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What is Tofu Gyoza (Vegetable Gyoza)?
Gyoza, derived from the Chinese “jiǎozi,” are dumplings traditionally prepared by creating a thin dough from flour and water. This dough serves as a gyoza wrapper to house various fillings. Depending on the cooking method—whether pan-fried, steamed, boiled, or fried—the resulting gyoza is usually dipped in some variation of gyoza dipping sauce.
In Japan, pan-fried gyoza has notably carved out a niche for themselves. Niku gyoza for those filled with ground pork, shrimp gyoza for those packed with shrimp, and vegetable gyoza for the veggie-loaded variants—denote the primary constituents of their respective fillings.
Despite the popularity of meat-based gyoza, the adaptability of these dumplings allows for considerable creativity. Gyoza can be tailored to cater to various preferences by simply substituting traditional ingredients with vegetarian alternatives. This recipe uses tofu as a meat substitute, resulting in an equally appealing, plant-based version of traditional gyoza.
If you want to know more about gyoza, please check out my pork gyoza post.
How I Developed This Recipe
Creating plant-based recipes as a non-vegetarian/vegan is always a challenging yet rewarding, creative, and fun experience for me, and this was especially true when I set out to make this Tofu Gyoza. The process required constant adjustments and experimentation with various seasonings and ingredients.
After numerous trials and fine-tuning, I finally perfected this Tofu Gyoza recipe. The tofu gives it a unique texture and flavor.
I’m genuinely proud of this creation and I highly recommend trying it out!
Ingredients & Substitution Ideas
- Firm tofu – Use firm tofu instead of silken tofu because silken tofu makes the filling too sticky and wet. This serves as a substitute for minced meat.
- Shiitake mushroom – You can use other mushrooms, but shiitake mushrooms, with their strong, umami-rich flavor, are best suited for this recipe.
- Boiled bamboo shoots – Adding bamboo shoots gives the filling a crunchy and satisfying texture.
- Wood ear mushroom – This creates a slightly chewy texture in the filling that differs from bamboo shoots.
- Garlic chives – It creates the unique flavor of Japanese-style gyoza.
- Cornstarch – Since the dumplings will be more watery than those made with minced meat, use starch to hold the filling together. Potato or tapioca starch can also be used.
- Fresh garlic – Grating fresh garlic is recommended, but you can also use store-bought garlic paste as a shortcut.
- Grated ginger – Ginger paste can also be used for convenience.
- Black pepper – White pepper can also be used.
- Sake – If you do not have sake, substitute it with white wine or dry sherry.
- Mirin – When purchasing mirin, it is recommended to look for “hon mirin” (本みりん) for the best flavor. I recommend Hinode Hon Mirin as a high-quality and affordable option. See my 20 Most Useful Condiments and Seasonings for Japanese Cooking post for more recommendations.
- Sesame oil – It is used to add subtle flavor to the filling. I recommend Kadoya’s sesame oil.
- Soy sauce – If you are looking for something reasonably priced, you can’t go wrong with Kikkoman soy sauce. For a deeper dive into selecting the perfect soy sauce for Japanese dishes, refer to my comprehensive soy sauce guide.
- Miso paste – Any miso paste you have will do, but for this recipe, an awase miso paste (yellow miso) will work best.
- Gyoza wrappers – I use large wrappers in this recipe, approximately 9.5cm/3.75inches in diameter. Alternatively, you can try making your own gyoza wrappers using my recipe here.
Curious about the exact brands and products that bring my recipes to life? Discover the brands and ingredients behind my recipes at the Sudachi Amazon Storefront. Explore my handpicked pantry essentials and find your next kitchen favorites!Jump to Full Recipe Measurements
Visual Walkthrough & Tips
Here are my step-by-step instructions for how to make Tofu and Vegetable Gyoza at home. For ingredient quantities and simplified instructions, scroll down for the Printable Recipe Card below.
Roughly dice the shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, wood ear mushrooms, and garlic chives, and grate the garlic and ginger. Add them to a bowl along with the firm tofu, black pepper, sake, mirin, cornstarch, sesame oil, soy sauce, and miso paste.
Mix thoroughly until the tofu has broken up and all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
Hold the wrapper flat in your hands and add between 1/2 and 1 tbsp of filling to the center, making sure to leave a border around the edge.
Lightly wet half of the border and then gently fold the wrapper in half without letting the sides touch yet.
Pinch the corner and make pleats on one side, pressing them down on the other side to seal as you go.
Continue until the wrapper is completely sealed and press all the way around to secure it (make sure there aren’t any gaps!).
