Every so often we get the question, what is the difference between a gyoza and a potsticker? They look the same and have similar filling. Are they the same thing, but with different names?
Let us travel over to China, where dumplings, or “Zhao Ji” in Mandarin (餃子), were first wrapped. A dumpling often starts by rolling out a small piece of wheat flour dough thinly. A dollop of ground meat and/or vegetable filling is then placed in the middle of the wrapper. Followed by wrapping and sealing the edges by crimping them together. These Chinese dumplings were first enjoyed simply by boiling or steaming them.
Potsticker, in truth, is a method of cooking. Legend has it that a chef, intending to boil dumplings in a wok, left them on the heat for too long resulting in the pot boiling dry. With no water in sight, the bottom of the dumpling crisped up and stuck to the wok. And potstickers, as we know it, were born.
This method also translates to our cooking instructions:
- Set the stove on high. Put 1 teaspoon cooking oil, Gyozas and 1/3 cup of water into a frying pan with Gyozas flat side down
- Cover pan with lid. Reduce heat to medium once water starts boiling.
- Cook for 7-10 minutes until water completely evaporates and Gyoza bottoms are crispy.
- Serve with Sum-m! Gyoza Sauce.
But how did Gyozas come about in Japan?
Dating back to World War II, Japanese soldiers who were stationed in Northern China were exposed to Zhao Ji a.k.a potstickers. Upon their return home, they remembered and tried to recreate the dumplings they had eaten. Calling them gyoza – the Japanese Kanji pronunciation of the Chinese characters for zhao ji.
Now that we know the history of how the two dumplings came to be. How are they different?
- Wrapper – Japanese gyoza wrappers are usually thinner, smaller, and more delicate. To give you an idea of how thin they can be, some homemade gyoza recipes call for the use of wonton wrappers!
- Size – Japanese gyozas tend to be smaller than their Chinese potsticker counterparts and can be eaten in one or two bites.
- Filling – Japanese Gyozas tend to have a stronger garlic flavour.
One thing to keep in mind is that zhao ji dumplings can vary in flavour and stuffing across the different provinces of China. In our Sum-m! product line alone, you can find a Chicken Gyoza, a Pork Gyoza, a Vegetable Gyoza and a Sesame Ginger Chicken Gyoza variation.
So remember, while there are subtle differences, Gyozas and Potstickers are essentially the same thing. Created by the Chinese and modified by the Japanese, and both equally delicious.