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Posted on Mar 1, 2008 in Curry, Dumplings or Buns, Freezing, Lactose Free, Leftover Remake, Recipe, Tutorial or How-to | 25 comments

Leftover Remake: Curry gyoza

Leftover Remake: Curry gyoza

I often cook in bulk and pack leftovers for lunch, maximizing the payoff for the time I actually spend cooking. But eating the same thing day after day gets tiresome, as anyone who’s eaten turkey for a week after Thanksgiving knows. Japanese bento cookbooks are full of ways to give new life to dinner leftovers, for example using leftover potato salad to make little Scotch eggs or faux latkes with tuna.

Curry gyoza (cut)

One fast dinner option at our house is Japanese curry, made with little blocks of shelf-stable Japanese curry roux (cooking notes here). I’ve previously made curry pasta with frozen unsauced pasta, and stirred leftover curry into macaroni and cheese. This time I decided to try my hand at using the leftover curry to fill gyoza potstickers (jiaozi in Chinese, mandu in Korean). These can be frozen in bulk and cooked up quickly on time-pressed mornings.

Curry gyoza (ready to cook)

The trick to making these is to use premade gyoza wrappers from the market, and to pick out the chunks of meat and vegetables from the curry and mash them up with only enough curry liquid to flavor it. An overly liquid filling yields soggy, flat dumplings. (Read on for step-by-step directions.)

First, pick out some chunks of meat and vegetables from your leftover curry, and add just enough curry liquid to add flavor. You can use any flavorful stew or curry, there’s nothing terribly magical about Japanese curry. Here I’ve got a mild Japanese curry with carrots, purple potatoes, onions, cauliflower and hot dogs leftover from testing for my “octodog” tutorial. Use a fork to lightly mash up the large chunks in a bowl, or a knife to dice harder pieces.

Mashing leftover curry for gyoza filling

I used premade gyoza wrappers from the supermarket (made with spinach, giving them the green color). These are getting easier to find in large markets; check the refrigerated section. You can use round ones for the traditional gyoza shape, or square ones for wonton shapes. You can even take this in a Western direction by sandwiching mounds of filling between two sheets of ravioli pasta or gyoza wrappers — your call.

Put a wrapper in the palm of your hand, and place about two teaspoons of the mashed curry filling in the middle. Overfilling will make it hard to fold the dumpling, so err on the side of caution. Dip your finger in a little dish of water and lightly wet one half of the outer edge of the wrapper (not all the way around, as too much water will keep the dough from sealing).

Curry gyoza (assembling)

Fold in half, in the shape of a half moon, and crimp the very top with your fingers. If you’re looking for a shortcut, go ahead and crimp the rest of the gyoza without pleating. It won’t be the traditional shape, but it’ll taste just fine.

Curry gyoza (first fold)

To give your gyoza the traditional look, you’ll want to pleat the dough to make it resemble an off-center crescent. I make them with three pleats on each side, with the pleats facing in. You’ll also see them with all of the pleats facing one direction — choose your favorite style.

To pleat, fold the edge of the wrapper over your thumb, then press with your fingers to seal. In the photo below, you can see that I’m on the second pleat, with the first pleat squeezed between my left thumb and forefinger. Continue until the gyoza is fully sealed. If you have trouble sealing the dumpling without filling coming out, remove a little of the filling and try again. Don’t worry about your mistakes — they’ll still be delicious!

Curry gyoza (pleating)

Once you’ve assembled the gyoza, you can either make them right away or freeze them. If you’re going to freeze the gyoza, be sure you’ve thoroughly mashed any potatoes in the filling as freezing large chunks of potato produces an odd texture. To freeze, put them on a flat surface like a metal pan or shallow plastic freezer container, and press down slightly so the bottoms are flat enough that the dumplings don’t fall over. Freeze solid without the dumplings touching, then transfer to a freezer bag for longer-term storage. Cook frozen dumplings straight from the freezer, without thawing, just a little longer than fresh dumplings.

Curry gyoza (pan-fried)

To cook, you can either steam, lightly boil or pan-fry. I like pan-frying, which gives a crunch to the bottom that contrasts nicely with the soft filling. To pan-fry, heat a heavy pan (I used non-stick) over medium heat and coat the bottom with a tablespoon of oil. Arrange the dumplings flat side down with space between each.

Fry until the bottoms are light brown, and pour in 3 Tb to 1/2 cup hot tap water, depending upon how many gyoza are in the pan. Cover immediately and cook for about 4 minutes until the water has pretty much evaporated and the wrappers are soft (add more water if necessary). Remove the lid and continue to fry until the bottoms of the gyoza are crisp and brown. I serve them as is without dipping sauce as the curry filling provides enough flavor.

