Updated: Feb 3, 2022
I am sure I am not alone in being very, very partial to Gyoza. (AKA Chinese dumplings, AKA Potstickers.) I probably eat gyoza at least once a fortnight and if I am in the mood to be nice and offer my family a choice of evening meal, gyoza are usually somewhere near the top of the list when the hands go up. If you've read any of my restaurant reviews, you'll also know that I regard gyoza as one of my "acid tests" for restaurant quality. I have to admit that I find the quality of restaurant gyoza to vary wildly from the very good (thank you, Kanada-ya) to the downright awful (yes, Tonkotsu, you know who I'm talking about!)
What's more, gyoza are very easy to make yourself. They might look difficult what with them being nice little pleated parcels but the technique is easy to master. (I do advise you to take a look at the video to get a close up on how to do this.) You might be thinking that producing 50+ of these little parcels seems a bit tedious but I find it quite therapeutic and there's no getting away from the fact that there is a certain pride in filling a couple of plates with these beauties all by your own hand.
I tend to avoid ordering vegetable gyoza in restaurants at all because I've learned from experience that most restaurant offerings are pretty soggy, tasteless little things. So I set my mind to producing a recipe that would lift the vegetable gyoza from the humdrum to something of a stand out. Most vegetable gyoza recipes use a mixture of Chinese cabbage, spring onions and garlic. My recipe makes the filling a little more adventurous and much more nutricious by adding baby spinach and tofu to the mix. Everything you need is widely available although you might have to order your gyoza wrappers online unless you have a Chinese or Asian store near you. They usual come shrinked wrapped in batches of 50.
One of the benefits of vegetable gyoza over their meat filled cousins is that the vegetables don't really need much heat at all to cook, compared to a raw meat filling. So, once your gyoza are in the pan, you can concentrate on getting the perfect pan fried colouring and crunchy texture on the gyoza wrapper. You can cook your vegetable gyoza in one of two ways: either you can fry on one side until you've got a nicely browned wrapped and then steam them by adding water to the pan and putting a lid on, or: you can simply fry on one side, then add a little more oil and fry the gyoza on a second side. Because the water content of the tofu can make these gyoza go a little soft, I tend to favour the second approach, frying only with no steaming, but steaming produces a perfectly good gyoza too, so the choice really is down to you!
Once your gyoza are ready, you only need to mix some soy sauce, vinegar and chilli oil as a dipping sauce and you're ready to wow your family and friends with your very own vegetable gyoza!
If you like the idea of trying your hand at this recipe, you can find the written recipe just below. Access the Youtube tutorial here Vegetale Gyoza or just scroll to the bottom of the page.
Happy wrapping! Kurumi XXXX.
(makes approx 50 gyoza)
2 cloves garlic
2 cm / 1/2 inchpiece of ginger, thinly sliced
50g chinese cabbage
3 spring onions
60g baby spinach
300g firm tofu
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
a little pepper
1 tbsp plain flour
1 pack frozen gyoza wrapper (50 wrappers per pack), defrosted
some plain flour for dusting the plates on which you will put your gyoza before frying/steaming
2-3 tbsps sunflower oil for frying
a small bowl or small cup of water (about 30-40ml) to moisten the edges of the gyoza wrappers when you make them
for the dipping sauce (for 4 people):
4 tbsps soy sauce
4 tbsps brown vinegar
some Chinese chilli oil
slice and mince the garlic and ginger. finely chop chinese cabbage, spring onions & baby spinach
put the tofu in a bowl and mash with a fork. add the garlic & ginger, chinese leaves, spring onions, baby spinach, salt, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, pepper & plain flour and mix well
dust a couple of large plates with the plain flour
take your first wrapper, put 1 tsp of the filling into the centre. dip your index finger into the water and moisten the edge of the wrapper. fold over the top of the wrapper and seal, using your thumbs and index fingers to make 5 small pleats. (watch the video to get an idea of how this is done.) place your first finished gyoza on one of the floured plates
now, repeat until you've used up your filling
once you've wrapped all your gyoza, you have a choice of how to cook them:
either - heat 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan. place the gyoza in the pan and cook with a lid on until the bottom of the gyoza becomes lightly browned. then, add 30-40 ml of water to steam (lid on) until the water has all but evaporated. this method will give you a softer gyoza.
(if you think the gyoza aren’t cooked enough at this point, just add a little more water to the pan and steam for a minute or so more.)
or - heat 2 tbsp of oil in a frying pan. place the gyoza in the pan and cook with a lid on until the bottom of the gyoza become lightly browned. then, turn the gyoza over and add a little more oil. cook the other side of gyoza become they also become lightly browned. this method will give you gyoza with crispy wrappers. (it's my favorite way to cook them.)
your gyoza are now ready. for the dipping sauce, mix the soy sauce and vinegar and divide in 4 small dishes. add some chilli oil according to each diner's personal preference