Gyoza Bhajia are the ultimate Asian mashup when it comes to tasty vegetarian finger food. Crispy dumplings covered in a spicy bhajia batter. It’s a thing of beauty!
All you need is a bag of frozen gyoza (or any Asian dumplings), some store cupboard spices and about 30 minutes.
I’d like to close a strange and difficult year with a recipe that’ll bring a smile to your face. I can’t say I’ll miss 2020 (I don’t think any of us will), but I am eager to step into the New Year with a full belly and a positive outlook.
What are Gyoza Bhajia?
I first made these during a moment of panic. It was 2010 and I was cooking for a crowd ahead of a family wedding. I had far too much bhajia batter left over after making these Crispy Potato Bhajia.
After a frenzied rummage through the fridge and freezer, I found some strong candidates to batter and fry, or as I like to call it, ‘bhajiafy’.
An apple, an unripe banana, onions and erm… some frozen gyoza. With their Japanese tofu and vegetable filling, I knew I had to try it. What could possibly go wrong?
Nothing, that’s what. They were absolutely delicious. Steamy and juicy on the inside, with a delicious double wrap of dumpling skin and crispy masala batter. Perfection. I’ve been making them ever since.
How to make Gyoza Bhajia | Dumpling Bhajia in 4 easy steps
- Make the batter
Mix together all the ingredients for the batter including the flours and spices. Add water gradually and whisk until smooth and lump free.
- Let the batter rest
This is important so don’t skip this step. Allow the batter to rest for at least 10 minutes before dipping and frying.
- Dip the dumplings
Be sure your frozen dumplings are free from any ice or water on the outside. Wipe them down with a clean kitchen towel to ensure the oil doesn’t spit when you slide the gyoza into the oil.
- Fry the Gyoza Bhajia
Work in small batches and use a cooking thermometer for the most accurate results. Try to aim for 170°C/340°F throughout the cooking process. Initially, the temperature will drop but bring it back up and fry until golden, about 3-4 minutes in total.
What type of Gyoza or Dumplings should I use for Gyoza Bhajia?
It’s best to work with frozen gyoza for this recipe. The sturdiness of frozen gyoza will allow you to dip the batter without worrying the dumplings will fall apart.
Nine time out of ten, I buy frozen gyoza from my local Asian supermarket over making them at home. They’re something I always keep in the freezer.
Having said this, you can by all means make your own gyoza/dumplings or momos at home using your favourite recipe. Just be sure to freeze the uncooked dumplings solid before you batter and fry them.
How long do Gyoza Bhajia take to cook?
From start to finish, no longer than 30 minutes. I’ve done it in 20 minutes before and it’s so easy!
You do not need to cook the gyoza prior to dipping and frying. Just dunk the frozen gyoza in the bhajia batter and carefully slide them into the hot oil.
5 Tips for making Gyoza Bhajia
- Oil temperature. Keep your oil at a temperature of 170°C/340°F throughout the cooking process. Initially, the temperature will drop due to the gyoza being frozen.
2. Cooking process. Once the Gyoza Bhajia are in the oil, bring it back up to the correct temperature and maintain throughout.
3. Batches. Work in small batches when frying. Do not overcrowd the oil or the temperature is likely to drop.
4. Time. The Gyoza Bhajia should take no longer than 3-4 minutes in the oil. By this time they will cook through.
5. Ice. Be sure your gyoza are free from any ice or excess water. It’s a good idea to wipe off any ice or water using a clean, lint-free kitchen towel before you begin. This will prevent the hot oil and water mixing and spitting at you.
Watch now: How to make Gyoza Bhajia
Can I bake or air fry these Bhajia?
Do not attempt to bake or air fry these Gyoza Bhajia. The batter is far too thin and will just slide off during the cooking process. They must be fried.
You can however, reheat the Gyoza Bhajia in the oven or air fryer. To reheat: Fry the cold Bhajia again in hot oil or place them in a hot oven (about 200°C/400°F) or air fryer for 3-5 minutes until heated through and crispy again.
Other popular types of Bhajia
Crispy Potato Bhajia (Maru’s Bhajia)
Crispy, spiced potato fritters (Potato Bhajia) are the most iconic of bhajias. Here’s a tried and true recipe for Crispy Potato Bhajia that will leave you wanting more.