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  1. The dough might have been pre-made and store bought but the finishing touches were neat :)

  2. Those look delicious! I’ve never seen spinach gyoza wrappers. I’ll have to look around for them.

    Thanks for the tip Biggie. We pretty much always have leftover curry in the house. :D

  3. I’ve never thought about using curry for dumpling skin,
    What an awesome idea!

  4. @1 from Jessika: Hey, thanks Jessika! I’m glad you liked them.

  5. @2 from Kaits: I liked the spinach gyoza wrappers — nice color and nutritional boost at the same time. A little something unusual. I’d love to make these with leftover Thai curry, but that’s usually too spicy for Bug. Maybe for me, then!

  6. I used to live in Toronto and it was super easy to get pre-made dumpling skins. In fact, my mom uses them to make dumplings.

    But now I live in Stockholm and pre-made dumpling skins are frozen and don’t look good to use at all. So I got myself a pasta machine and make my own dumpling skin. I don’t know how to roll out my own dumpling skins.

    The dough is just flour, water and a bit of salt. I don’t have a formula but you mix enough water with the flour until it’s a firm smooth dough. You knead it for a bit before feeding small pieces into the pasta machine to make a thin sheet. Then you cut out rounds using a drinking glass or a round cookie cutter.

  7. @3 from Cindy: Try it out! It makes your old leftovers fun to eat the second time around.

  8. Oh yeah. We also tend to make a whole bunch each time we make dumplings so what we do is leave them in the freezer sitting on a cutting board. When they’re frozen, we pull them off the board one at a time and put them in a bag for storage.

    Cooking frozen dumplings is just the same as cooking fresh ones. It just takes a little bit more time but they come out juicier.

  9. i just recently bought some frozen gyoza wrappers and i had no idea how i was going to turn them into dumplings! So thankyou very much for this useful tutorial!

  10. @6 from Wendy: Using a pasta machine for your own dumpling skins sounds serious! :-) I think the trick when you’re rolling out the rounds individually is to make the edges thinner than the middle so that the crimped edges aren’t really double the thickness of the rest of the dough.

  11. @9 from Lucy: Sounds like good timing, Lucy!

  12. This is a great idea – I’m a huge dumpling fan of almost any kind, and I never even thought of this!

  13. What a great idea. Between my two year old and full time classes, the only way we eat is to cook in bulk or use the crockpot. I’m adding this to my next weekend cooking marathon.

  14. @12 from jessie: Glad to be able to add a fun dumpling option to your repertoire, jessie!

  15. @13 from Amy: Wow, a two-year-old and full time classes? That’s a handful! What sort of things do you make in your crockpot? I’m thinking about using my rice cooker’s slow cook function for crockpot dishes…

  16. Using leftover curry in gyoza is a great idea!

  17. @16 from Kevin: Glad you like the idea, Kevin — try it out and tell us how it worked for you!

  18. that looks delicious! i usually have frozen gyoza on hand as well, but making fresh ones with a filling of my choice sounds fun. i’ll have to try this!

  19. @19 from Great Stone Face: I haven’t actually used one of those gyoza presses, so I can’t speak from firsthand experience about how effective they are. In theory, though, I’d put them in the same category as onigiri rice ball molds — good when you want to turn out a big batch but haven’t quite mastered the manual technique yet, or as just a way to speed things up. Unitaskers do tend to pile up in the kitchen, though.

  20. Have been fascinated with your blog for a while now–in general I’m fascinated with people who love cooking because for me it’s just an occasional necessity. I mean, I don’t really order out either, it’s more that what I do is not really “cooking” as much as it’s “making food.” Just bought a Ms. Bento today and am hoping to start using it this week for lunch.

    ANYWAY…this post intrigued me because I used to take leftover guotie (fried jiaozi) to work but in a regular container, then microwave, and while they still tasted all right I found that they were definitely no longer crispy and often slightly soggy from the nuking.

    Have you experimented with bringing fried dumplings in a thermal container? Do they actually stay crispy? I imagine there would be quite a bit of condensation if put in the containers hot? Wondering if there’s a point or if I should just be boiling/steaming instead…

  21. Although I guess I’ve seen a few photos among your blog/Flickr stream that include other fried or pan-fried things, so even if you haven’t brought the dumplings in a thermal container…any luck with the other types of things staying crispy?

  22. Question. I broke a rule making gyoza, unfortunately the wrappers were frozen and to make new gyoza I had to defrost them, but then I stuck them back into the freezer with raw ingredients. I mean, I can’t really think of another way I could sucessfully freeze them. I checked the back of the pack on the gyoza wrappers and there was no egg in it, so is breaking the two freezing rule going to kill me in this case, and am I better just throwing out my 52 gyoza? Does anyone else do this? Thanks.

  23. @24 from Gina: They’ll be just fine — nothing wrong with what you’ve done by refreezing wrappers. I’d worry more about refreezing something like raw meat or fish, not gyoza wrappers. Bon appetit!

  24. These gyoza are very beautiful in green! never saw that here in Belgium! Very nice! :-)