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How to Make Perfect Gau Gee at Home

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Whether you’re a seasoned party host or just looking for a fun and flavorful dish to try, Gau Gee is the perfect option. It’s easy to make ahead, portable for potlucks, and universally crowd-pleasing.

close up of a white plate with gau gee

The Story Behind Gau Gee

Chinese food is very popular in Hawai’i — it’s one my family’s favorite takeout options. It makes sense as many Chinese immigrants moved to the islands in the mid-1800s to work on farms and plantations. They brought their culinary traditions with them, and today, Chinese food is very much integrated into local Hawaiian cuisine.

Gau Gee, also known as fried wontons, are a staple appetizer in local Hawaiian cuisine. Their origins can be traced back to Chinese dumplings (har gow) brought to the islands by Chinese immigrants. Over time, these crispy dumplings evolved to incorporate local ingredients and preferences, resulting in the unique gau gee we know and love today. A testament to the fusion of cultures that make Hawaiian cuisine so unique.

Made with pork, shrimp, and all of my favorite Asian sauces and oils and then deep-fried, it’s easy to see why these are so tasty. They’re similar to wontons. Plus, the whole thing comes together super quickly. 

Consider serving up some crispy gau gee for your next party, get-together, or simply when the craving hits. 

hand holding a gau gee

Gau Gee Recipe Key Ingredients

  • Ground Pork. Gau gee is typically made with ground pork, but you can swap it out for another protein of your choice.
  • Shrimp. The same goes for shrimp, I love to include it in my recipe. Make sure to peel and devein the shrimp first.  If you have an allergy or prefer not to include seafood you can swap it out for another protein or omit it all together.  
  • Green Onion. For added color and flavor.
  • Water Chestnut. Mild, fresh, and subtly sweet, water chestnuts add flavor and texture to the filling.
  • Mirin. Japanese sweet rice wine made from glutinous rice, mirin is slightly sweet. It pairs really well with the shoyu and oyster sauce.
  • Shoyu. Rich and savory, shoyu is Japanese soy sauce. I love the added umami flavor it brings to this gau gee recipe.
  • Oyster Sauce. Don’t let the name fool you — oyster sauce doesn’t have an overpowering fishy taste. Like shoyu, it boasts rich, savory, and umami flavors.
  • Sesame Oil. Rounding out the sauces and oils needed for this dish is nutty sesame oil. This is a powerful flavor. You don’t need much.
  • Sugar. All of these savory flavors need to be balanced with a touch of sweetness.
  • Cornstarch. Acts as a thickening agent for the filling.
  • Wonton Wrappers. The crispy wrapping for the filling. Make them homemade or grab some from your local grocery store.
gau gee ingredients

How to make perfect Gau Gee

Make the filling. Add the pork, shrimp, green onion, water chestnut, cornstarch, mirin, shoyu, oyster sauce, garlic, sesame oil, sugar, salt, and pepper to a large bowl and mix until well combined.

Assemble. Place the wonton wrappers on a clean work surface and add about 1-2 teaspoons of filling onto each wrapper. Dip your finger in water and brush it around the edge of the wrapper. Fold in half lengthwise to create a rectangle, and push the edges together to seal. Repeat the process with the remaining wrappers and filling.

Fry. Heat the cooking oil over medium-high heat to 350 degrees F. Carefully place 3-4 dumplings in the oil and fry for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil. Repeat with the rest of the dumplings, then serve immediately. Enjoy!

Tips

  • Prep the ingredients with care. As most of the ingredients will go into the filling, you need to be careful to chop, slice, and dice them into evenly sized-pieces. That way each dumpling has a bit of everything!
  • Taste the filling. I suggest cooking a small portion of the filling before you assemble the dumplings to check for seasoning. That way you can adjust if needed before frying.
  • Seal Properly: Make sure the wonton wrappers are sealed well to prevent filling from leaking during frying. Dip your fingers in water. The extra moisture will seal the wonton wrappers up nicely.
  • Oil Temperature: Fry at 350°F for the perfect golden brown crunch.
  • Consider steaming instead. This is a traditional recipe that’s meant to be crispy, which is why I’m frying my dumplings! That said, they can also be steamed if you don’t want the excess oil. 
plate of gau gee

Frequently Asked Questions about Crispy Gau Gee

What is crispy gau gee made of?

