I am no stranger to homemade potstickers. They are one of Craig and my favorite snacks. Usually they have meat in them. These didn’t. I didn’t have any homemade sausage, and to be completely honest, I didn’t want to monkey with meat. So I started throwing things together, and these ended up pretty delicious! All amounts are loose. I wasn’t even referencing a recipe, so I added things as needed, and was not in a frame of mind to take meticulous (or any) notes. This was my post-Christmas-craziness emotional therapy meal. I needed it. After 30 hours in a very warm house with 13 extended family members and 7 dogs, and all of the stress that comes along with trying to stick to any kind of timeline; all I wanted to do was binge-watch Netflix and meditate over the task of getting the flavors right and mindless assembly of dozens of little dumplings. So I did. And it was wonderful.
*Start with your tofu. Open the package, drain, wrap in paper (or super clean lint-free) towels and set on a flat surface (I like to use my cutting board). Set something else that’s flat on top (I use another cutting board) and set something heavy on top. This squeezes extraneous moisture out of the tofu, making the texture firmer and helping it crisp faster. I usually let it sit for 30-40 minutes. When you are sick of waiting, remove your contraption and towel, and cut into 1/4″ or thinner slices. Pan fry in neutral cooking oil in a nonstick pan(I usually opt for medium heat, though I trust you to know what works for your stove at home) until they’ve gotten golden and crispy on one side, flip, repeat. Remove to a cutting board and cut them into little cubes.
*Peel and cube your carrots. Try to either match or dice smaller than the tofu pieces. Gently saute over medium low heat until the carrot softens up.
*Slice your cabbage and then chop into small pieces. Once carrots have softened, add to carrots and stir/flip to incorporate. Splash a few tablespoons of rice wine in there to create a little steam.
*Grate about 2 tablespoons of ginger and garlic, mix with a couple tablespoons of tamari, and a splash of rice vinegar.
*Finely mince everything but the very ends of 3-4 scallions, set aside.
*Once your carrots and cabbage are wilted and not liquidy, add into bowl with crispy tofu cubes.
*Wash and chop your mushrooms into pieces equal to or smaller than the tofu. To do this, I sliced the mushrooms, made a pile, and then ran my knife through the pile, coarsely chopping. Add your mushrooms into a hot pan and begin to saute. Once the mushrooms have begun browning (remember, every bit of browning is flavor, and it is supremely difficult to actually burn just mushrooms and oil, so really give it some time), turn the heat to med-low and toss in a couple of tablespoons of miso paste. Also add a few tablespoons of rice wine or rice wine vinegar (I trust you). The miso paste is pretty much the only thing that acts as a binder for all of the ingredients, whereas in a meat-based filling, the meat acts as a binder. Once it’s all wrapped up, it’s no biggie, but it’s kind of a pita to seal without something holding it all together.
*Mix everything up in a bowl(drizzle in a tablespoon or so of sesame oil at this point too), then get set up to wrap. I like using a spray bottle to moisten the wrappers, but a little bowl with water and your finger works too (it’s just infinitely more time consuming).
*My method is to lay out a grid of 16 wrappers, place a scoop (I think my scoop is 3/4oz) of filling in the center of each wrapper, mist everything, and then get to sealing. I don’t have photos of the process, but here’s a link with some good instructions. Occasionally, partway through, I’ll need to re-mist the wrappers. No biggie. I set all of them aside on a sheet tray. Once it was filled, I put it in the freezer for 2 hours, then transferred them to a resealable gallon sized freezer bag.
*Doesn’t matter if it’s from frozen or from fresh, instructions are the same. Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat with a little neutral cooking oil. Place your gyoza, flat side down, and pour 1/4 cup water (about) into the pan. Cover with a lid, or, if your pan doesn’t have a lid, some foil.
*Allow gyoza to steam for 3-5 minutes. When the wrappers have taken on the translucent look of cooked wrappers, remove the “lid” and allow the remainder of the steam to escape. Continue cooking another few minutes until the bottom has browned. At this point, they’re ready to eat, but I like turning them and getting a bit more crispiness, so I do 2 sides. When cooked, remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain/cool a little before eating.
*To make sauce, combine equal (about) parts tamari and rice vinegar. If you like sesame oil, add a bit of that as well. If you like spicy, add some gochujang or sriracha. I personally think these are better without it, even though I put hot sauce on everything.