“Luck is like having a rice dumpling fly into your mouth.” — Japanese Proverb
I’m a huge lover of all types of dumplings, especially Japanese gyoza.
Living in Japan meant I was able to feed my inner gyoza monster on a regular basis. In our apartment complex in Tokyo we had a little mini supermarket in the courtyard. Squirrel and I would make daily pilgrimages there for things like milk, fresh veggies, or a piece of fish for dinner. Every week a stand was set up in the middle of the store where a vendor sold something special, like a variety of miso pickles or tea. Once a month my favorite vendor would set up shop to sell amazing gyoza. He made all of his own gyoza wrappers and sold them two ways–hot and ready to eat, or ready to be popped into a hot pan and cooked. Squirrel and I would grab a package of 10 and go home and have ourselves a little gyoza feast.
Now that we’re in the States, far away from my gyoza man, my options are much more limited. Although I can buy them frozen or at a restaurant, they’re not quite the same. Those homemade wrappers make such a huge difference. The good news is, if you’ve got a bit of time to spare, you too can have gyoza made with homemade wrappers at home. Just like homemade pasta, the texture of homemade gyoza wrappers is a lot different. Storebought wrappers are almost papery in comparison. Homemade are a bit doughier. With homemade you can make them as thick or as thin as you like depending on your personal preferences. Although it is easier to grab a pack of premade wrappers when making your own gyoza, I highly recommend taking the time to make your own sometime. They are actually very easy to make and worth the effort!
Homemade Gyoza Wrappers
Adapted from The Japanese Kitchen, by Hiroko Shimbo
Makes 40 wrappers
Sift two cups of all-purpose flour into a large bowl and stir in a 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
Add about 1/2 a cup of boiling water, little by little, using chopsticks to stir, until you can form the mixture into a ball. Depending on the weather, you may need to add a little bit more water to reach this consistency.
Let the dough sit in the bowl, covered with a damp cloth, for 1 hour.
On a floured work surface, knead the dough for about five minutes, or until it is smooth.
Shape the dough into a long log, and cut the log crosswise into 40 slices. The trick here is to get the log as cylindrical as possible, as this will help in shaping your wrappers into nice circles later on.
To maintain similar size in your pieces, cut the log into 4 equal pieces, and then cut each of those pieces in half, and so on. Dust each cut side with additional flour (this help prevent the surfaces from drying out).
Also, make sure you are using a very sharp knife to cut your log, as this will help you maintain the circular shape of your slices (otherwise they kind of mash down and turn into ovals, which is okay, but will be harder to roll out into circular wrappers).
Roll each piece of dough into a 3-inch disk, making the outer edge thinner than the center, then dust it liberally with additional flour, and stack them (the flour will help keep them fresh and prevent them from sticking to each other).
Initially your wrappers might be very funny shapes, but they’ll still taste good! The more you make, the better you’ll get at making circles. The more circular your slices are (from cutting your dough log), the more successful you will be when rolling them out.
Shhhh, don’t tell!–If you want an easy way to cheat and get perfectly circular wrappers, grab a circular cookie cutter that is 3- to 3.5-inches in diameter, roll out your dough to a slightly larger size, and use the cutter to cut out a perfect circle.
Wrap the stack tightly in plastic wrap until ready for use.
After use, if you have remaining wrappers, rewrap them in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator.
*For a great brief overview of the dumplings of the world, see The Gourmet Girl’s Article, Dumplings…Who knew?
What to do with those homemade gyoza wrappers?
– Make gyoza (you can find my SUPER TOP SECRET gyoza recipe over on SteamyKitchen.com!
– Make Nutella Banana Gyoza!