Crispy gau gee is a popular fried dumpling, similar in taste to a fried won ton but different in shape. It wasn’t until I began writing this post that I realized that this is one of those Hawaii-only Chinese dishes (like cake noodles) that you rarely find outside of the islands. They are easy to make, don’t require any complicated folding methods, and are so tasty. It is surprising that crispy gau gee hasn’t made its way beyond Hawaii.
What is crispy gau gee
Gau gee are simple filled dumplings, folded in a rectangular, and deep fried. They are typically eaten on their own or served with a dipping sauce of soy sauce and Chinese hot mustard. They are eaten as an appetizer or snack or as an accompaniment to a Chinese meal.
The filling is similar to other dumpling fillings – a combination of ground pork, minced shrimp, water chestnuts, green onions, Chinese parsley, and seasonings. As with other dumpling fillings, a binder of egg, breadcrumbs, or cornstarch is not needed. Unlike a meatball, you want the filling well-mixed and homogenous.
If you have been to any local party or potluck, you have probably seen an aluminum tray piled with these fried dumplings. And even if you aren’t at a party, you don’t have to look far to get some. Most Chinese restaurants in Hawaii have crispy gau gee on the menu (check out Honolulu Magazine‘s top places to get crispy gau gee).
Forming the gau gee
Wrapping the gau gee is simple – place a slightly heaped tablespoon of filling in the middle of a won ton wrapper and fold into a rectangle, sealing the edges with a little water. You will see that sometimes the edges may come apart a bit during frying – this is okay, it creates more crispy edges to enjoy!
You should fry the gau gee shortly after forming them. If you let them sit too long, the moisture from the filling will seep into the wrapper, causing it to get soggy and tear.
Storing, re-heating, freezing
Gau gee are best eaten fresh. If you have any leftovers, re-heat them in an air fryer or toaster oven to regain the crispiness. Don’t re-heat in the microwave.
If you are making a large batch, you can freeze the gau gee before you fry them. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and place the gau gee in a single layer, not touching. Place the pan in the freezer until the gau gee are frozen through then transfer to a zip top bag for storage.Print
These fried dumplings are a popular, Hawaii-only Chinese snack, great for potlucks or your next family gathering.
For the filling
1 pound ground pork
1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and minced
1/4 cup green onion (scallions), chopped
3 tablespoons Chinese parsley (cilantro), chopped
1 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts drained, finely chopped
4 large, dried shiitake or Chinese black mushrooms
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
48 won ton wrappers (about 1 pound)
Vegetable oil for frying
Soy sauce and Chinese hot mustard for dipping
For the filling
Soak the mushrooms in warm water until softened. Squeeze out excess water, remove tough stems, and finely chop.
In a mixing bowl, add all the filling ingredients and mix well, making sure the mixture is well blended.
For the gau gee
Place one rounded tablespoon of filling on one half of a won ton wrapper.
Using water, moisten the edges of the wrapper. Fold in half to form a rectangle. Press edges to seal. Finish all 48 wrappers.*
Heat vegetable oil to 350 degrees (you don’t want the oil too hot or the wrapper will burn before the filling is cooked through). Deep fry until won tons are golden brown (about 4-5 minutes). Drain on paper towels.
Serve warm, plain or with soy sauce-mustard sauce (mixed to taste).
*Fold won tons just before frying. Don’t let sit too long or the wrappers will absorb moisture from the filling. You may also freeze the won tons at this point by laying on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer, not touching. Once frozen solid you may store in a zip top bag. Fry from frozen, don’t defrost first.
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Dumplings
- Cuisine: Chinese
- Calories: 66.12
- Sugar: 0.29 g.
- Sodium: 137.36 mg.
- Fat: 2.72 g.
- Saturated Fat: 0.83 g.
- Carbohydrates: 6.15 g.
- Fiber: 0.36 g.
- Protein: 4.05 g.
- Cholesterol: 15.56 g.
Keywords: fried, pork, shrimp