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Gyoza - Japanese dumplings for every taste

Gyoza - Japanese dumplings for every taste | ORYOKI

Everyone loves Gyoza: Whether filled with meat or vegetarian, warm or cold, as a side dish or main course – filled dumplings taste good to almost everyone. If you haven't tried them yet – convince yourself!


Recipes in this blog post:

» Gyoza recipe: homemade, filled dumplings

What are gyoza?

In Chinese, they are called Jiaozi, in Korean Mandu, or in Japanese, they are known as Gyoza: Filled dumplings are found in many cultures. Not only in Asia do these nutritious and delicious recipes stand out, but we also have them in various forms. Asian stores and supermarkets now offer Japanese and Chinese "Dumplings" that are worth a try. What makes them so popular?

While in our culture dumplings are usually boiled or pan-fried, in Japan they are also briefly steamed afterward. You'll also find purely steamed, boiled, and fried Gyoza, mostly in Chinese restaurants. Then there's the filling: minced meat with vegetables and spices, accompanied by a tasty sauce.

Japanese and Chinese dumplings are not so different after all: Both are prepared similarly, generously filled, and taste excellent. However, there are still subtle differences. Japanese Gyoza often contain more garlic, sometimes even ginger. They also have significantly thinner dough, making them even crispier. Usually, they are also a bit smaller than Chinese dumplings.

A brief history of Japanese dumplings

Another difference lies in the filling of the dumplings: In Japan, pork minced meat is very common, while Chinese dumplings can be filled with almost any type of meat or even fish. The affordable meat reflects the origin of Gyoza. Almost 2000 years ago, the Jiaozi variant was reportedly invented in legend to help freezing Chinese people through the winter. Because their ears often froze in the cold, its inventor, the physician Zhang Zhongjing – incidentally, also the discoverer of Chinese herbal medicine – gave the filled dumplings the shape of an ear.

When Japan occupied a part of China during World War II, soldiers there got to know and love Jiaozi. They brought dumplings, including Gyoza, along with other dishes to Japan, quickly popularizing them. During the post-war reconstruction, they became popular as a nutritious meal for busy workers.

Although Gyoza hasn't been around for as long, they have a firm place in Japanese cuisine. Especially if you find yourself in the Tochigi Prefecture, such as Nikko, be sure to try Gyoza as a well-known specialty of this region.

How Japan eats its gyoza

In Japan, Gyoza dumplings are preferably enjoyed as an appetizer with Ramen or as a snack in an Izakaya, the traditional Japanese pub. They are typically served in portions of about four to six pieces. A delicious dip made of soy sauce and rice vinegar complements this dish. Unlike sushi, nutritionally filled dumplings in Japan are not considered a delicacy but are a part of everyday life. They also make a satisfying snack in a Bento. Natural ingredients in the recipe are a given, and the vegetables provide some healthy vitamins. During hot weather, Gyoza can be enjoyed cold: simply prepare and let them cool. Additionally, they freeze well and can be stored for later.

Fried gyoza dumplings

Here in this country, they are sold in the frozen section of Asian stores or served in small portions in restaurants. However, unlike Japan, these variations, whether filled with meat or vegetables, are usually quite expensive here – and you may not know the ingredients and their origin. Our tip: Cook them yourself!

Homemade filled dumplings: Gyoza recipe

No. of persons4 personsNo. of persons
Preparation timeca. 60 min Preparation time
Total Timeca. 60m minTotal Time
Level of difficultyeasyLevel of difficulty
Dishmain mealDish
Caloriesca. 400kcal per portionCalories
Gyoza served on a platter with spring onions and soy sauce

Picture credits: Author: verygreen | Flickr | License

List of ingredients
30 Pastry sheets
200g Minced meat
1 egg
1/4 Cabbage
2 Spring onions or one onion
2 Carrots
1 Garlic clove
2 tsp ginger
2 tbsp soy sauce
1-2 tbsp sake
1 tbsp sesame or other vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
Kochende Miss Oryoki
Step 1

Finely chop the vegetables and grate the ginger. If you want to soften the cabbage a little, you can put it in the microwave briefly or add a little salt and squeeze out the water.

Step 2

Then mix the vegetables with the minced meat and egg in a large bowl. Japanese soy sauce, sake and mirin give the ingredients in the recipe an authentic flavor. Season the filling to taste with salt and pepper. Knead it carefully with your hands so that it holds together well.

Step 3

Once the filling is ready, the dough for Japanese dumplings can be filled. Be careful not to use too much filling - about one teaspoon per dumpling.

Step 4

Now comes the most difficult part of many recipes: Shaping the Japanese dumplings. Moisten the edges of the dough circles with your fingers before folding them into small crescents in the middle and sealing them tightly. It is best to make a few "waves" so that the gyoza do not rise so easily: To do this, first fold the dumpling closed and press it together slightly in the middle. With your thumb and forefinger, take the top right-hand edge of the gyoza and make a small fold towards the center. With your left hand, press it firmly against the back. Then make the next fold on the left edge of your first wave. In this way, you first make three to four waves on the right side and as many again on the left side. Folding Japanese dumplings is a matter of practice, if not an art - so they definitely don't have to look perfect!

Step 5

Heat the sesame oil in a pan and fry the gyoza in it for about three minutes until the underside is golden brown. Then add about 40 ml of water and cover the pan with a lid. Cook the gyoza for a further three minutes or until most of the water has evaporated. Remove the lid and fry the filled dumplings a little longer so that they are nice and crispy on the bottom. Your own gyoza are ready.

Step 6

Finally, all that's missing is the sauce for dipping. There are ready-made versions or you can simply make it from 2 tbsp soy sauce and 2 tbsp rice vinegar, plus a little chili and sesame oil to taste. Now you can serve the gyoza and enjoy - delicious!

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