Crispy on the outside, tender tastiness on the inside

There’s a new Gyoza joint in town, and it’s literally right around the corner from where you’re sitting. I’m talking about your kitchen. Yes, your kitchen. Don’t shake your head at me. I have faith in you. I have a friend who doesn’t cook (you know who you are) and I’m convinced even she can make gyoza using the fool proof plan below.

It’s so easy 7 year old Sota can do it!

For those of you who don’t know, Gyoza is a fried Japanese dumpling. In the states you can get the steamed version, pot-stickers, in Chinese restaurants. I absolutely LOVE them, and was ecstatic to be included in a gyoza making party last week. If you’re a little unsure about doing this alone, grab some friends for a night of fun. The more, the merrier!
DSC07138 My daughter Heather with our friends Akiko and Sota. Even baby Sachiho got in on the action!
DSC07128 In just three simple steps you will all be eating gyoza-y goodness.

My friends don’t follow any recipe, they cook using the “a little of this and a tad of that” technique. That’s actually good news for you non-cookers out there, because when making gyoza this way, there is virtually no way to mess up!

Here’s what went into our bowl: chopped cabbage, chopped scallions, grated ginger, garlic, salt, pepper, soy sauce and ground pork. You can add to the ingredients we used, or skip an ingredient if you don’t have it. It’s all gonna taste good when it’s finished. We did have a splash of what I called the “mystery ingredient”…

DSC07130 Soy Sauce? Rice Wine? Japanese Worcestershire? Hopefully one of you great readers will solve the mystery!

Once you have all your fixins mixed in the bowl, take a drink of your favorite beverage and get ready to make some gyoza.

DSC07131 Gyoza wrappers are available at most local grocery stores. If I were a really good journalist I’d be able to tell you if they were sold on base. But I’m not. 😛


MAKE IT: A spoonful of mix goes into the center of each wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half, and pinch the edges closed! Dip your fingertips into a bit of water for extra stick-ability. Add a fold or two to the pinched edges to make it look interesting and more gyoza-like. (Don’t freak out here, it’s just a little folded dough, not rocket science!) This is actually the fun part, with everyone gathered around the bowl grabbing mix at the same time. You can have spoon duels, or a competition to see who makes the most gyoza!

DSC07141 A platter of shaped gyoza ready for the frying pan. See? None of them are perfect, they’re all a bit wonky.

FRY IT: Okay, so I don’t have a picture of the little dumplings sizzling in the pan. I was too busy making more! But visualize with me, if you will, a pan sitting on the stove with a bit of oil in it and a single layer of gyoza frying away. Only fry one side, when that side turns crispy brown it’s done!

The only thing left to do is EAT them, and boy will you. We made 150 gyoza that night and ate every single one!

Japanese Eating Etiquette: Before the meal put your hands together and say (our friends rather shout it out), “itadakimasu” (ee-tah-dah-kee-mas) which loosly translates to “I will take this with thanks.” After the meal, put your hands together and say, “gochisousama” (go-chee-so-ooh-sah-mah – kind of running the so-ooh together into one sound). This means roughly  “Thank you” or “I’ve had enough”. It will help create an authentic atmosphere for your gyoza-fest.

Not everyone has the time or the temperament to make their own gyoza. Where do you go to get your gyoza fix?


  1. I was stationed Camp Hanson back in 1978 an to this day I don’t go without thinking of Okinawa I really miss that beautiful Island. I would go back there in a heart beat. An as you would go out the gate at Hanson go straight across the street and down 3 streets and turn left and up 3 or 4 bids. and a little restraunt on the right momma Saun made a kick ass Gyoza boiled and you would dip them with chopsticks into soy sauce and man they were Delicious!

  2. For the lazy, you can buy a gyoza ‘press’ at places like a 100yen store or a kitchen store. This will make perfect gyoza that definately won’t fall apart. And so easy that kids would have no trouble. Kinda looks like a large ravioli press, where you fold it in half and press down.

  3. Is it better if you leave a little on your plate? IF you eat it all before you say Thanks I have had enough. DO they assume you want more.

    Shelly Coggin
    I am not in Okinawa yet just reading and preparing to go.

  4. Hi Dasha! Great post. As a half breed (half American and Japanese) my mother taught me at a young age to make gyoza. She always used sesame oil which is the “mystery bottle.” When the gyoza are done, you can make a dipping sauce of soy, rice vinegar and “layu” also called chili oil. Good stuff. I’ve had parties myself and invited people over to make them. So fun!

  5. A few years ago, I started a tradition of making homemade gyoza with leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Delicious and fun to get the family involved!

    I like to fry the gyoza for a few minutes, pour a little water in, cover, and then steam for a few minutes… my Japanese friend showed me how to do it that way.

  6. You can get the gyoza wrappers on base. At the Kadena commissary, where the produce is, it’s that little case/area right before you get to the meat and sushi that has the tofu, soba noodles…

  7. I’m the ONE you referred to who doesn’t cook and even I think I could manage a little gyoza party!!! I love gyoza and use to get it at The Dragon restaurant. So far I think theirs is the best but the hubs doesn’t like the lack of cleaning standards that this restaurant typically adheres to so we don’t visit it often!!!! I am amazed at how different the recipe turns out with each new restaurant we try. I do prefer my gyoza fried but I know the Dragon typically serves it “boiled” looking and I have to request it fried. I think some places even use both techniques!!!! Great post, D!!!!

  8. Arashi’s Is our Gyoza Fix, they have Ramen dishes ranging from 400-600Yen and An Excellent Garlic Fried rice dish 480Yen, Potstickers for 200Yen and kids meals. Located off 58 right next to Obbligato and the Indian Resteraunt. The black sign with orange Japanese lettering. Yen only and it’s a vending machine style eatery.

    Great Food!!!

  9. Thanks for sharing this recipe… and Idea. I love to try new recipes!

    And an added Bonus At the 100 Yen store the other day i found a Gyoza maker. It comes with a plastic gyoza folder and a little spatula. (Any way i can send a pic)