Vegan Gyoza(ベジ餃子)

A healthy, vegan twist on a Japanese home-cooking classic. Crispy, chewy pan-fried dumplings filled with hearty, delicious veggies. Quick, cheap, tasty and can be made in big batches and frozen for meals throughout the week.  
 
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My mom made gyoza a lot (and still does) when my brothers and I were growing up, so gyoza has always been one of my favorite foods. While restaurants often serve gyoza as a side dish, typically with ramen in Japan, my family eats gyoza as the main dish. This means like, 10-15 gyoza per person on average. (I remember when I was 11 and ate 13 gyoza, I was so proud of myself.) My mom also always made extra to freeze or eat throughout the week. So this means she would make like 100 gyoza. Even with pre-made gyoza skins, just filling and crimping them can take hours. (I once made over 100 gyoza in college because my friend and I were craving them, and I finally had a break between midterms. I figured I could make them in the morning as a study break and then I wouldn’t have to worry about cooking later in the day. But somehow, I ended up spending all day in the kitchen, literally. I was filling and crimping gyoza for at least 5 hours.) So props to you, Mom, and thanks for all the effort you put into cooking. It’s probably how I started to take an interest in cooking, too.

But enough anecdotes, let’s get into the recipe! One thing I really love about gyoza/dumplings is that they’re so versatile and can be filled with basically anything. Traditionally they’re made with pork, but since we don’t eat meat here, I vegan-ized mine by filling them with a mix of Asian veggies and seasonings. The lotus root adds a nice crunch, but cabbage is also a great base for gyoza filling. I had some wonton wrappers to use up, which is why mine don’t look like gyoza. But I would prefer to use gyoza skins (check to make sure there’s no egg in it if you’re vegan).

Vegan Gyoza (ベジ餃子)

A healthy, vegan twist on a Japanese home-cooking classic. Crispy, chewy pan-fried dumplings filled with hearty, delicious veggies. Quick, cheap, tasty and can be made in big batches and frozen for meals throughout the week.  
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: vegan
Servings: 12 dumplings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup lotus root chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onion chopped
  • 4 mushrooms* chopped
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper optional for spice
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp mirin
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 12 wonton/gyoza skins or more/less as needed

Instructions

  • Heat a pan over medium heat and add lotus root. Cook for 2 minutes, adding a splash of water as needed to keep the lotus root from sticking to the pan. Add in the mushrooms, green onion, cayenne, soy sauce, and mirin. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the mushrooms cook down. Mix in sesame oil at the end.
  • Lay out the skins on a clean surface and place a dollop of filling in the center, making sure there is still room to fold up the skins. 
  • Lightly dip your index finger in water and wet the edges of the gyoza skins. This will help the skin stick together when you fold them up. Fold and crimp your gyoza skins so that no filling is falling out. Repeat until you use up all the filling. 
  • Lightly oil a pan and heat it over medium heat. Add gyoza to the pan, making sure they don't touch each other. Fry the bottom of the gyoza for 1-2 minutes until crispy, then add about 1/4 cup water to the pan and cover with a lid. Steam for 3 minutes or until most water evaporates. Uncover and let the rest of the water evaporate. Remove from pan and repeat process with remaining gyoza. Serve warm with soy sauce or ponzu and rice. 

Notes

*I used crimini mushrooms as that's what I had on hand, but I recommend shiitake mushrooms to give it a more Japanese flavor. 

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