Onion Bhajia (Kanda Bhajji or Onion Bhaji)
The British Indian restaurant Bhajia of choice. These craggy onion bhajia are made from shredded onions and spices, namely coriander seeds, chilli, garam masala and a small amount of chickpea flour (besan).
An elegant crispy spinach version of Bhajia popular across mostly North India. These Palak Patta Bhajia are a popular Delhi street snack. Top with chutneys, sweetened yoghurt, onions, tomatoes and sev for a blow-your-mind Crispy Spinach Chaat.
Chilli Bhajia (Mirchi Pakoda)
Stuff chillies with a mixture of spiced mashed potato for Chilli Bhajia (Mirchi Pakoda) created for chilli heads. These spicy bhajia are a Rajasthani favourite.
Daal Bhajia are typically made with a mixture of soaked and ground yellow moong daal but can feature any lentils you like. My family make a delicious version with ripe bananas. Sweet, hot and sour, African style.
Mixed Vegetable Bhajia (Vegetable Pakoda/Pakora)
Make mixed vegetable bhajia with any veggies you have leftover. They’re a brilliant raid-the-fridge option. Either shred the veg to make fritters, Onion Bhaji style or dip and fry whole/in chunks like Japanese tempura. The choice is yours.
I can’t wait to share a recipe for Paneer Pakoda with you. They’re a personal favourite. Slices of paneer sandwiched with green coriander chutney, dipped in Bhajia batter and then deep fried. A Punjabi classic with tonnes of heart.
Strictly speaking, vada are more of a dumpling than bhajia (fritters) but I can’t miss them off the list. These soft and crispy tapioca pearl and fluffy mashed potato vada are a vrat (fasting) staple. They have no onions or garlic, yet they still pack heaps of flavour.
How to serve Gyoza Bhajia | Ideas for dips and chutneys
The recipe card below includes a delicious and easy Ginger-Soy Dipping Sauce. It pairs perfectly with these Asian-fusion Gyoza Bhajia.
If you’re after an Indian-style chutney, try one or more of these 4 Indian Chutney recipes.
You might also like these recipes
Gyoza Bhajia (Dumpling Bhajia) recipe
For the Gyoza Bhajia:
- 28 frozen vegetable dumplings
- 225 g chickpea flour
- 50 g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 3/4 tsp fine salt
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/4 tsp chilli powder
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp citric acid
- 1/4 tsp ajwain seeds
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander chopped
- 1 small green chilli finely chopped (optional)
- 2 tbsp oil
- 310 ml warm water
- 1 L sunflower or rapeseed oil for deep frying
For the soy-ginger dipping sauce:
- 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 3 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger
- 1/2 tsp chilli
- 1 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 tsp chopped spring onion or dried spring onion
For the Bhajia batter:
- Take chickpea flour in a large bowl. Add the plain flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, turmeric, chilli powder, baking powder, citric acid, ajwain, fresh coriander, chopped green chilli and 2 tbsp oil.
- Gradually add the water in stages, whisking all the time until you have a smooth batter. Rest the batter for 10 minutes.
To make the dipping sauce:
- Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
To fry the Gyoza Bhajia:
- Heat around 1L oil in a deep pan, wok or kadai suitable for deep frying. The temperature of the oil should be 170°C/340°F.
- One at a time, dip the frozen gyoza in the rested batter and shake off any excess. Carefully place the dipped gyoza in the oil. Work in small batches to ensure the oil temperature doesn't drop too low. Fry each batch of Gyoza Bhajia for 3-4 minutes until golden all over.
- Lift the fried gyoza out of the oil and drain on a plate lined with absorbent kitchen towel.
- Serve immediately with the prepared dipping sauce or your favourite chutneys.
- Do not attempt to bake or air fry these Gyoza Bhajia. The batter is far too thin and will just slide off during the cooking process. They must be fried.
- You can however, reheat the Gyoza Bhajia in the oven or air fryer. To reheat: Fry the cold Bhajia again in hot oil or place them in a hot oven (about 200°C/400°F) or air fryer for 3-5 minutes until heated through and crispy again.
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If you like this, you’ll love my Vegetable Manchurian recipe