Your completed gyoza should look something like this:
Add cooking oil to a large, cold frying pan. The frying pan should be big enough to fit all of your gyoza in a single layer. (If you don’t have a big enough pan to do this, fry the gyoza in batches.) As you place the gyoza inside, spread the oil around evenly.
Heat on medium and fry until crispy and golden underneath. While you wait for them to cook, mix flour and warm water in a bowl to make a slurry. Once the gyoza are crispy underneath, pour the slurry into the pan and place a lid on.
Steam the gyoza until the water is almost gone and then remove the lid. Continue to cook until the slurry has completely evaporated and created a crispy layer underneath the gyoza.
Take a small bowl and mix rice vinegar, soy sauce, chili oil and black pepper.
Use a spatula to carefully loosen the gyoza from the pan and then flip them onto a plate.
Serve with your dipping sauce and enjoy!Jump to Full Recipe Measurements
How to Store
If you wish to keep your tofu gyoza for later meals, it’s advisable to freeze them before cooking, just like with any other pan-fried gyoza.
There are several benefits to freezing gyoza. Firstly, it’s a significant time-saving strategy. Preparing gyoza by hand, including chopping ingredients, making the filling, and wrapping each gyoza, can be quite time-consuming. By preparing and freezing a large batch, you save yourself this effort in the future.
Another plus point is that frozen gyoza can be cooked directly without thawing, maintaining its original flavor and texture. This offers a convenient choice for hectic days or for simplifying your meal prep. It’s also quite enjoyable to make homemade gyoza on a whim.
Despite the temptation to store uncooked gyoza in the fridge, this is not recommended as the water in the filling can make the dumplings soggy, which we all want to avoid. This tends to happen especially for vegetable gyoza which have higher water content.
If you have cooked gyoza leftovers, they can be stored in the fridge for about 24 hours and re-fried to regain their crispiness. Freezing already cooked gyoza is not advised, as it can cause the texture to deteriorate.
Gyoza are small dumplings made with a seasoned filling wrapped in a thin dough (gyoza wrapper). The fillings vary and often contain a mixture of pork, shrimp, vegetables or tofu.
Common ingredients include mushroom, spring onion, cabbage chives, garlic, and ginger, just to name a few.
Not all store-bought vegetable gyoza are guaranteed to be suitable for vegetarians and vegans, but this recipe is 100% plant-based. The beauty of homemade gyoza is that they can be adjusted to suit your personal preferences.
I recommend firm tofu to prevent the wrappers from becoming too wet and the filling from becoming too paste-like.
I hope you enjoy this Tofu 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 Plant-based Recipes
- Plant-Based Mabo Nasu (Japanese Mapo Eggplant)
- Kenchin Jiru (Traditional Japanese Vegetable Soup)
- Ginger Miso Soup (Plant-based)
Want more inspiration? Explore my Plant-Based Recipe Roundup Post for a carefully selected collection of tasty recipe ideas to spark your next meal!
Tofu and Vegetable Gyoza (Plant-Based Potstickers)
- 100 g firm tofu
- 50 g shiitake mushroom(s) (fresh, not dried) roughly diced
- 50 g boiled bamboo shoots roughly diced
- 30 g fresh wood ear mushroom(s) roughly diced
- 30 g garlic chives roughly cut
- ½ tbsp grated garlic
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp sake
- 1 tsp mirin
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- ½ tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp awase miso paste (yellow)
Assembly and Cooking
- 20 gyoza wrappers (large size)
- 50 ml warm water
- ½ tsp all-purpose flour
- ½ tbsp cooking oil
Gyoza Dipping Sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- ½ tsp chilli oil
- ¼ tsp black pepper
Filling and Assembling
- Prepare the ingredients for the filling according to the list above and place them in a large mixing bowl.
- Mix until the tofu has broken up and all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Hold the gyoza wrapper flat and add ½-1 tbsp of filling to the center. Make sure to leave a border around the edge.
- Wet the edge lightly with water, then gently fold the wrapper in half without letting the edges touch and pinch one corner.
- Make pleats on one side of the wrapper, pressing them on the flat side to seal.
- Repeat until the whole gyoza is sealed and tap the base to flatten.
- Drizzle the cooking oil into a cold pan and place the gyoza in your preferred formation, using the base of the gyoza to help spread the oil.
- Turn on the heat to medium and cook until the bottom becomes brown and crispy.
- Make a slurry by mixing 50 ml warm water and ½ tsp all-purpose flour in a small bowl. Pour the slurry into the pan and place a lid on top. Steam until the liquid is more or less gone.
- Remove the lid and continue to cook until the liquid has completely evaporated.
- Mix 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 2 tsp soy sauce, ½ tsp chilli oil and ¼ tsp black pepper in a small bowl for your dipping sauce.
- Plate up and enjoy!