This is the best summer zucchini recipe that you’ve never even heard of. I call these new dumplings “bikini zucchini gyoza”.
Essentially, they’re gyoza wrapped with a zucchini bikini. And– oh baby!– they’re sizzling hot!
If you’re a lover of food in dumpling form like I am– I know I’m speaking directly to your heart. I could eat Japanese gyoza or Chinese potstickers every day.
If you’re someone who sticks to a healthy diet like me, we all still crave the foods we love, right?
Traditional gyoza are carb heavy. But these super healthy gyoza are low carb, keto-friendly, and can be easily made gluten-free. You can eat them to your heart’s content and still be able to wear your bikini this summer!
When Life Gives You Zucchini, Make Dumplings (said no one)
I started working on this recipe in the beginning of summer. Right now, zucchini are on sale at every supermarket that I go to in Tokyo.
If you’re a home gardener, I’m sure you can relate to having zucchini coming out of your ears.
When I was growing up, I remember my Grandma Mary and Aunt Cathy baking zucchini bread every summer.
That’s good stuff, but you can only eat and give away so much zucchini bread, especially if you follow a low carb diet like me.
So what do you do when you still have zucchini coming out of your ears after you’ve baked your zucchini bread?
Try out a new zucchini recipe for gyoza dumplings! I can tell you right now, your family and neighbors are going to worship you– “The Bikini Zucchini Gyoza Goddess”.
Accidental Zucchini Recipe: Pan-fried Dumplings
You can tell by my effort how much I like gyoza.
Small apartments in Japan typically don’t come with ovens. I bought a small oven specifically so I could create this recipe.
Like almost all of my recipes, these gyoza turned out awesome all by accident.
After baking them in my new oven, I put them in a frypan to make sure the insides were fully cooked. That’s how they turned out nicely browned on the outside, just like traditional pan-friend gyoza in Japan.
Below, I’ll explain how to bake the gyoza and get them that nice, golden brown color in your frypan.
Not your typical Zucchini Recipe
In an authentic Japanese kitchen, gyoza are typically filled with minced pork, chopped cabbage, garlic, and maybe some Chinese chives (nira).
If you’re aiming to make to low carb, keto gyoza that are as close to the real thing as possible, you could totally make these with the regular filling for gyoza.
Here are some authentic Japanese and Chinese recipes from some of my favorite food bloggers.
Two Non-traditional Fillings for Gyoza
On the recipe card below, I’ll give you two variations of non-traditional gyoza fillings. I like both equally.
These fillings are more Asian fusion (Indian, Thai, Chinese) than Japanese.
One variation is curry-flavored ground pork with chopped carrot.
The second one is ground chicken with cabbage, basil, fish sauce, and paprika powder.
Japanese gyoza tend to have garlic added and Chinese dumplings don’t have garlic.
The Secret to Making Zucchini Gyoza
1. My number one tip for this recipe is use the right kind of vegetable peeler to slice the zucchini. (see picture on the recipe card below)
I’m sure a highly trained sushi chef would be able to slice zucchini uniformly thin with a sharp knife.
I don’t have that level of knife skills. Using a vegetable peeler makes it easy. I tried with a knife– it was a disaster!
2. My second tip is to bake these gyoza to ensure the insides get cooked. I covered my glass pan with aluminum foil to make sure the gyoza didn’t burn in the oven.
Again, this is not the typical way to make pan-fried gyoza– but it works.
3. To make your gyoza nice and juicy on the inside, I recommend using ground pork or chicken that’s higher in fat (not lean meat).
If you find a way to make these vegetarian or vegan, please share your creation!
How to make Bikini Zucchini Gyoza
Zucchini Recipe - Healthy, Low Carb Gyoza
A simple, healthy recipe for gyoza. Use thin slices of zucchini as wonton wrappers for making gyoza at home. Even if you aren't on a keto or low carb diet, everyone in your family will like this healthy alternative to authentic Japanese-style gyoza. Try out two different recipes for filings: pork or chicken.
- 1 zucchini medium-sized
Filing- Option # 1- Pork with Basil
- 1/2 lb ground pork approx. 200 grams
- 1/3 cup finely chopped carrot
- 1 tsp hot curry powder
- 2 tsp soy sauce or gluten-free alternative
- 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
- 1/4 tsp salt
Filling Option- Option # 2- Ground Chicken with Cabbage and Basil
- 1/2 pound ground chicken approx. 200 grams
- 1/3 cup finely chopped cabbage
- 1 tbsp chopped basil
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
- 1/4 tsp paprika powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 5 tsp soy sauce or gluten-free alternative
- 4 tsp rice vinegar oil
- dried red chilis a few pinches
Use a vegetable peeler to slice your zucchini into long strips (vertical). Slice down from the stem to the bottom. (See my picture of the peeler that works best for me.)
Set zucchini aside on a plate.
Filling Option #1 - Ground Pork
Finely chop the carrot and ginger. Set aside.
Put ground pork in a mixing bowl.
Add chopped carrot and ginger to the bowl.
Then add the curry powder, salt, and soy sauce (or gluten-free alternative).
Mix well– I use my hands to mix. Set aside.
Filling Option #2 - Ground Chicken
Finely chop the cabbage, ginger, and basil.
Put the chicken in a mixing bowl.
Add the chopped cabbage, ginger, and basil.
Then add the paprika powder, salt, and fish sauce.
Mix well– I use my hands. Set aside.
Zucchini Gyoza Prep
Arrange three strips of zucchini in a star shape on a plate or cutting board.
Form the gyoza filling into balls and place on the center of each star.
Wrap the strips around the filling, one by one.
Holding the strips of zucchini together at the top, turn the gyoza face down inside a glass baking pan. I fit six gyoza in one pan.
In the pan, your hands to make sure the fillings are all wrapped securely with the zucchini strips. Tuck in any loose ends if needed.
Zucchini Gyoza Cooking
Preheat oven to 390 °F (200 °C)
Cover pan with gyoza with aluminum foil to prevent burning.
Bake for about 22 minutes.
Carefully remove pan from the oven and aluminum foil.
Use a spatula to remove the baked gyoza and place them directly in a frypan, one that won't stick.
Cook on low heat. When one side is nicely browned, carefully flip the gyoza with a spatula or cooking chopsticks.
Continue browning the outside of the gyoza until all your gyoza are nice and golden brown and the filling looks completely cooked through.
Mix soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sliced dried red chilis
DID YOU TRY OUT THIS RECIPE?
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The lesson I learned
I’ve found that every recipe for my blog teaches me a new lesson.
Every creation is the result of a process of trial and error, a string of successes and flops.
Now that I’ve finished this new zucchini recipe, I’m thinking back about how all the dots that connected for it to happen.
It reminds me of that commencement speech that Steve Jobs gave at Stanford in 2005:
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. You have to trust in something– your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
I have enough recipe creations under my belt that I can begin to connect the dots looking backwards.
When I first start creating a new recipe, I have no idea how the final dish is going to turn out.
It all starts with an inspiration. An idea pops into my head.
Now I think I can see the pattern, the simple secret to creating anything new in your life:
All you have to do is start.
Somehow the dots connect, every time, like magic.
All I have to do is start, try and fail enough times, and keep moving forward until I know it’s done.
There’s no need to worry or fret about how the dots will connect, how things will work out. They just do.
You just have to keep moving forward, and let the answers come to you.
Your job is not to control how things will work out.
Your job is simple: don’t give up.
I think there’s no other way.