Gyoza / Jiaozi / Pot-Stickers 101

Greetings!

This is an old post, one of my firsts; I recently edited it and added some new photos.

Enjoy!

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Gyozas are one of those things that everyone I know loves; who can say no to tiny thingies filled with yummy stuff, then fried, then steamed? Or just fried or just steamed?

Not me that’s for sure…

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I hesitated for some time with making Gyozas; it was too intimidating: making the dough, making the mix, folding, oh hell, FOLDING, frying (!), then steaming.

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But I like challenges. And I like those little dumplings… so I could not resist; challenge was accepted and started with a visit to my local Asian supermarket where I bought 4 levels bamboo steamer. Already intimidating right? The good news are that the bamboo steamer and the wok are nice to use and have but both are NOT really necessary, you can fry and steam the dumplings in a big pan as well. So, wipe the cold sweat and continue reading!

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Before starting, like a good historian, I had to read a bit about these addictive little dumplings. Like most of the things in our world they are coming from China, where they are called “Jiaozi” and are eaten mainly during New Year. Gyōza is the Japanese name for the same dumpling; the only major difference is that in Japan garlic dominants the Gyoza [which is fine with me, coming from Garlicstan]. Gyozas can be boiled, steamed or fried and can be filled with whatever you like – anarchy dumplings!

Since I love garlic in my dumplings I make Gyozas, but if you do not like garlic, omit it and call it Jiaozi 🙂

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Let’s start!

At first I made my own dough, it was very basic and easy to make (how basic? super basic: flour, water and oil) then I discovered the ready-made Gyoza leaves/skins at the Asian Supermarket; they are vegan, cheap, can be stored in the freezer for months and save a lot of time. The taste, in my opinion, is the same. For lazy last minute Gyozas, of course, buy the ready leaves! Just remember to defrost them at least 4 hours before.

Dough v.1:

  • For 25-30 Gyozas I use 300 gr of regular flour, 3 spoons of oil and warm water to “dough” it all

Dough v.2:

  • Defrost the package of the ready-made skins at least 4 hours before the planned meal

Filling Mix:
I find the mix to be personal; I tried a few mixes and the one that I liked the most was this one:

  • Carrots
  • Mushrooms
  • Cilantro
  • Ginger
  • White Miso (Shiromiso)
  • Garlic

All ground in my small food processor:

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  • You can put other vegetables, like pak choi or cabbage or onion
  • Garlic and ginger – not a lot, and make sure to thinly ground the ginger
  • For 30 Gyozas I usually use 2-3 medium carrots, 6-8 medium mushrooms, 1-2 garlic cloves, a small piece of ginger, a spoonful of miso and some cilantro
  • The mix should be drained in a screen at one point of the folding process – because we need to get rid of the liquid

And now we can start:

Dough v.1:

  •  Flatten the dough with a rolling pin on a floury surface – it should be rather thin
  • I always cut the dough into two pieces and work with one at a time
  • You will need to find something that would make the perfect size circle.  All my glasses proved too big or too small but then I found a storage container (!) that made the perfect size. See photo, it should not be bigger than the one I am holding, smaller size would be harder to fold

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  • A very good method of creating the skins:
baozi-wrapper

http://www.chinasichuanfood.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/baozi-wrapper.jpg

  • Lightly flour a tray that will host the ready Gyoza OR just put a baking paper on the tray
  • Make the skins; re-knead the leftover dough and make as many as possible
  • Prepare a bowl with cold water [that would help sealing the Gyozas]
  • And now come the folding… at first, folding was hard, I have browsed through photos and tried over and over… then this amazing video came up on YouTube…

3-5 attempts and my dumplings were perfect!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spsGbDWauf4&w=420&h=315]

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  • I use a teaspoon to fill the Gyoza
  • Please be patient – you just need some practice
  • The folding part of the Gyoza is time consuming, put your favorite music and enjoy the folding meditation…
  • After 15 – 20 minutes or so you should have a tray full with sweet looking dumplings

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Dough v.2:

Once the leaves are defrosted just follow the YouTube video from above (I told you it was much easier!)

Frying:

  • A bit of oil (I use canola)
  • Big pan
  • Medium heat
  • Fry 15 – 20 at a time till golden brown

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  • Place the fried ones on a plate with a paper towel

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Steaming:

  • Fried Gyozas are really delicious, like all fried things in the world, however, sometimes I feel guilty [and I am not a big fan of frying] and then I choose the “healthier” version of steaming
  • Before steaming, the gyozas should be lightly fried, just a few seconds from each side, to seal them a bit – I fry them all and only then continue with steaming

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Steaming with a wok and bamboo steamer:

  • Fill the wok with water all the way to the first level of the bamboo steamer
  • Put some lettuce or cabbage leaves inside the bamboo steamer (will prevent the sticking of the Gyozas to the steamer) – baking paper is also an option

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  • Depends on how many levels your bamboo steamer has, fill it with the Gyozas

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  • The Gyoza are better served hot and directly from the steamer, but when making a lot you have no choice but to do a few rounds or just use more levels
  • If you make them for more than 2 people then it makes sense to steam a lot at the same time. When making them for 1-2 then 2 rounds are better
  • Place fried Gyoza in the steamer, close with the lid and let steam for at least 10 minutes while the wok is on the highest heat temperature
  • Please open a window, if you do not have a stove ventilator it will get humid…

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Make sure:

  • That there is always enough water in the wok
  • That the water are NOT flooding the first level (but it’s not so bad if they do)

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Steaming in a pan: 

  • With this method you will have to do rounds of frying+steaming
  • After you lightly fried some gyozas on a medium heat, add a cup of water to the pan – make sure all gyozas are covered in water from all sides but not necessarily from on the top
  • Cover the pan and let steam till you can see that most water evaporated
  • This should take no more than 6-7 minutes – once the water boils, you can lower the heat a bit

Once the Gyozas are ready:

Serve with your choice of dipping and sauces:

  • Sweet & Sour
  • Sriracha
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Chili oil
  • Mustard
  • Plum sauce
  • Teryaki
  • Soy sauce
  • Peanuts sauce
  • Black & White sesame

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Bonus – Sweet Gyozas:

So, one day I was at my GYM, after work, swimming from one side of the pool to the other, contemplating about dinner. I knew I will make Gyozas but I was thinking about something new, and sweet ones looked like a good idea and like every good vegan I couldn’t escape the combination of peanut butter and banana…

And so I did. I filled the gyozas with a banana PB mix, fried them and then covered them with some maple syrup.

A delicious success!

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2 Comments

    • Hey! So good to “see” you here!
      And yes, it is one of those recipes one might think to be very difficult but it is not!
      Good luck and let me know how it worked out 🙂

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