Date Gyōza (Japanese Dumpling)

Category – Starters/Main Course; Cuisine type – Japanese

Courtesy: ZUMA

Gyōzas are Japanese versions of dumplings. ZUMA is known for its authentic but non-traditional take on Japanese food. Not surprising then, that these Date Gyōzas were created specially and added to the ZUMA menu during last Ramadan.

For the printable recipes

Spinach – 1kg
Shallots – 10, finely chopped
Garlic cloves – 10, finely chopped
Water Chestnuts – 500g, roughly chopped
Rice Vinegar – 150ml
Table Salt – ½ tsp
Olive oil
Sesame Oil
Gyōza wrappers or Wonton wrappers, cut into rounds

Fried leeks
Dried chilli julienne
Spring Onion, chopped
2 tbsp Wafu dressing*

Method of Preparation
• Sauté the Spinach with Olive Oil, Shallot and Garlic until soft. Squeeze dry and roughly chop. Leave to cool then mix with Vinegar, Water Chestnuts and Salt
• Place 1tbsp of spinach mix in the centre of the Gyōza wrappers, fold in & pleating the edges, and adding ½ date to each Gyōza
• Mix all garnish ingredients and keep aside
• In a large frying pan with lid, heat a little oil over a medium high heat. Place the dumplings in the pan, pleated side up and cook for three minutes until browned on the bottom
• Pour in ¼ cup water – be careful, it will hiss and splatter – then drizzle ½ tsp Sesame Oil around the edge. Cover with the lid to trap in the moisture. Then lower the heat to keep the liquid at a bare simmer
• Cook for two minutes until the wrappers appear translucent and the Gyōzas feel firm. Remove the lid and cook until the water has evaporated and you hear a sizzling sound
• Garnish and serve hot, accompanied by the Wafu dressing

* Wafu is a ‘Japanese-style dressing’, a Vinaigrette-type salad dressing based on Soy Sauce, popular in Japan. The standard Wafu dressing consists of a mixture of Japanese Soy Sauce, Rice Vinegar and Vegetable oil. There are many variations flavoured with additional ingredients such as Aonori, Shiso, grated Ginger, Umeboshi puree, Wasabi or citrus fruits such as Yuzu. (Info from the web)

Notes on Gyōzas
Traditionally, the Japanese Gyōzas are very lightly flavored with Salt, Soy, and the wrappers are much thinner than regular Chinese or Nepalese dumplings – they are almost translucent. The most popular preparation is the pan-fried style called Yaki-gyōza, in which the dumpling is first fried on one flat side, creating a crispy skin. Then water is added and the pan is sealed with a lid until the upper part of the Gyōza is steamed. Other popular methods include boiled Sui-gyōza and deep fried Age-gyōza. {Info from the web}

Chef’s Note and Secret Tips
Is it really possible to try and recreate these dishes at home and how source authentic Tuna in Dubai for an authentic Japanese experience at home? Yes, it is possible. Chef Reith Othman, the Executive Chef of ZUMA gives out more tips –  one can buy some of the ingredients here in Dubai such as Deans Trading in Karama (why am I not surprised?), where they sell many Japanese ingredients. One can get the tuna from Waitrose and Market & Platters in the JBR – Marina area. Though not exactly the ZUMA grade, but they are good enough. {Waitrose Website; Market and Platter: +97144504466;}

{A complete listing of the recipes that I’m going to share over this period}


ZUMA is an experience

I am ZUMA-fied!
Once you’ve been to ZUMA, you are supposed to scream out I am ZUMA-fied! I’m utterly, absolutely, devotedly ZUMAfied. Based on the traditional Japanese izakaya style or the informal eating and drinking in which dishes are brought to the table continuously throughout the meal, what strikes me about ZUMA is the simplicity in presentation of each dish and how each of dish hits all the right combination of flavours. Recently, ZUMA introduced five new dishes to its a la carte Summer menu – Tuna and Langoustine Tartar with ginger and garlic yuzu dressing (recipe coming soon), thinly sliced Splendid Alfonsino with Kabosu lime and Chilli Onion relish, fatty Tuna Sashmi (yes, recipe coming for this one too), Sesame Chilli Ponzu, Grilled Broccoli and Shiso Butter Panko and the Chicken Wings Tempura with a spicy Lemon dressing. What can I say? I was ZUMA-fied again!

What makes ZUMA different?
Probably the very factors that differentiate ZUMA from the rest, contributes to the image that the restaurant has – it is exclusive, top-quality and it is pricey. Most of the ingredients are sourced from Japan. I end up asking Chef Reith – considering that I do have an affinity for locavorism, can these not be locally sourced? The warm waters of UAE does not give out a catch which offers the same taste that a ZUMA fish dish requires. He explained more on using and sourcing of the Tuna. ‘The tuna variety that we look for is a wild catch and we look for a fish which weighs around 100-120 kg. The fish is sold through auction and ZUMA has been lucky enough to get a good grade Tuna at a good price.’ So how much of Tuna does ZUMA require? ‘Every month we use around 180kg of Tuna’. Apart from Tuna, what are the other fresh produce and fish that ZUMA sources from Japan? Different types of fish like Snapper, File fish, Splendid Alfonsino, Baby Squid, all types of seasonal fish and vegetables like Daikon, Spring Onion, Shishito Peppers, fresh edible flowers, herbs and seasonal fruits.

