Gyoza: The Ultimate Dumpling Cookbook, written by Paradise Yamamoto, features 50 recipes from Tokyo’s Gyoza King. With both traditional and fun new creations, highlights include Bacon & Carbonara Potstickers, Fried Banana & Mango Dumplings, Cherry Blossom Dumplings, Festive Red Rice Potstickers, Peekaboo Squid Gyoza, Dancing Octopus Dumplings, and more. I will also be sharing his recipe for Wagyu Beef Dumplings following the review.
Disclosure: I received this book from Tuttle Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All comments and opinions are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Paradise Yamamoto was born in Sapporo and is known as Japan’s “Gyoza King.” He only serves dumplings at Mamgyoen, his members-only “Vine Garden” pop-up dinners in Tokyo. He is also a member of the music group Tokyo Panorama Mambo Boys and was the first Japanese Santa to be accredited by the World Santa Claus Congress in Greenland.
Chapters are divided according to the following: The Gyoza Pantry, Chopping Methods, Preparing Your Fillings, Seven Simple Wrapping Methods, Pan Frying Gyoza, “Flower Blossom” Pan Frying, and Other Cooking Techniques. The first few pages include photos of each of the 50 types of gyoza with page numbers for easy reference.
I have enjoyed making and eating gyoza most of my life and had such fun experimenting with the variety of dumplings in this book. Yamamoto begins with the basics of gyoza. You will find different chopping methods with an illustrated guide, how to prepare the fillings, a basic gyoza dipping sauce recipe with optional seasonings, directions on multiple ways to cook the gyoza, and a couple of pages with descriptions of pantry items such as garlic chives (nira), gyoza wrappers, ginger, and shaoxing rice wine. To help keep the focus on the fillings, store-bought wrappers are used in all of the recipes.
The photography is provided by Akiko Tsunoda. Every recipe has a photo of the filling resting on an open wrapper and another of the prepared dumpling. Step-by-step photos are included for seven types of wrapping methods: The Crescent, Santa’s Gift Bag, The Sailor Cap, The Volcano, The Seashell, The Penguin, and The Handstand with tips along the way. The titles are written in English. Measurements are listed in US Customary and Metric. Headnotes include basic information, tips, serving size, prep time, wrapping method, cooking method, and menu ideas.
This book is a great pick for those interested in making dumplings and gyoza at home. Once you get the folding methods down, some recipes come together in as little as 15 minutes. Many items will require a Japanese or Eastern Asian market such as kombu, land seaweed, ashitaba, konnyaku (shirataki noodles), squid ink, chikuwa, cherry blossoms, bamboo shoots, Naruto fish cake, adzuki beans, glutinous rice, katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), Japanese curry roux, quail eggs, surf clams, sweet bean paste, shisho leaves, freshwater eel, pork belly, and natto.
Wagyu Beef Dumplings
Thinly-sliced Wagyu Beef is the star in these Wagyu Beef Dumplings. Nothing else is required for the filling other than a small sprinkling of black pepper. After folding each dumpling into a crescent and pan-frying until golden, serve immediately with a drizzle of your barbecue sauce of choice (yakiniku, A1, or another favorite) and a few sprigs of fresh rosemary.
Wagyu beef (和牛) is beautifully marbled and known for its buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture. I was able to find it at my local Japanese market- Mitsuwa. This type of meat is especially popular for Shabu Shabu and Sukiyaki. If you are unable to locate Wagyu, substitute with well-marbled sirloin. Freeze for a few minutes before cutting with a sharp knife to help get those extra thin slices. About 5 ounces (150 grams) will be needed for 8 gyoza and the recipe can easily be doubled.
The popular crescent pattern is used to hold in the ingredients. The book actually has easy to follow illustrations. After wetting the edges with water, pinch one end shut and begin to create pleats along one side of the wrapper. Use your index finger to keep ingredients inside while you begin to fold. Make the folds as even as possible, handling the wrapper gently until all pleats are made. Be sure to seal these dumplings tightly. You don’t want any of the juices to escape before you have a chance to enjoy them.
I also made the Bell Pepper Dumplings with Egg, The “Colonel’s” Crispy Chicken Dumplings, Sweet Potato Dumplings, and Light-as-a-Feather Puff Dumpling.
The Bell Pepper Dumplings with Egg was a fun option for breakfast. Lightly scrambled eggs (be careful not to overcook) are combined with thinly sliced bell pepper, wrapped in the sailor cap fold, and pan fried until golden. For presentation, the dumplings rest on a bed of fennel fronds to make a nest-like appearance. Instead of bell pepper, you can substitute with zucchini, green beans, or your favorite greens.
The “Colonel’s” Crispy Chicken Dumplings is a great way to use up leftover chicken. Piece of fried chicken (larger pieces for a crunchier filling) are wrapped in the crescent method and deep fried at 365˚F (180˚C) until golden brown. Serve these dumplings simply with lemon wedges for garnish.
The Sweet Potato Dumplings are filled simply with peeled and mashed baked sweet potato. Each dumpling is wrapped in the crescent shape and broiled (this was a completely new way of preparing gyoza for me). These paired amazingly with soy sauce for dipping and you can add a little brown sugar to the sweet potatoes if they aren’t sweet enough.
The final recipe is for a Light-as-a-Feather Puff Dumpling. These actually don’t have a filling at all and are one of the more challenging to make. The empty gyoza wrapper is folded in the crescent shape and pan-fried until puffed and golden on the bottom. Since there is nothing inside, the sauce is that much more important. I especially loved the idea of serving them with chocolate syrup (or jam) and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
Wagyu Beef Dumplings Recipe
Excerpt from Gyoza
Wagyu Beef Dumplings
- 8 gyoza wrappers
- 5 ounces (150 grams) Wagyu beef
- Cracked black pepper to taste
- Vegetable oil for cooking
- 2 teaspoons boiling water
- Sauce of choice (yakiniku, barbecue sauce, or A1) for topping
- 4 sprigs rosemary for garnish
- Moisten the edges of the gyoza wrapper with water so the two sides will stick together. Place a couple small pieces of thinly sliced Wagyu beef in the center of the wrapper and top with a sprinkling of black pepper.
- To make the crescent shape: Pinch one end shut and begin to create pleats on one side of the wrapper. Use your index finger to keep ingredients inside while you begin to fold. Make the folds as even as possible, handling the wrapper gently until all pleats are made.
- Wrap these dumplings tightly. You don't want a single succulent bite to escape. Repeat with remaining wrappers and ingredients.
- Place a thin, nonstick pan over medium heat. To form the "blossom," cluster the gyoza tightly in the pan. Sprinkle with oil. Once you add oil to the dumplings, the sound will change.
- After the oil, add 2 teaspoons of boiling water. (Never use cold water, unless you want to create a delicate connective crust. To do this add cold water with 1/2 teaspoon of kyorikiko flour stirred in.) Cover the pan and let the gyoza steam, shaking the pan lightly so they cook evenly.
- To finish, remove the lid and add a drizzle of oil once again. Once they're cooked, transfer the gyoza to a warm plate and keep them uncovered so they don't get soggy. Serve as soon as possible with fresh rosemary sprigs and desired barbecue sauce.