Willie and I recently took a a trip to Tokyo, Japan; it was so much fun and I have been meaning to write a very detailed blog post about it, but haven’t had the time so I’ll give you a semi short version today. During the trip one of the things I fell in love with was the food; everything I ate in Tokyo I LOVED. On one of our day trips to Harajuku (a subsection of Tokyo) we found a little restaurant that sold veggie dumplings. Finding vegetarian meals can be a bit of a challenge in Japan but they DO exist! The vegetarian meals that I ate in Tokyo inspired me to come home and start playing with a ton of Asian inspired recipes like these Vegan Gyoza.
In Japan gyoza are VERY popular, almost every restaurant has them as an appetizer. They are typically filled with pork, or sometimes a mixture of pork and shrimp. When we found a shop that sold vegetable gyoza I was pleasantly surprised. Although those were filled with edamame and some other ingredients, the flavor inspired me come home and create my own for you guys.
Japan was a place unlike any other I have ever been in my life, modern but they still hold on tightly to their cultural identity. We spent two weeks in 3 very different areas exploring all of Tokyo. Upon arriving we stayed in a 300 year old traditional Dojo that was located near the Chiba Prefecture. (about 2-1/2 hours by train to the city)
This was a very interesting stay because we had to walk to the train station every morning through a short cut in the woods. (and when I say woods I mean like BLAIR WITCH WOODS, honey.) Although this was a beautiful sight filled walk during the day, we once missed a train and arrived back later than expected and the sun had already gone down. With only one iPhone flash light on hand we had to trek our way home in the very dark woods. Long story short, we never made the mistake of coming back too late for the rest of our time there.
For the rest of our trip we stayed in the city and spent everyday traveling by train to different areas of Tokyo like Asakusa, Harajuku, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Chiba, Ginza, etc. Each subsection had it’s own identity and thing that it specialized in. For example; Harajuku is the place for all things fashion, Akihabara has any electronic item you want or need plus a plethora of video game casinos. (I’m not kidding, there are buildings 4-5 stories high filled entirely with video games. It’s like Dave and Busters on steroids, and you are sure to find people young and old in there playing.) While Asakusa is filled with temples, shrines, you can go see inside the walls of the Imperial Palace. (I’ll include a few photos of our trip below.)
I hope you guys enjoyed the little peak into my life. Eventually I will have enough time to sit down and write a very lengthy blog about what to do in Tokyo, where to visit and some great vegetarian friendly spots that we stumbled upon.
While I was traveling I recieved many messages asking how I was surviving in Japan as a vegetarian, because I will be honest, a lot of the food is meat based. But they do have a wide variety of fruits and veggies. Usually in every department store there is a food market at the basement level that carries things like cut up fruit, veggies, breads and other baked goods, and cheeses. Sometimes you will be lucky enough to find a ramen shop that also offers vegan or vegetarian ramen so don’t be afraid to pop your head in and ask or ask one of the employees standing outside.
Also because a lot of people don’t speak English, make sure to download Google Translate. The people there are always more than happy to help you if you ask politely. Like I said earlier, I will eventually go more in depth about our trip, but until then, enjoy my little preview.
With ALL that being said, lets get started on our Vegan Gyoza!
First we thinly chop the cabbage, sprinkle liberally with salt, and massage the cabbage.
Once you’ve massaged the cabbage, set it it to the side until all of the water is released from the cabbage. When all the water is released from the cabbage, rinse the salt off and dry it to your best ability. I used a salad spinner for this step and it worked GREAT!
After the cabbage is done we are ready to create our vegetable filling.
Start by sauteing the carrots, onions, and mushrooms with a small pinch of salt. (the salt will help to draw out the moisture) Once the onions are translucent add in your garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes before adding in your cabbage.
Add in the cabbage and seasonings. Remove from the heat to cool before filling your dumplings.
Now to fold our Gyoza, add one heaping tsp of filling to the wrapper.
Brush one edge with a tad bit of water.
Fold the bottom half over and pinch the ends together.
Continue to pull over and fold pressing the folds onto the back seam that is wet.
When you get to the end pinch to seal the ends.
This is what the Gyoza will look like when they are all folded up. (They look like cute little ears.) To cook the dumplings add them to a pan with a little oil and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown.
Just like this. (Oh yeah, in addition you can dip your dumpling bottoms into a little water sesame seeds to look a little fancier.)
Once they have finally reached your desired brownness, add in the water and steam your dumplings.
When the dumplings are finished, serve them with a few golden brown bottoms showing along side the amazing homemade Gyoza dipping sauce. Enjoy!
I hope you guys give these Vegan Gyoza a try. Although it takes a while to fold all of the Gyoza, once you’re finished you will have a bunch of amazing dumplings that you can cook up at any time that you want in the future. These are like a taste of Japan in every bite and truly remind me of the great trip we had last year. If you enjoy these dumplings please let us know in the comment section below. Until next time friends, Happy Cooking!
Vegan Gyoza (Pan Fried Vegetable Dumplings)
Juicy, Flavorful, Veggie Packed Gyoza. These little dumplings are the perfect appetizer for a get together. Although they are a tad bit time consuming this recipe makes a lot and they freeze well so you can have a snack of Vegan Gyoza whenever you please.
- 1 pack Gyoza or Pot-sticker wrappers
- 1 head Napa Cabbage shredded
- 1/2 large yellow onion sliced
- 1 carrot small dice
- 7 shiitake mushrooms diced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger minced
- 1/2 teaspoon better than beef vegan bouillon
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- salt to taste
- 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
- 2-1/2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
- 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 garlic clove mined
- 1 thai chili pepper diced
To make the dipping sauce simply mix everything together and set to the side.
Shred your Napa cabbage and add it to a large bowl with a couple heavy pinches of salt. Massage the salt onto the cabbage and set aside until all the water is released from the cabbage. Wash the salt off of the cabbage and dry it completely before using. (I used a salad spinner for this step.)
In a wok or large pan add about 2 teaspoons of oil along with the mushrooms, onions, and carrots. Add a sprinkle of salt and cook for 5-7 minutes or until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have released most of their liquid. Add in the garlic and ginger cook for an additional two minutes. Add in the cabbage, seasonings and mix thoroughly to combine. Remove from the heat and set to the side to cool slightly before filling.
Add 1 heaping teaspoon of filling to the center of the dumpling wrapper. Brush the edge of one half of the wrapper with water and fold the dumpling making sure all of the seams are sealed.
To cook the dumplings add about 2 teaspoons of oil to a skillet over medium low heat. Add in as many gyoza as you plan on making and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the bottoms are nicely browned. Pour in about 1/4 cup of water and cover with a lid. Steam for 7-8 minutes or until all of the water has evaporated. Serve with the sauce and enjoy!
This recipe makes about 30-35 Gyoza. Whatever you have left over you can freeze in a zip-loc bag and cook directly from the freeze as you please.