Signing off from ZUMA
At an odd hour on a late afternoon, I got to see many things inside the restaurant that I wouldn’t be able to witness at a regular dining hour. The entire place was filled with the fragrance of the Kabosu lime. And the young Chef diligently kept on scraping the peels from a basket full of these limes (above). Neither my incessant clicking nor my incessant chatter deterred him from his objective. His meticulous chopping highlighted one of the philosophies of ZUMA – consistency in creating good quality food all in all the ZUMA restaurants across the world, something that the founder Chef Rainer Becker has been inspiring his team to achieve. I loved the space – with so much of natural light filtering through the wall to wall glass windows and groups of different coloured couches segregating the entire space into individual lounging areas, while at the same time fusing into one huge lounge. I love the taste of the food that is served. I love the look of the food that is served. And I love plunging into the soft and comfy red couches, although red is not my colour!

ZUMA: Is an award winning Japanese fine dining restaurant (listed 87 in San Pellegrino’s ‘The World’s 50 Best Restaurants’; Best Business Lunch, Best Japanese in Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2013; Best Lounge Bar in Time Out Nightlife Awards 2013; Best Asian in BBC Good Food Awards 2013)

Location: Gate Village 06, DIFC
Tel No: +9714425 5660; E-mail:
More info: Website

Ramadan timing
ZUMA Restaurant and Lounge:
Lunch: Sun – Thu 12:30 – 15:00, Fri – Sat 12:30 – 15:30 (Note: Friday Brunch will pause over summer and resume on Friday 4 October, 2013); Dinner: Sat – Weds 19:00 – 11:00, Thurs – Fri 19:00 – 12:00am
ZUMA Bar: Sat – Weds 12:00pm – 12:00am, Thurs – Fri 12:00pm – 1:00am; Bar Snacks menu: Available 12:30pm – 12:00am all week; Alcohol will only be available after Iftaar


My previous post chalks out all about Ramdan in Dubai | Where All You Can Eat. During this entire month, I will be sharing special Ramadan recipes, gathered from many signature restaurants of top hotels in Dubai and around the region. I know that many people do not go out during Ramadan and prefer to cook at home. Most would like to cook special dishes, but they don’t have access to these restaurant recipes. Each hotel that I have contacted has graciously sent me the recipes. I have been inspired by Dima Sharif, who has a tradition of posting daily recipes on her blog during Ramadan. This year, she explains the tradition of Ramadan as it is observed in different countries. Do join her in her journey as well – Ramadan Special 2013 – A Focus on Ramadan Culture & The Spirit of Ramadan. As she says, I am discussing all that and more throughout the 30 days of the Holy month, so do check out the posts, and I assure you by the end of the month, anyone who’s read the posts will have explored Ramadan fully this year, and got a better understanding of the Ramadan’. Also, do enter my blog giveaway – Theme Night Dinner invite for two’, courtesy The Address Marina, as it runs throughout the month of Ramadan.

Click here to enter the Giveaway!

Do join me as I do special recipe postings from signature restaurants in Dubai – each hotel I have contacted have been really gracious and have handed over their special recipe. I hope you try out these recipes (assuming that a restaurant recipe is not difficult to cook!), send me pictures and do keep connected over Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. Enjoy your summers and yes, do show off a ZUMA recipe to your guests. Happy Cooking!

Unblogging it all… Ishita

Disclaimer: Only the Gyōza image has been provided by Zuma, the rest of the pictures have been clicked by me. The opinions stated here are my own and are independent. I hope you enjoy reading the posts with lot of visuals. Please do not use any material from this post. You can see more pictures of my travel and food journey here.

More on the various aspects of Ramadan from my blogger friends

Spirit of Ramadan – Dima Sharif
• The many sides of Ramadan and Iftar in Dubai – My Custard Pie
• My Ramadan: Suhoor through the Years – Arabic Zeal
• Where can I lunch over Ramadan in Dubai?…oh and breakfast too please – FooDiva
• Ramadan and iftar – what it means for the food traveller – The Hedonista
• Ramadan 101 – Coffee, Cakes and Running

Written by IshitaUnblogged

A Culinary Travel Blog by a Bong Gourmet. From Dubai, Kolkata & the world beyond, street food to fine dining, recipes to chef talks, it pens down experiences. With 2 kids in tow!


  1. Dining at Zuma is always a gastronomic experience. Their recipe for gyozas seems great. I usually make mine with minced chicken. The wafu dressing sound amazing. Going to attempt the dressing when I next make gyozas. Thanks for sharing this:))

    1. And imagine my excitement seeing all the chopping and setting up – I love this about my food blogging – I’m visiting places and getting to see the unusual stuff. I’ve always wanted to do this – bring restaurant recipes out in a simple way so that they can be tried at home. Hence the questions about sourcing of the ingredients in Dubai. Everytime I’ve visited a hotel, my mum or mum-in-law would ask how the food was and how did the Chef make it!

      1. I am so impressed you get the time to answer these little comments ! Well done Ishita.. warmest regards,

        PS would love to contribute to the Foodie Mag you run as well…?! Kurkuri Bhindi, Beetroot Cutlets or a restaurant you haven’t done as yet? THANK YOU and Happy 2015 !

        1. Sure… can you send me your email id please… and yes, I try to reply to all comments – if your reader makes an effort to leave a comment, we can’t be so busy not replying it back!

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