Vegetarian / Vegan Gyoza for a Change


Gyoza is one of my favourite dishes whenever I eat out at a Japanese restaurant, it's so, so good! But I don't always get to go out, and to be honest I'm quite lazy to go out - although eating means that I have to do some cooking.

During my last shopping trip I got tempted into buying some gyoza wrappers and I've been planning on trying it out one day (it must've been today because that's all I could think of all afternoon). As I have finished up the meat mixture from making the cabbage chicken rolls, I'd have to opt for alternative filling, perhaps a vegetarian gyoza.

Ingredients for the filling:
5 balls frozen spinach, defrosted
Half an onion, finely chopped
Half a small carrot, finely chopped
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 tablespoon breadcrumbs (to give a little texture and to soak up the moisture from the spinach)
Sprinkle of garlic salt
A little round pepper

Others:
A little rice flour for dusting
Some spring onion, cut into small pieces, for garnish

Prior to preparation, I'd read up about cooking gyoza, which is rather different from cooking Chinese dumplings. One of the methods involves both frying and steaming, which explains why they are always so crispy and soft at the same time.

After mixing the ingredients for the filling, here's one of the hardest part - IMHO - separating the gyoza wrappers from one another, without tearing it that is! Then I find that dusting my hands and fingers with a little rice flour helps a lot.

To prepare each gyoza, place the wrapper in the palm of one hand, scoop about 1 and a half teaspoon filling into the middle of the wrapper. Dab a little water all around the outer rim of the pastry (I dip the a teaspoon into a saucer of water and dab with the back of the teaspoon, that way I can keep my hands dry and not get the pastry sticky), close the wrapper up to form a half moon shape and carefully seal the sides together, pushing as much air out from the inside.

Once sealed, fold and pleat the rim to secure it. A few broken wrappers and retries later, I've got 10 kinda-passable gyoza ready for cooking:


Heat a pan with some oil in, and place the gyoza in the pan to shallow fry them. I tried to do this quite quickly so that the cooking of the bottom is less uneven.

After a few minutes of frying on medium heat, pour some water into the pan (I poured in about half the depth of the gyoza) then put the lid on and simmer on low heat for a few more minutes.


Then remove the lid and let it simmer further to cook off any excessive liquid before turning the heat off. At this point I had to add in a little more oil around the side of the gyoza as I noticed that some started to get slightly sticky to the pan. But no disaster anyway.

Just when I started frying the gyoza, I realised that I actually do not have a frying pan with a properly fit lid so I had to settle for slightly larger lid. I believe that this has resulted in the top bit (the pleated part) not being properly steamed through for some. mental note to self: get a proper size lid!

Taste wise, they are absolutely fine, although the presentation and the wrapping skill require more practising. I can definitely live with this meatless gyoza!

So tonight's dinner: vegetarian gyoza served with boiled rice, homemade kimchi and coleslaw on the side.

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