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  • Writer's pictureEmily Yeo

Sesame Tofu Gyoza

Updated: May 1, 2018

It’s the weekend at last and if you enjoy cooking, a family vegan potsticker making session is a great way to spend your Saturday, especially when the weather does not entice you outside…

Have you been watching my daily stories in my Instagram of my dumpling feast? I love dumplings especially the making process, but I do get a tad discouraged 😩 seeing how quickly they disappear down the bro’s mouth (he is a prolific dumpling eater). I guess it’s a compliment and I should treat it as such, but they do take a lot of time and effort to make and to see them all hoovered up in less than 15 minutes makes feel that maybe I should have made something quicker to put together. When we make dumplings, I try to rope the bro in for the pleating part as it’s more fun doing it together! We can chat, have some fun while we make them and have a good laugh as each subsequent dumpling looks wonkier…and wonkier. as long as they taste great that’s all that counts, right?

The history of potstickers, though slightly muddled, dates back to the Song dynasty (960 – 1280 A.D.) in China. Evidently, a chef in the Imperial court was steaming regular dumplings in a wok and left it in for too long – the water evaporated and the bottoms burnt slightly. With no time to make another batch, he served them as they were, calling it a new creation. Lucky for him, the court loved it and it’s been served all over Eastern Asia since. In Japan, these are called Gyoza and although they vary slightly, essentially, they’re the same pan-fried dumplings accidentally created in China.

These authentic meatless gyoza aka 餃子 are so full of flavour that they can be enjoyed by vegans, vegetarians, and carnivores alike. Gyoza is the Japanese version of the Chinese dumpling Jiaozi aka 饺子. Better known as “potstickers” in the US, they’re delightful little dumplings made with garlicky meat and vegetables, wrapped in a thin noodle-like wrapper with pleated edges.

I know a lot of people are intimidated by the thought of folding these dumplings, but it’s not hard, and after you’ve done a few dozen, you’ll get pretty fast. In case you’re wondering if you can skip the pleating and just fold them in half, the pleats actually serve a purpose beyond their decorative value. When you cook the gyoza, they need to sit in the pan with the folded edge facing up. If you merely fold the dumpling in half, they won’t have a flat side. By pleating the seam, you create a convex side and concave side, with a crescent shaped flat surface on the bottom. This allows the gyoza to sit neatly in the pan without falling over.

Steaming the gyoza results in an al dente noodle-like wrapper, while deep-frying creates a crisp wrapper. But why settle for one when you can have both by steaming AND frying. The process is simple, just start off frying them until they take on a bit of color, add some water and steam then till the top is done, then let the remaining water evaporate until the bottoms crisp up golden brown. With a crisp base and tender top, you get the best of both worlds in every bite.

Shaping the dough takes practice, I’ve been told and now I know that I need a lot of it! So if they don’t look perfect like they’re supposed to, fret not my friend! They still taste great! Theoretically speaking though, this is how you shape them:

1) You start off with dough that’s been rested. Roll it into a thin log about 10″ long and divide it equally into 8 pieces. Take one and cover the rest with a damp cloth as you work to prevent them from drying out. Roll out into a disk.

2) Fill and fold in half and start sealing from one end, crimping and pressing as you go. Pinch the edges to seal them. Place on a baking tray lined with wax paper/cling film, and then dusted with flour. These suckers can get quite sticky, and you don’t want them sticking to the pan or to each other.

3) Repeat until you are done with the remaining 7 pieces.

Serve hot with a side of vinegar (as the Chinese do), vinegar+soy+sesame oil + chilli oil (as the Japanese do) or with any other dipping sauce you may fancy!

You can use store bought wrappers or make my homemade vegan wrappers


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