When moms grows garlic chives.
You make awesome gyoza, jiao zi, dumplings, however, you want to call them. As long as I can remember my mom has had a great ability for growing vegetables. Year after year she would grow zucchinis (that we would eat for months after harvest), having fresh goji berries in the summer (they don’t taste good when they are fresh, really), having garden beans, watercress (I hated that stuff, really), fresh mint and a variety of Asian vegetables. And no I didn’t inherit her genes to keep greens alive. Unless it is weeds.
One of my favorite Asian vegetables is garlic chives. It is a family of the onion and garlic but it doesn’t resemble it in any way. It look likes grass. During the season, you can buy them in the Asian supermarket or you can grow them yourself. My mom has them for over decades in the garden. It doesn’t matter how severe winter was (not that much in Holland) the roots would remain deep underground and sprout during Spring. We are still harvesting year after year. It would come as no surprise to me if you also find them in the wild.
So my mom gave a small bunch and I decided to make her famous dumplings. I love dumplings but they are just a pain in the ass to make and they never taste as good as my mom’s dumplings. But my mom gave me her recipe anyway and told me just give it a go. It’s fool proof but if I couldn’t make them, just stir fry them with an egg she said. I’m a fool sometimes. For some more convenience, I decided to run to the supermarket to buy a package of pre-made gyoza wrappers.
These Chinese chives are full of flavor. They may look like normal chives but these are flat and have a much more garlicky taste while normal chives taste more like an onion. Garlic chives are great for stir fries with some minced meat (not in my case), steam it along with some egg, add it to soups, or mince it and add to salad dressings. They are not only great to for their taste but also give a nutritional punch. Low in fat but high in dietary fiber and protein. High amounts of vitamin C, B and a great source of calcium and carotene. In Chinese medicine, these chives are considered food for warming the body and improve the blood circulation.
So, here it is, my vegan version of my mom’s dumplings. Instead of using pork I’ve replaced it with Chinese black mushrooms. You can buy them dried in packages at your Asian supermarket. I recommend you buy them dried, the flavors of the dried ones are way stronger than the fresh ones. But feel free to buy fresh ones!
I am damn sure that my gyoza’s are not as pretty as my mom’s but hey, I’m not a pro and I rather eat the ones that my mom makes (you would do the same if she was making them). If you really want to upgrade your gyoza, jiao zi, dumpling folding skills, I recommend you take a look at this video here. But you can always invent your own fold.
Mom’s awesome gyoza
makes 25 – 30
1 package gyoza wrappers, defrosted
1 cup dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked and then minced
1/2 cup garlic chives (chopped very fine)
1/2 carrot (chopped very fine)
Ginger approx 1 cm, peeled and minced
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs water
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1/4 tsp minced red pepper
Start by defrosting your gyoza wrappers by getting them out of the freezer. It will take an hour to defrost.
Soak the dried mushrooms in some water for at least 30 – 60 min. After 30 – 60 min check if they are soft. If they are still a little bit hard, just let them sit for another 30 min in the water. If they are soft, squeeze out the excess water. Put in the food processor and pulse till everything is blended and has a very fine texture. If you don’t have a food processor you can practice your knife skills. I have to admit that I love slicing, dicing and chopping things up.
Peel of a wrapper from the stack and put a teaspoon of filling in the middle. Put some water around the edges and fold one side over the filling till the other edge. From here on you can make pretty folds or you can just press them together. Make sure that you press out all the air.
Cook the gyoza right away otherwise the water from the ingredients will be soaked up by the wrapper. That will leave you with a wet gyoza. You don’t want that.
Heat oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot place the gyoza on the flat side in the pan. When the bottom is golden till brown, add 5 or 6 tablespoons water and immediately cover with a lid. The steam that is inside the pan will cook the gyoza’s thoroughly, this takes about 2 or 3 minutes. Remove the lid to let the remaining water evaporates. Add another teaspoon of oil and let them cook till the bottom is crispy and brown. Transfer to a plate and dip, eat while they’re hot.
Note: If you want to save them for later you can put them in the freezer. Put the gyoza on a baking sheet, leaving some space in between to prevent from sticking. Pop them in the freezer. When solid frozen you can put them in a bag and store in the freezer up to a month.
When you use frozen gyoza, do not defrost, cook while they are frozen.