) that use a lot of it and allow us to “preserve” it in a form where we can enjoy our harvest for the future months. For more crops that us SoCal gardeners can grow during the cooler months, check out my Fall & Winter Gardening Guide.
1 lb. finely minced napa cabbage (this is about one large head, or two small)
3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1.5 lbs ground pork
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1″ piece of ginger, finely minced
1 oz. minced garlic chives, about 2 TBS *see note
1 oz. finely chopped green onion, about 2 TBS (only light green and green top parts)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 package of round, gyoza/potsticker wrappers **see photo
Dipping sauce for serving (recipe below!)
Makes approximately 50 gyozas (one whole package of wrappers).
*NOTE on garlic chives. Garlic chives have a flavor that can’t truly be substituted. They are more flat (like grass) than regular chives (you can see them in my Instagram post HERE). If you are interested in growing your own, you can find some seeds here.We like to mix both garlic chives and green onions in this recipe, but if you don’t have garlic chives simply use all green onions (green part only).
Place the finely minced napa cabbage in a colander over a large bowl. I usually don’t use the thick bottom stem parts (those can be used for future stir fries or composted). Sprinkle only 2 teaspoons kosher salt (one of the teaspoons is reserved for later) over the cabbage and massage gently with your hands. Let it sit for about 15 minutes. The cabbage will loose a lot of liquid down in the bowl. We don’t want this liquid in the gyozas because it will make the filling and wrappers soggy.
Drain the cabbage. Using either your hands, a clean kitchen towel, or cheesecloth wring the rest of the liquid from the cabbage.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the drained napa cabbage, ground pork, remaining teaspoon kosher salt, black pepper, garlic, ginger, chinese chives/green onions, and sugar. Mix together with clean hands until the mixture starts to feel tacky/sticky. You will feel like you are over mixing it, but a homogeneous, sticky texture is what we want.
Once you are done mixing, take a small teaspoon sized amount and put it on a microwave safe plate. Cook it about 20-30 seconds (depends on your microwave power) until it is thoroughly cooked (no pink!). Now, it is safe to taste test and see if the filling needs any adjustments. Make any necessary adjustments to taste at this time. Sometimes we add a little more salt because you never really know how much will be left after you drain the cabbage.
Okay, now you are ready to start folding! I highly recommend you set up your folding station before diving into this step because your hands will be full and you don’t want to be scrambling to get all your supplies together.
The Folding Station
You will need:
–Small bowl of water for sealing and keeping meat from sticking to your fingers.
–Napkin for wiping your fingers
–Gyoza wrappers (keep them covered with plastic wrap so they don’t dry out)
–Baking sheet for finished gyozas (line with parchment to avoid sticking
–Small spoon for scooping your filling
–Optional: a small plate for under where you are folding
Take your gyoza wrapper, add about a teaspoon-tablespoon of filling to the center (you’ll start to get comfortable with how much filling works for you). Dip your finger in the bowl of water and moisten around the edge of the wrapper. At this point you can do a traditional dumpling fold, or you can just fold in half to seal. I think the dumping folds are fun, but it’s not something that can really be described in writing. I highly encourage you to find a video on YouTube on how to fold gyozas. ***We don’t take this too seriously, and each of our gyozas turn out a little different. That’s okay!
Place your finished gyoza on the baking sheet and proceed to the next one!
Quick tip: Dipping your fingers in the water will also prevent the gyoza mixture from sticking to your fingers if you need to shape or handle it.
Most often, we pan fry the gyozas and serve them with rice, stir fried greens, and dipping sauce. That’s how I’ve written the instructions below. There are some other ways to serve too: Steaming- You can also steam these gyozas (they can stick to steamer baskets so sometimes laying a layer of napa cabbage leaves under them or parchment paper is helpful). In Soup- These can also be added to boiling soup to cook all the way through…similar to a wonton soup!
To pan fry: Heat a tablespoon (or two) of vegetable oil over medium heat in a nonstick skillet until it shimmers. This all depends on how many you are cooking at a time. We usually can fit about 14 in our skillet.
Add your gyozas in a single layer and fry until the bottom side is golden (about 2 minutes). You might need to use a spatula to push them around to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan. Flip and fry the new side until golden following the same steps to prevent sticking.
Read this part thoroughly! Take 1/4 cup of water, carefully add it to the pan, and immediately cover with a lid. I say “carefully” because water and oil aren’t great friends and there will be some splashing which is why you should immediately cover with a lid. Steam the gyozas like this for about 5 minutes (a couple minutes longer if using frozen). Remove the lid and cook a couple minutes more, until most of the water has evaporated and the gyozas are fully cooked.
Don’t forget the Dipping Sauce
Serve with the delicious dipping sauce below:
The sauce is simply a 2:1 ratio so you can adjust depending on how many gyozas you are cooking. The recipe below is typically what I make for just two people.
4 teaspoons rice vinegar (NOT rice wine vinegar)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
A drizzle of chili oil (optional), or a small sliced thai pepper (optional). We really enjoy spicy food, so I usually slice a thai pepper.
Freezing Gyozas For Future Meals
These gyozas can be frozen for future use. We freeze them uncooked (so don’t cook the ones you want to freeze). The secret is to “pre-freeze” them on the baking sheet before placing in a bag to prevent them sticking to each other. Simply place the baking sheet with your gyozas in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. We actually vacuum seal our gyozas in portions and freeze, but I know some people who use ziploc freezer bags. These can be frozen for up to two months and cooked straight from frozen!