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What is Chicken Yaki Gyoza?
Yaki gyoza is Japan’s most popular dumpling dish inspired by Chinese jiaozi. The main characteristic of Japanese gyoza is that it is neither steamed nor served in soup, but pan-fried. The word “yaki” means “to fry” and this cooking method results in a perfectly crisp base that can’t be beaten.
The most mainstream gyoza in Japan is pork yaki gyoza, but it can also be deep-fried (age-gyoza), boiled in soup (sui gyoza) or even be made with different fillings, such as tofu gyoza or prawn gyoza.
In this article, I will be sharing a chicken-based gyoza recipe.
How I Developed This Recipe
The most common gyoza in Japan is pork yaki gyoza. Pork is often fatty and succulent with a unique sweetness compared to chicken, so the key was how to compensate for this.
However, I wanted to create a chicken gyoza rivaling the pork version. To achieve this, I decided to mix ground chicken with small chunks of chicken thigh to increase juiciness and improve the texture.
For flavor, I used umeboshi (pickled plums), shiso (perilla leaves), and sesame seeds to give the chicken gyoza a sour taste that sets them apart from traditional pork gyoza. I paired it with a ponzu for the dipping sauce to complement the dish. This gyoza is perfect for people who love sour flavors.
Ingredients & Substitution Ideas
- Ground chicken: The primary base for chicken gyoza. While chicken breast and thigh mince are suitable, the thigh mince yields a juicier result.
- Chicken thigh: To enhance juiciness and add more texture, I add roughly chopped chicken thighs to the filling.
- Yellow onion: Though yellow onions are mainstream in Japan, white onions are an acceptable substitute.
- Pickled plums (umeboshi): This unique Japanese ingredient gives a distinct sour flavor. Once deseeded, mash into a paste with a knife. I find that 2 medium-sized umeboshi will make about 1 tbsp of paste. You can also purchase ume paste here on Amazon.
- Perilla leaves (ooba/shiso): These harmonize beautifully with pickled plums and add a refreshing flavor to the filling.
- Sesame seeds: Often hailed as a secret ingredient, they complement both ume and shiso leaves.
- Green cabbage: While green cabbage is preferred, other varieties work just as well when finely chopped.
- Garlic chives: A crucial flavor component for chicken gyoza. In their absence, you can use regular chives or green onions.
- Sake: If unavailable, white wine or dry sherry are good substitutes.
- Soy sauce: For a budget-friendly option, Kikkoman soy sauce is reliable. Check our soy sauce guide for further insights on selection in Japanese cooking.
- Sesame oil: Adds flavor and contributes to the crispy base. Kadoya’s sesame oil is highly recommended.
- Grated ginger: If desired, ginger paste is a handy alternative.
- Gyoza wrappers: Used to wrap the filling. You can try making your own homemade gyoza wrappers with my recipe or opt for store-bought ones for convenience.
- Hot water: Adding freshly boiled water to the pan after the gyoza has crisped up underneath not only helps steam the top and cook the gyoza all the way through but also prevents cooling the pan (which would happen if you add cold water), ensuring a beautiful sear. It also stops the gyoza from sticking together!
- Ponzu sauce: This is used as the dipping sauce. Opt for store-bought versions or make a homemade version at home.
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Visual Walkthrough & Tips
Here are my step-by-step instructions for how to make Chicken Yaki Gyoza at home. For ingredient quantities and simplified instructions, scroll down for the Printable Recipe Card below.
The pieces should be smaller than bitesize but chunkier than ground chicken. This will make the filling more juicy with a better texture. Keep in mind that the bigger the chicken pieces, the harder it will be to wrap.
Add the finely chopped chicken thigh, ground chicken, yellow onions, perilla leaves, umeboshi paste, green cabbage, garlic chives, sake, soy sauce, salt, black pepper, grated ginger and sesame seeds to a large mixing bowl.
