I do not have a sweet tooth but I can say without a doubt ‘Umami’ is the flavour I live for. I know I have a hit dish in hand, when I am successful in extracting a pleasant savoury taste, from a set of given ingredients. Goes without saying ingredients with a high umami profile like Parmesan, mushrooms, soy sauce and stock are my favourite to cook with.
My never-ending quest for all things Umami laid foundation to my love for Japanese food. Japanese Cuisine is all about Umami. Even vegetarian options are loaded with umami flavours owing to the use of ingredients like miso, soy sauce and dashi.
Gyozas are dumplings filled with minced meat and vegetables, wrapped in delicate sheets of dough. They originally originated in China where they are called ‘Jiaozi’ but over the years have become immensely popular in Japan. You can make Gyoza wrappers at home from scratch but I prefer using store bought sheets as they are so much easier to work with. If you can’t find gyoza/dumpling wrappers, you can substitute with wonton wrappers or make them at home (scroll down for homemade gyoza wrapper recipe).
These Chicken Gyoza are first pan fried and then steamed till the filling is cooked, bottoms golden and crispy and wrappers translucent. You can devour these dumplings on their own or with my chili ginger soy dip for an extra explosion of Umami 😉
- Chicken 500g
- Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms 4-5; finely chopped
- Salt 1 tsp
- Chives 1/2 cup; finely chopped
- Garlic cloves 2; crushed
- Ginger 1 inch; grates
- Sesame Oil 1 tsp
- Soy Sauce 2 tsp
- Rice Vinegar 1tsp
- Cornflour 1 tbsp
- Gyoza Skins/Gyoza Wrappers/Dumpling Wrappers 35-40 (easily available at Asian stores)
- Oil 3tbsp; for frying
- Water as required; to seal the dumplings
- Water 1/3 cup; for steaming dumplings after frying
Chili Ginger Soy Dip
- Chicken Broth 1/2 cup
- Soy Sauce 1/4 cup
- Rice Vinegar 1/4 cup
- Chilli Oil 1 tsp
- Sesame Oil 1/2 tsp
Add all filling ingredients in a bowl and mix until well combined.
Place approximately 1 tsp of uncooked filling in the centre of a gyoza wrapper. Using the tip of your finger wet the edges of the wrapper. Fold it over from one side to for a semi-circle with the filling on the inside. Push the wrapper inwards with your left thumb and using your right index finger and thumb form 4-5 pleats. Press the edges to secure the pleats and seal the gyoza as shown in the video below. If you’re struggling with the pleats, don’t fret about it. You can simply fill wrappers and seal the edges into a simple half-moon shape as done in most restaurants. Assemble gyoza on a tray sprinkled with cornflour to prevent them from going soggy. At this stage you can proceed directly to cooking the gyoza or freezing for later use.
To cook the dumplings, heat oil in a skillet. Add as many dumplings as you can easily fit (pleated side up) on medium heat until bottoms are a nice golden color. Add around 1/3 cup of water into the skillet and cover with a lid. Make sure to use a skillet with a fitting lid to prevent steam from escaping.
Continue to cook for around 4 to five minutes until all the water has evaporated. (When you add water the crispy gyoza bottoms will get soggy, however the steam helps cook the filling and wrappers.) Once the water dries out the bottoms will crisp up again and the top of the gyoza will be soft and translucent. Transfer gyoza to a serving dish and serve warm with a soy dip.
For my chili ginger soy dip, combine all the ingredients listed above in a bowl and adjust seasoning to taste.
Homemade Gyoza Wrappers
- Flour 2 cups or 240 g; measure accurately using a measuring cup or weighing scales
- Salt 1/2 tsp
- Boiling Water 1/2 cup
- Cornflour as required; for dusting
Sift flour into a mixing bowl. Add salt to water that has been just boiled. Add the just-boiled water into the flour little by little, stirring with a rubber spatula. If some flour is still leftover, add 1/2 tbsp water at a time till you can form the flour into a ball. Transfer the dough on to a work surface and knead for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the texture of the dough will be much smoother. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and let it rest for 30 minutes. After the dough has rested, sprinkle a little cornflour onto your work surface and make 12-13 small balls from the dough. Using a rolling pin, roll out the ball into a thin circle. Cover the remaining balls with a damp kitchen towel to prevent drying. For a perfect round shape cut the circles with a round 8 cm cookie cutter. Sprinkle each wrapper with cornflour and stack the gyoza wrappers. Make sure the wrappers are covered with damp kitchen towel. Once all the dough is used, wrap the gyoza wrappers with plastic wrap and freeze (2 months) or refrigerate (3-4 days) until you’re ready to use. Defrost in the refrigerator before using.