Sunday, August 30, 2009

August 29-30, 2009: Just-as-good gyoza

Those ravioli left me with extra gow gee wrappers, and I felt a little uncomfortable with them lurking 'round the house. I love dumplings (love! dumplings!) but they're the kind of fiddly thing I'm not so good at making. I tried once, a couple of years ago, and they turned out a little weird. Ultimately, this week, the dumpling love and wastage hate won out and I gave Lucy's gorgeous gyoza recipe another shot. Michael pitched in with some stellar chopping, creating the delicately textured filling that I didn't quite manage last time.

And the folding? I mimicked Lucy's simple and pretty half-moon shapes with half the wrappers. Then I watched this youtube clip, took a deep breath, and tried pleating the rest. I fumbled through a couple, but was soon pleating quite quickly (if crookedly). I tried to hold off too much pride in my handiwork until they came out of their steaming phase - I remembered that this was when all went awry last time. This batch held their shape a lot better and a fine Saturday dinner in was had by all (we ate them with bok choy in 'oyster' sauce).

The dipping sauce is worth a mention too. The lime, tamari and sesame seeds were always going to be good, echoing the lime leaves, tamari and sesame oil in the filling, but this time we had a substitute for the optional fish sauce. Vincent Vegetarian Food in Footscray sell a brilliant chilli "fish" sauce! It's a pleasant-tasting (though less pungent) alternative that you might even be able to make yourself - the ingredients are water, soya beans, sugar, chilli, salt, vinegar and a couple of weird 3-digit codes (I suspect one of them's MSG).

If you're game for grappling with gyoza, I can highly recommend Lucy's recipe - next time (and I won't leave it so long next time!) I'll try make an extra batch to pop in the freezer.

Just-as-good gyoza
(Lucy's kaffir lime leaf gyoza, doubled in quantity to double the gobbling)

4 kaffir lime leaves, spines removed and leaves finely sliced
2 small red chillis, seeds removed and finely chopped
4cm chunk ginger, peeled and grated
4 spring onions, chopped
2 tablespoons tamari
2 teaspoons sesame oil
150g Swiss brown mushrooms, finely diced
150g tofu, finely diced
24 gow gee wrappers
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup water

dipping sauce
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons vegetarian fish sauce (optional)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

In a food processor, whiz together the lime leaves, chilli, ginger and spring onions. (It's worth finely dicing them in spite of this step 'cause those lime leaves are otherwise tough to chew on.) Add the tamari and sesame oil and pulse until just combined. Add the mushrooms and tofu and pulse briefly again. (I prefer to retain a little texture in the mixture - I think Lucy's is probably smoother still.)

Fill the wonton wrappers with teaspoons of filling, using a finger dabbed in water to seal them. Do this step however you like or know, using simple half-moons or fancy (but not too dificult!) pleats.

Heat the olive oil in a frypan and spread out the gyoza in a single layer (you may need two frypans or two batches to cook this quantity of gyoza). Fry the gyoza for a couple of minutes, until they're golden and crispy underneath. Pour the water into the frypan but stand back and be careful! The oil will spit. Cover the frypan(s) and steam the gyoza on low heat for 3 minutes. Remove the lid and allow any excess water to cook away.

Stir together the dipping sauce ingredients in a bowl, and serve it alongside the freshly cooked gyoza.


  1. Hey, hey! Excellent pleating. I am MIGHTILY impressed and very, very pleased you made them again. Do you know, I thought I dreamed that I made these...thank you for reminding me that I actually did make them!

    I learned to pleat empanadas from an ex-boyfriend's Argentinian mum but have always found little things, like these, harder. Gonna bookmark that you-tube link and play around over the weekend. Thank you!

  2. They look soooo good, Cindy. I've been wanting to attempt dumplings/gyoza at home and now I think I might do it!

  3. they look great - I made these and loved them but somehow the frying just one side and steaming beat me so I fried both sides - don't know why - but I need to try again and would love to try the pleating

  4. Oh I LOVE dumplings! what a stellar effort. The pleating actually looks pro! I want dumplings now!

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  6. Thanks Lucy! Thankfully this recipe is more than just a dream, and well worth repeating. :-)

    Mandee, you should definitely have a go - if I can manage it, then almost anyone should be able to!

    Johanna - I found the steaming the risky bit in the sense that any air bubbles expand and stretch the dumplings before deflating again at the end. These thicker gow gee wrappers seemed to help a bit.

    Hey thank, Maria! I think I could still do with a bit more practice, but I was surprised how quickly I got the hang of the pleating.

  7. Instead of the "fish sauce", you can use dark soy sauce.

    I wrote about the dipping sauce we use at home here:

    I still remember as a kid we used to use this plastic mold to create the "pleats". You'd put the pastry on the mold, put the dumpling mixture in the middle then fold the mold in half and you get "perfect" looking dumplings :)

  8. Thanks for the tips, Will - I'd like to try your lemon and honey dipping sauce next time.

    I think I used to have a set of molds like that! They came in three different sizes, but I think they were intended more for pasties or European-style pastries.