Mix until all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
Take a gyoza wrapper, add about 1 tbsp of filling to the center, leaving a finger-width border around the edge. Wet the edge lightly with cold water.
Gently fold the wrapper in half but don’t press the edges together yet. Pinch one corner before you start pleating.
Push the edge of the wrapper over your fingernail, then remove and press to make each pleat.
Repeat until you reach the end. Press to secure.
Repeat until all the filling and wrappers are used up.
Heat a frying pan on medium and add a drizzle of cooking oil. Once hot, place the gyoza in the pan and fry until the bottom is crispy.
Pour freshly boiled water around the pan. Be careful of splashing oil.
Place a lid on the pan and steam until almost all of the water is gone.
Remove the lid and continue to cook until the water has completely gone. Then drizzle with sesame oil and fry for one more minute.
Remove from the heat.
Divide onto serving plates and serve with ponzu sauce.
Enjoy!Jump to Full Recipe Measurements
How to Store
If you want to save time and effort in the future, freezing your chicken gyoza before cooking is the way to go. Not only will freezing preserve their fresh taste and texture, but it also means you won’t have to go through the meticulous process of making them again.
Plus, frozen gyoza is a convenient option for busy days or when you want a quick homemade meal.
Remember that storing uncooked gyoza in the fridge can lead to soggy dumplings, so freezing is the way to go.
If you have leftover cooked gyoza, store them in the fridge for up to 24 hours and reheat them in a frying pan for optimal crispiness. Avoid freezing cooked gyoza, as it will result in a deteriorated texture.
I hope you enjoy this Chicken Gyoza recipe! If you try it out, I’d really appreciate it if you could spare a moment to let me know what you thought by giving a review and star rating in the comments below. It’s also helpful to share any adjustments you made to the recipe with our other readers. Thank you!
More Gyoza Recipes
Chicken Yaki Gyoza with Umeboshi and Shiso
- 100 g chicken thigh
- 100 g ground chicken
- 50 g yellow onion(s) finely diced
- 20 Perilla leaves shredded
- 2 tbsp umeboshi paste 2 medium umeboshi makes about 1 tbsp of paste
- 50 g green cabbage finely diced
- 30 g garlic chive(s) finely chopped
- 1 tbsp sake
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 1 tsp grated ginger or ginger paste
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds to drizzle – optional
- 25 gyoza wrappers
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 150 ml freshly boiled water
- ½ tbsp sesame oil
- ponzu sauce for dipping
- Finely chop 100 g chicken thigh. The pieces should be smaller than bitesize but chunkier than ground chicken.
- Add the finely chopped chicken to a large mixing bowl along with 100 g ground chicken, 50 g yellow onion(s), 20 Perilla leaves, 2 tbsp umeboshi paste, 50 g green cabbage, 30 g garlic chive(s), 1 tbsp sake, 1 tsp soy sauce, ½ tsp salt, 1 pinch black pepper, 1 tsp grated ginger and 1 tbsp sesame seeds.
- Mix until all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Take a gyoza wrapper and add about 1 tbsp of the filling to the center, leaving a finger-width border around the edge. Wet the edges with a little water.
- Fold the wrapper in half without letting the sides touch yet. Pinch one corner and start pleating.
- Fold and press to make the pleats until the gyoza is close.
- Press the edges down firmly to ensure it is properly sealed.
- Repeat until all of the gyoza wrappers and filling are used up.
- Heat a frying pan on medium and add 1 tbsp cooking oil. Once hot, place the gyoza in the pan with the flat side facing down and fry until the bottoms are crispy and brown (approx 3-5 minutes).
- Pour 150 ml freshly boiled water around the pan. (Be careful of oil splashing.)
- Place a lid on top and cook until the liquid is almost gone.
- Remove the lid and continue to cook until the liquid is completely gone. Drizzle with ½ tbsp sesame oil and cook for 1 more minute before removing the pan from the heat.
- Arrange on plates and serve with ponzu sauce.