Have you ever bought dumpling wrappers and, once you start filling them, you feel like throwing them against the kitchen wall? I’ve had that feeling countless times. Some grocery-bought dumpling wrappers are either too thin or too dry, and they break easily even when handling them with the greatest care.
I now happily announce that we’re over all that. These days, our homemade dumplings are made with homemade wrappers. Alex’s doing, not mine. Last weekend, she made samosas; last night, she cooked gyoza from scratch.
From scratch? Yep, she mixed and seasoned the filling, and she rolled the wrappers one by one from a dough that she prepared herself. The stage mother in me was taking photos of the procedure and posting them on Instagram as Alex worked. But the photo op was slowing her down so, after a while, I let her be.
For a first attempt, I couldn’t find fault. Not even constructive criticism. On hindsight though, Alex says she should have used less filling. Personally, I don’t mind oversized gyoza. In fact, I love them!
I watched Alex pleat each dumpling and it was amazing how much control she had. The procedure is not easy to explain so I’ve embedded a Youtube video (not ours!) to illustrate.
If that looks like something you’re excited to try, here is the recipe modified from Andrea Nguyen’s Asian Dumplings: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup boiled water
- Place the flour in a mixing bowl.
- Boil water in a kettle. As soon as it boils, measure 3/4 cup.
- Make a well in the center of the flour. Pour in the hot water, in a slow stream, mixing the it in with the flour with a fork using the other hand. When all the water has been added, knead the dough in the bowl until the mass holds together in one piece.
- Transfer to the work surface and knead for two minutes.
- Wrap the dough in cling film and let rest for at least 15 minutes.
Alex prepared the dough a day ahead and kept it overnight in the fridge. When she was ready to make the dumplings, she brought out the dough and allowed it to warm to room temperature before cutting and rolling. At that point, the dough was soft, pliable and easy to handle.
Recipe for gyoza (Japanese pan-fried dumplings)
- 2 tablespoons dried shrimps
- 2 cups finely chopped wombok (Alex did not use the stalks)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 200 grams ground pork with at least 20% fat
- 1 teaspoon grated garlic
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 2 tablespoons finely sliced scallions
- generous pinch cracked black pepper
- generous pinch pinch of sugar
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce (Alex used Kikkoman)
- 1 tablespoon rice wine
- 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
- 1 recipe gyoza dough (above)
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil (you may need more depending on the size of your frying pan)
- Place the dried shrimp in a bowl and cover with hot water. Leave to rehydrate for about 20 minutes.
- Place the chopped wombok in a bowl and toss with the 3/4 teaspoon salt. Leave for about 15 minutes. Squeeze to remove as much water as you can.
- Drain the shrimps and chop.
- Mix the shrimps and cabbage with the rest of the ingredients.
- Take the gyoza dough and pinch into 24 pieces (you can make more than that by pinching smaller pieces).
- To make the wrappers, roll each piece of dough into a circle about 1/8 of an inch thick.
- Place a tablespoonful of the filling at the center of a wrapper, fold, pleat and seal following the video above. Repeat until all the wrappers have been filled.
- Now, the actual cooking. Most cooks fry the gyoza before pouring in water. The pan is covered and the dumplings cook until the wrappers have soaked up the steam. The problem with this procedure is that the water spatters when poured into the oiled pan. Since Alex was using a non-stick pan, I suggested a different approach. I told her that she could pour in enough oil to smear the bottom of the pan then add the water so that they heat up together. The dumplings were added, the pan was covered and the dumplings cooked in the steam for about seven minutes on medium heat. By the time the water was gone, the bottom of the dumplings were frying in the oil which, of course, remained in the pan. Uncover the pan and continue cooking until the bottom of the dumplings are browned. It's less messy, there's no spatter and there's less chance of getting your hands burned.
- Note, however, that this technique does not work well if using store-bought wrappers which are too thin.
- How much oil and water you need depends on the size of the frying pan. The depth of the liquid should be about 1/4 inch. Unless you have a super large frying pan, you will need to cook the dumplings in batches. Alex cooked the 24 dumplings in three batches.
- Serve the gyoza with dipping sauce.
Gyoza dipping sauce
- Mix all the ingredients together. Leave for at least 15 minutes to infuse sufficiently.
P.S. Alex also made the rice rolls in the background.