Makes enough filling for 100 dumplings with 10g of dumpling dough Growing up, gyoza was always one of my favourite dishes. While not the typical gyoza, one of my absolute favourite spots was “Taizan Sheng Jian Ten” in Jiyugaoka, which served amazing panfried soup dumplings. When we moved back to the States, my mom would make huge hanetsuki gyoza with the crispiest wings, which also happened to be my favourite part. Occasionally when we’d go back to Japan, we’d also often stop by 551 Horai to pick up some gyoza there.
Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I had a proper meat gyoza. While the pork dumplings from the Chinese restaurants I’d eat were good, the flavours weren’t the same. Following my family and I going vegan, my mom would make veggie gyoza with store-bought wrappers, which, while delicious and still had an amazing crispy “hane羽” or “wings” something was still missing.
For the past year, I’ve been watching, researching and preparing a recipe that could be my ultimate vegan gyoza. One thing I didn’t really like about all the “vegan” recipes for dumplings is how dry and un-patty-like the fillings were. To me, the inside of a gyoza should be one cohesive meat patty. All vegan “pork” or “beef” dumplings are used beyond burgers or omnipork, which is not only expensive, but I prefer not to use meat substitutes. I tried finding a recipe for a fully seitan-based dumpling, but the results were meek, and I worried about the seitan not cooking all the way and being a chewy piece of gum wrapped in a wrapper.
The easiest/hardest part was the wrapper. One thing with my mom’s handmade veggie gyoza that I didn’t like was how doughy and chewy the wrappers were; sorry, Mom. This is likely due to the dryness of the wrappers, so I decided to follow the recipe created byChinese Cooking Demystified, and for my first time making wrapper dough from scratch, then subsequently rolling and wrapping the dumplings, I think I did a pretty bang-up job. I made sure to buy a Chinese all-purpose flour with around 12g of protein in it, which I definitely think contributed to the texture and outcome of the dumpling. Chinese Cooking Demystified recommends using ‘00’ flour if unable to find Chinese all-purpose flour.
As for the filling, for the “meat” portion, I decided on a mix of tofu, tvp and vital wheat gluten to mimic the texture of a chicken nugget patty. I chose Napa cabbage instead of regular cabbage because of its bite and texture once cooked and also because of an Eater of a gyoza master using Napa cabbage. I decided to use common onion instead of green, not only because it’s cheaper and more accessible, but because it’s what 551 Horai uses and what all 551 Horai recipes solely use. The carrots were added for texture and colour, and I winged the seasonings based on a few online recipes, and it turned out perfect.
The excitement after biting into the first gyoza I made will last with me forever. Not only was the skin of the dumpling super thin, but it was cooked to perfection with a delicate al dente bite with just the right amount of chew. I wasn’t expecting my mouth to be burnt from the explosion of juice inside the dumpling, either. I had frozen the dumplings after wrapping them, as I knew I couldn’t finish them all right away, It was a technique used in a dumpling video I watched where they said it helped with the texture or something. I think the freezing expelled some of the moisture from the tofu, which, when the dumpling was cooked, mimicked “meat juices”. I was taking pictures like this dumpling was a Kardashian family member and eagerly texting my mom how I had made the best vegan dumplings I’ve ever had. I’ve had a few, and I can confidently say these are the best vegan dumplings I’ve had in my life.
For the seasonings, I didn’t measure, but I’m hoping that I can accurately gauge and translate my eyeballed measurements into standard measurements.
I followed the recipe for the dumpling dough using 300g flour, then froze my remaining gyoza filling, which was a lot.