Saturday, 30 November 2013

Pork & Ginger Gyoza with Dipping Sauce

Gyoza actually originated in China, but as with many other things it's gotten assimilated into everyday Japanese cooking. Closely related to shumai and wonton, the filling is usually pork- based, with cabbage, spring onion, garlic or garlic chives, and ginger although there are many variations.

You really need to have as thin a gyoza skin as possible - and of course you can always make your own but even in Japan thin, ready-made gyoza skins are usually used. I think my dumpling skins, bought in Chinatown were for wonton and I’m honestly not sure if it would have made a difference: I think my technique was more of an issue really!

The usual method for cooking gyoza is to “steam-fry” them so that they are crispy on the bottom and smooth and slippery on the top. It can be tricky to get it right to be honest - when you add the water you need to be sure not to add too much: obviously it is easy to add extra if needed but if you add too much at the outset you’re a bit stuffed really.

Gyoza are a traditional accompaniment to ramen in Japan, so I cooked these when I made ramen number 2 of the preceding post. The recipe came from a recent issue of Olive magazine but since making this I did of course go to Tokyo and gyoza were one of the things we made at the cooking class that I attended. That recipe will follow soon - and thankfully my technique improved a fair bit.

One final point to make: the Olive recipe didn’t specify light or dark soy sauce (and I’m used to the distinction with most regional Chinese recipes I follow) so I used dark but, as this was clearly an error, do use light soy if you can.

Oh, and by the way, a good tip is that you can freeze any extra gyoza that you don't think you'll eat in the first sitting (so to speak). The best way to do this is to put them on a metal baking tray in a single layer and pop the tray in the freezer. Once the gyoza are frozen you can then put them back in the freezer in a freezer bag or plastic container and TA-DAA - they won't get stuck together, and you can take out as many as you want, when you want.

Pork & Ginger Gyoza
makes about 20

100g spring greens, shredded, blanched for 2 minutes then drained & cooled
2cm ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, crushed
200g minced pork
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 spring onions, finely chopped
20 gyoza / dumpling wrappers
1 tbsp sunflower oil
For the Dipping Sauce
3 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 red chili, finely chopped

Squeeze out any excess water from the greens then finely chop. Put in a bowl with the ginger, garlic, pork, spring onions, soy and 1 tbsp egg white.

Season then mix well and set aside to marinate for about an hour if possible.

Make your dumpling assembly station ready: you'll need a little bowl of water, a baking tray lined with parchment, the dumpling wrappers, the filling and a teaspoon. Keep the dumpling skins under a damp cloth or in the plastic pack they come in to keep them from drying out.

Put a skin / wrapper on your palm and using the tip of your finger moisten the edges with water. Put a teaspoonful of filling in the middle - try not to overfill them or you'll have trouble closing them up.

Bring the 2 sides together to make a crescent shape and pinch firmly in the middle. Fold over the skin on the side facing you, from both sides to make pleats, pinching firmly as you go. Place on the baking tray so that the top edges are straight up and push down slightly to flatten the bottom. Repeat with the other dumpling wrappers until you are out of filling.

When ready to serve, heat a little vegetable oil in a large non-stick frying pan that has a lid. Put in the gyoza flat side down and cook over a medium to high heat for a couple of minutes until the bottoms have started to crisp up and are golden. Lower the heat.

Add 125ml of water to the pan, immediately popping the lid on.

Steam for 5-10 minutes or until the wrappers are tender and look sort of transparent

When the water is almost all gone, take off the lid and turn the heat up to high to evaporate the rest. Place on a serving plate and repeat with any remaining gyoza.

Mix the dipping sauce ingredients together in a small, shallow dipping bowl and serve.

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