A cheap and easy way to make one of Japan’s favorite inexpensive comfort foods.

<CRUNCH> <CRUNCH> Oh, sorry, about that. We were just stuffing our faces with potato chips. We’ve been doing a lot of that these days, seeing as how we recently bought an awesome kitchen gadget for making chips at home in our microwave.

But our gastronomic desires are endless, and no sooner had we satisfied one comfort food craving than our stomachs began growling again. “Yeah, all these chips are nice and all, but what have you done for us lately?” they seemed to be asking. “Like, when was the last time you fed us some gyoza?”

Gyoza, the deep-fried dumplings also known to some people as pot stickers, are a staple of delicious inexpensive dining in Japan, where they’re offered at ramen joints, izakaya pubs, and Chinese restaurants. Packed with garlic and meat, they’re bite-sized bursts of flavor and protein, and while you can buy pre-made varieties as takeout orders to eat at home, they really taste best right out of the pan/off the grill.

Unfortunately, gyoza are a pretty big pain to make. Dicing up the ingredients isn’t too hard, and you can buy gyoza skin wrappers at the supermarket. Stuffing the skins and sealing them, though, requires a firm but delicate touch, and if you don’t do it just right the wrapper will come unraveled during cooking and spill the filling.

Luckily, we’ve found a solution to this problem, and, in keeping with our usual sensibilities, it’s one of the cheapest we could find. This One-Touch Gyoza Pack cost us just 130 yen (US$1.23), but you can find even more affordable models at 100 yen stores like Daiso.

▼ “It can be made with one touch of handling” vaguely boasts the package’s English text, but we’re here to make gyoza, not learn a language.

Once out of the package we learned that the One-Touch Gyoza Pack is sort of like a castanet in design, so of course we had to play with it for a couple minutes before getting started on any actual cooking.

The exact ingredients and ratio for gyoza fillings vary from chef to chef, but diced pork, garlic, cabbage, and leeks are pretty much always on the list of guests admitted to the party.

Once we had those prepared, all we had to do was place an empty gyoza wrapper into the One-Touch Gyoza Pack, spoon in some filling mix, and snap it closed.

So how did it turn out?

Perfect! In just seconds, the tool created crisply pleated folds, securely closed but without any sort of tearing or warping of the skin.

To further gauge the One-Touch Gyoza Pack’s effectiveness, we tried folding a gyoza by hand, and the results were far less aesthetically pleasing.

▼ Hand-folded gyoza (left) vs. One-Touch Gyoza Pack (right)

No longer seeing any point to wasting time hand-folding, we went back to using the One-Touch Gyoza Pack and in just a few minutes had more than two dozen gyoza ready for pan-frying.

So yes, the One-Touch Gyoza Pack does its job extremely well. However, it’s important to remember exactly what that job is: folding the gyoza. The actual cooking is up to you, so we had no one to blame but ourselves when we didn’t pay close enough attention and singed ours.

But at least it’ll be easy for us to fold more gyoza and try again.

Gyoza grill image: Pakutaso
All other images ©SoraNews24
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