Fall Appetizer: Pumpkin Gyoza

By: Todd Porter and Diane Cu

Fall is in the air and with pumpkins inspiring us everywhere we turn, we're continually looking to create new pumpkin recipes. This is also the season of parties, which means making rock-star appetizers to feed our partying masses. A holiday party isn't complete without a roster of appetizers that are not only delicious, but that also make it easy on the cooking and planning side.

Crispy warm gyozas are loved because they’re quick, satisfying bites and, most importantly, they can be made ahead of time. With a bit of planning, you can cook the gyozas ahead of time and just warm them up in the oven before serving. We've never had anyone turn down room-temperature gyozas before, so don't worry if they sit out for a while. It’s guaranteed they'll be gobbled up before you can get the next batch out of the warming oven.

This dish is a wonderful sweet and savory combination, bursting with flavors and textures for your fall table. The slightly sweet pumpkin filling with hints of warm cinnamon in a crisp wrapper is addictive. But when you dip that into a savory tangy ginger soy dip, what you have is a symphony of delicious flavors on the palate. To make this dish even more exciting, you can amp it up with some spice from fresh chiles or with your favorite hot sauce.

The end product would be a fabulous sweet, salty, spicy and tangy explosion of flavors that will make everyone come back for more. Make sure you plan accordingly and prepare plenty ahead of time, because each one of your guests will easily devour 4-5 per person. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Gyoza Recipe

Makes about two-and-a-half dozen gyoza.
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • Approximately 1.5-inch knob of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1 package gyoza (dumpling) wrapper
  • Small bowl of water for sealing gyoza edges
  • About 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil for searing gyoza bottom
Ginger Soy Dipping Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
  • 1-inch knob of ginger, grated or finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon of vinegar

In small bowl, combine dipping sauce ingredients and set aside.

In medium bowl, combine pumpkin puree, grated ginger, cinnamon and chili powder and mix well.

Place about 1 heaping teaspoon of pumpkin filling into center of each wrapper. Do not overfill. Brush a bit of water on edges of wrapper and gently fold the dumpling wrapper. Pinch edges in the center of the arc to seal. To get the folded edges, gently create several folds on one side of the wrapper and pinch it to the flat side to seal.

Heat large saucepan on medium heat and add about 1 tablespoon of oil, or until pan is lightly coated with oil. Gently place gyoza with bottoms down on pan. Cook the gyoza until the bottoms are crisp. Gently add about 1 tablespoon of water into pan (caution — it will splatter with the remaining oil in the pan), swirl to let water coat the whole bottom of pan, then quickly place lid on.

Continue cooking gyoza for about 5 minutes or until water has evaporated and gyoza are steamed to a soft touch.

Serve with dipping sauce.

Todd Porter and Diane Cu are professional food and travel photographers who publish the popular food blog White on Rice. Their lives have always been about love, family, friends, sharing, exploring and food. 

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