A thousand cranes are said to bring good luck, grant a wish and/or otherwise give good ju-ju. For our wedding we folded 1,000 red, orange and yellow cranes. When I say we, I mean mostly me, my mom and my aunties. On my lunch breaks at work, I sat in the breakroom, folding, folding, folding. After hundreds, you start to get pretty good at folding. But it takes hundreds. That said, you don’t have to be an origami master to make some nice gyoza.
Most recipes I’ve seen for potstickers, or egg rolls for that matter, simply allow you to use green onion and leave it at that. This recipe, from Japanese Soul Cooking calls for nira, green garlic chives. Yes, you’ll need to hit up an Asian market, but it’s worth it. Mostly a flat, grassy leaf, you chop off the bottom couple inches of the stalk and use the leaves. The other ingredient in the recipe you might not recognize is katakuriko, or potato starch. You can pick that up at your Asian market as well, or, like me, just use Bob’s Red Mill’s potato starch.
Making the filling is simply a matter of mincing a few ingredients and mixing them with the pork and a little soy sauce and potato starch, so let’s get down to the folding, since that may be the thing holding you back from trying dumplings at home. Japanese Soul Cooking includes a photo tutorial, but if you’ve never done this, a quick and dirty video might help. (Emphasis on quick and dirty).
A few folding tips:
1.The recipe in the book suggests each wrapper be filled with about 1 tablespoon of filling, but for the wrappers I had, it was more like 1.5 teaspoons.
2. When flat, you want to make sure you have an ample ring of wrapper around the filling so that it doesn’t goosh out the sides when you go to fold it.
3. If you’re folding solo, keep the pan of folded gyoza covered with a towel to keep the edges from drying out. Alternatively, get some friends to help you out!
I could eat 1,000 of these, but if you aren’t going to cook off the whole batch immediately, freeze them. Stick the sheet pan into the freezer and let them freeze individually before putting them into a ziptop bag. You can totally do this.