Friday, November 29, 2013

Gyoza (Japanese dumplings)

Hi!  It's been a while :P  Anyway no matter, let's get on with it :) 

Gyoza - they were a love affair from day one - I love these little guys!  so tasty and moreish! There are very few dumplings I do not like, but I must say that these have a special place in my heart (belly) heheh :) 

my favourite dumpling of all :) 
Apparently, they are Chinese in origin (as all this kind of dumpling seem to be), and they are made all over Asia (and the world) with some variations.  These are Gyoza, the Japanese take on these lovely little dumplings :)

I looked at a few recipes and they all seemed quite similar.  I ended up using the Hairy Bikers recipe for the mix, mostly because I like them, and also because of their informative video on how to fold the dumplings (see their take on this here)

I also bought the ready rolled and cut gyoza wrappers from my local Asian grocer.  There were around 50 sheets in the pack, and I had leftover filling so I think next  time, I'll just make my own dough!  

I used Pork as the filling, but you can make them with a variety of fillings!  You can serve them as a dumpling feast, or freeze in sets of 12 or so to have them ready for the next gyoza craving.  Now that I've found out how easy (albeit a little time consuming to fill) they are, I'll be sure to make them again! 

Gyoza: Japanese Dumplings

If you are making the dough yourself, prepare it and cut out circles from the thinly rolled dough.  A hint is that if they are well floured, you can stack them in preparation for use.

For the filling, I used:

500 g pork mince
1 pak choi, finely shredded
3 spring onions (green part only), finely sliced**
1 inch ginger, peeled and finely grated 
4 garlic cloves, grated
chilli flakes, salt and pepper (I used around 1/2 teaspoon of each)
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Clockwise from top: pork mince, chopped pak choi, sesame and oyster, the wrappers, ginger, garlic, spring onion, chilli, salt and pepper.
The method couldn't' be simpler; Simply toss into a med-large bowl and mix until all ingredients are well combined. I found my hands did the best job for this, but you could use a spoon.  Chill in the fridge until you're ready to move to the step of filling and folding. 

To make the gyoza:

Prepared filling (as above)
a small bowl or cup of water for sealing
Gyoza wrappers

On a clean counter top or large chopping board, lay out a few gyoza wrappers, and place a teaspoon or so of filling in the centre of each one.  

Ready to be folded
Wet the outer circle of dough and fold over, making sure you seal well without tearing.  Flip them so that the folded bit is on top, and make small folds in the pastry to give the gyoza their cute little parcel shape.  For a video on this method, go to the Hairy Bikers video here.

Foreground: Folded over and sealed.  Background: Flipped up and folded into the gyoza shape - ready to cook!
Repeat until you run out of filling and/or wrappers.  I laid them out on a plate and covered lightly with cling and put them in the fridge until I'm ready to cook them.

To cook and serve:

Vegetable oil for frying
Sesame oil
Have prepared on the side:  Hot water
A prepared dumpling soy/vinegar/chilli dipping sauce, or in my case, I mixed my own: 

Dipping sauce
Chilli/garlic in oil (you can get this from asian food stores)
Chinese vinegar if you have any, which i didn't, so used a squeeze of lime instead
a tiny amount of finely sliced spring onion (green part)

To make the dipping sauce, simply mix in a small bowl. place small bowl on serving plate for dumplings.

You will need a frypan with a well fitting lid for this step (or at least one that fits tightly enough to prevent too much steam escaping!).  Heat a tablespoon or so of oil on a low-medium heat (enough to sizzle, not enough to burn), and place the dumplings neatly in the pan, giving them a little space, but no need for too much!  You will probably need to do this in batches.

I have flipped one over so that you can see how golden it is.  This is just before adding the water to the pan to steam the dumplings
Fry until they are golden underneath, and then add about 100 mls of water to the pan and close the lid, allowing the dumplings to steam for a couple of minutes.  
Remove the lid and lightly shake to loosen the dumplings, and continue to fry until the filling has cooked, about 2 minutes or so.  Most of the water would have evaporated at this point.

Steamy little parcels of delicate goodness!!
Serve immediately with the dipping sauce :D


Some notes:

Prepare (chop, measure etc) everything beforehand.  It seems to work with all asian foods, or anything that requires a bit of this and a bit of that :)  

They are ready to eat as soon as they are served - do it straight away, or just refridgerate raw before the cooking stage - it really only takes a few minutes to cook!

Spring onions:  Since I only used the green parts, I placed the white parts, trimmed roots and all inside some water in a glass.  I'm seeing if the shoots will grow back - i plan not to have to buy spring onions again! :) I will report on this :)

There are plenty of methods and recipes for gyoza fillings and dough out there - have a look around  for some interesting ones!  I would like to learn to make all different types of dumplings - it's a great activity for the inevitable huge amount of rainy weekends that are going to be my first English winter! 

You can store them by freezing them uncooked, and simply starting from the cooking phase from frozen.  I think you'd need to lengthen the steaming time, possibly by adding a bit more water in stages for steaming? I'm not sure.. but this is how I'd do it anyway :) 


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