Gyoza- The Japanese Dumplings
The Origin of Gyoza
While jiaozi has a history of more than a thousand years, gyoza is a quite a recent innovation.
It turns out that gyoza is a dish born from jiaozi’s culinary idea. Japanese people invented gyoza by borrowing this concept from the Chinese people. During World War II time, Japanese soldiers came to know jiaozi while they occupied Manchuria, Northern China. Upon returning home, they wanted to recreate the delicious dumplings they used to enjoy in China using Japanese ingredients and preparation methods.
Soon, the first gyoza was born. Basically, gyoza is really similar to Chinese potstickers. One of the main and biggest differences between the two is that gyoza tends to be smaller in size and has a thinner pre-fabricated wrapper with more finely textured filling.
Gyoza is prepared in the same manner as potstickers with “fry-steam-fry” method. However, Gyoza’s thinner skin crisps up more than that of potstickers and they also focus more on the stuffing. Some people believe gyoza go heavier on the garlic, which suits best for garlic lovers.
Types of Gyoza
Although the common way to cook gyoza is “fry-steam-fry” method, the dish can be prepared in different ways and each of the cooking ways results in a different name.
Pan Fried Gyoza (Yaki Gyoza) — This is the most common type of gyoza offered in restaurant menus. The chief pan-fries the gyoza in a hot skillet with the cornstarch-water mixture. This mixture of water and cornstarch leaves the gyoza soft and juicy inside while giving them a crispy bottom.
Boiled Gyoza (Sui Gyoza) — These boiled gyoza are sometimes served in a light broth. Boiled gyoza are common and can be found more at Chinese restaurants.
Deep Fried Gyoza (Age Gyoza) — This type of gyoza are noted with a crispy texture. They are usually found in specialty gyoza restaurants or in a Chinese restaurant.
There are also gyoza for vegetarian. They come with no meat, instead, filled with cabbage and mushrooms or other types of vegetables.
The highlight of gyoza comes from the sauce that served with them. Gyoza may come with the so-called ponzu sauce. Ponzu refers to a classic Japanese citrus sauce which can be used without adding soy sauce yet still brings about a strong umami flavor. Umami is known as the fifth basic taste that the human tongue can distinguish.
Ponzu sauce is thin yet potent and is extremely flavorful. Eaters can dip the shredded veggies (cabbage, pickled ginger, and carrots) that accompanies with gyoza to the sauce and enjoy the amazing note ponzu offers.
Other times, gyoza can be served with homemade sauces made of rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and spices.
When do people enjoy gyoza?
Gyoza can be enjoyed as a main course in family meals. The dish is served as a side meal with rice (okazu) as well. Other times, gyoza is a popular side dish or appetizer at ramen noodle shops or small bars or pubs (izakaya).