Crispy gau gee is made with pork, shrimp, water chestnuts, green onions, and several oils, sauces, and seasonings. The ingredients are mixed together and then wrapped in wonton shells and then deep-fried until golden brown and crispy.

Where is gau gee from?

Gau gee is a local Hawaiian snack or appetizer that is popular with locals. You can find it at many Chinese restaurants in Hawai’i and it’s often found at backyard parties and get-togethers. Everyone loves the stuff!

What dipping sauces go with this gau gee recipe?

You can pair your gau gee recipe with a mixture of soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and chili oil or chili flakes. These would also taste great with hoisin sauce or even a simple sweet and sour sauce or hot mustard and shoyu. Choose your favorite based on your preferences.

Other Chinese Recipes You’ll Love

close up of a white plate with gau gee

Gau Gee

Relle Lum
Whether you're a seasoned party host or just looking for a fun and flavorful dish to try, Gau Gee is the perfect option. It's easy to make ahead, portable for potlucks, and universally crowd-pleasing.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 24 dumplings
Calories 81 kcal

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Make the filling: To a large bowl add pork, shrimp, green onion, water chestnut, cornstarch, mirin, shoyu, oyster sauce, garlic, sesame oil, sugar, salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined.
  • Place about 1-2 teaspoons of filling onto the wrapper. Dip your finger in water and brush the water around the edge of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half lengthwise to create a rectangle and push the edges together to create a seal. Set aside.
  • Continue with the rest of the mixture and wrappers.
  • Heat your cooking oil of choice over medium high heat to 350F. 
  • Carefully place the dumpling in the hot oil and fry for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
  • Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel or cooling rack over a cookie sheet to drain excess oil. Serve immediately and ENJOY!

Notes

Tips

  • Prep the ingredients with care. As most of the ingredients will go into the filling, you need to be careful to chop, slice, and dice them into evenly sized-pieces. That way each dumpling has a bit of everything!
  • Taste the filling. I suggest cooking a small portion of the filling before you assemble the dumplings to check for seasoning. That way you can adjust if needed before frying.
  • Seal Properly: Make sure the wonton wrappers are sealed well to prevent filling from leaking during frying. Dip your fingers in water. The extra moisture will seal the wonton wrappers up nicely.
  • Oil Temperature: Fry at 350°F for the perfect golden brown crunch.
  • Consider steaming instead. This is a traditional recipe that’s meant to be crispy, which is why I’m frying my dumplings! That said, they can also be steamed if you don’t want the excess oil.

Nutrition

Serving: 1dumplingCalories: 81kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 5gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0.5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 201mgPotassium: 61mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 0.4gVitamin A: 8IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 1mg
Keyword dim sum, dumplings, gau gee
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gau gee

By on June 1st, 2024

About Relle

Aloha, my name is Relle and welcome to my little home on the internet where I like to share all my favorite Hawaiian recipes (and local ones too).

I am a wife, mom of two, and nurse practitioner here in the beautiful state of Hawai’i. I was born and raised in Hawai’i and I am of native Hawaiian descent. In my spare time I love to cook and bake and I have compiled many of my favorite recipes here for you to enjoy.

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2 thoughts on “How to Make Perfect Gau Gee at Home”

  1. 5 stars
    Relle, thanks for this fantastic recipe! Made these yesterday! These are the best! GREAT FLAVOR! Just the right proportions of ingredients. I did use a whole can of water chestnuts because the extra crunch is great! This is a recipe that will live forever in our house. Will make sure the ingredients are always on hand so we can make these whenever we want. Did I mention how quick and easy they are to make?! Of course, these will be great for entertaining but also “just because!”

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