Spring time yet? Gyoza fest, and bento time.

7 Mar

My husband and I have a very interesting relationship.  Exhausting, many acquaintances and family members may say.  Interactive, I say.  The term, “Yes dear” seemed to have never made it to my husband’s list of vocabulary words utilized at home.  Instead, it is a constant battle between two incredibly stubborn individuals trying to stand their ground.

Yet, I know if I had simply settled with a “Yes Man” I ultimately would have been bored out of my relationship.

However, we both agree on one thing.  I make some *MEAN* (read: excellent) gyozas.  And this past weekend was the day I decided, a gyoza party was long overdue.

Here are the ingredients (approx 64 pieces)

1 package gyoza skins – These are conventional – Golden Dragon brand ROUND gyoza skins – my mother always used this brand, which is why I haven’t ventured to other brands, or sought out organic ones.  Defrost them in the fridge in advance.  Otherwise you will have to deal with a very aggravating block of rigid, thin, crepe-like skins that are brittle and hard to work with.

1 lbs ground turkey

1/2 block firm tofu – well-drained.  I cut the tofu block into 2, saved the other to add as the gu or contents of miso soup, and the other half, I put into a colander, and added a weighted bowl on top to drain out all the liquid.  I did this about an hour before prep.  The drained tofu was added into the processor with the veggies below.

4 large leaves of cabbage (can be any type of green), blanched.  Squeeze ALL liquid out of the cabbage. 

Have a small “dipping” bowl of water for sealing the gyozas

1 cup of boiling water (for use during cooking)

Add into a food processor, the drained tofu, the cabbage above, and 3 peeled and quartered carrots, 4 scallions, 1 inch piece of ginger, 1 head of garlic – I put these into the food processor and minced finely.

I then added 1 tbs soy sauce, 1 tbs sesame oil, and mixed the meat and vegetables well with my hands.  Once the ingredients were mixed well, I put it into a bowl, and then into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

I enlisted the help of my older daughter who pulled up her booster seat at the table, and this is what we did:

Take a gyoza skin in your hand.  I’m a leftie when cooking, so I put the skin into my left hand, added a rounded teaspoon of the mixture into the middle of the gyoza skin.  I then took my ring finger, wet it with water, and ran it across the top half edge of the gyoza skin.  This will be the glue of the dumpling edge.

I then folded the gyoza skin in half, upwards, the edges meetings.  I then fluted the outside skin, pressing the edges together, creating a seal.

I realize I should have taken blow-by-blow pictures, but didn’t think of this until NOW.  Sorry dear reader.  I spent quite a few minutes adjusting the ones my daughter made for me, and trying not to seal my fingers together with turkey-tofu mixture and flour-glue.

I did manage a mid-way shot of the dumplings being made.

In a medium-sized frying pan (preferably with a lid) , I added 1/2 tbs canola oil, and set over medium high heat.  Once it heated up, I arranged the gyozas into the pan, the pieces in neat lines in the pan.  I fried them until the bottoms browned – about 4 – 6 minutes, depending on your stove/pan, and then added 3 tbs water into the pan, and put a lid on the pan.  This process steams the dumplings.

Once the liquid in the pan is cooked away, lift the lid, and take a spatula to lift remove the gyozas.  People who are very comfortable will be able to loosen the gyozas from the pan, and flip the entire frying pan over a platter.  The browned bottoms should be served on top. 

I don’t have the confidence to flip everything successfully, so I take a spatula, and remove columns of gyozas and put them on a platter.

I serve the gyozas with a dipping sauce of ponzu, or you can also make a dipping sauce with soy sauce and lemon juice or rice vinegar.  I also make a spicy oil (my version of la-yu) with some Korean kochukaru or dried, red chili flakes, mixed with some sesame oil.  I then mix it together, and let it sit for a few minutes.

As a side dish, I had steamed rice – we had a dear friend over for dinner, so I actually had plain rice (well, sprouted brown rice), miso soup with cubed tofu, wakame (seaweed) garnished with scallions, edamame, and steamed green beans with sesame dressing, or goma – ae

The green beans dressing is: 

2 tbs roasted sesame seeds – I actually have a ceramic suribachi or mortar and pestle which my mother sent.  I ground up the sesame seeds, well, and gradually added the wet ingredients below until it came together as a dressing.

1 tsp mirin (or sake)

1 tsp soy sauce

1/2 tsp rice vinegar

Grind, and mix the dressing well.  Adjust seasoning if necessary.  Toss together with the cooked beans and serve.  **This dressing also works well with blanched broccoli, blanched and well-drained (WRUNG) spinach or watercress – or any cooked vegetable with a subtle flavor that will be complemented by the dressing.  In my case, I should consider beets too!

I had about 18 pieces that suffered a sticky pan, and were absolutely demolished as I tried to get them to the platter.  These mistakes were gradually consumed by… The Chef.  What better way to hide your mistakes than to eat them? 

My daughters both liked their dinner, and my older one offered to make them again with me, very soon.

Today’s bento included:

Little turkey patties formed and fried – if you are not careful with the meat:dumpling skin ratio, you may run out of one or the other.  I fried these patties, and added to my daughter’s lunch.

Edamame – conventional

Roasted beets – quartered

Steamed rice (sprouted brown rice only), topped with sesame seeds and two pieces of takuan, or pickled radish.

Green beans with sesame dressing

Hopefully we had a hit lunch today. 

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3 Responses to “Spring time yet? Gyoza fest, and bento time.”

  1. PersephonesKitchen March 21, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    This looks awesome. I’m thinking I should give it a go.

    • spenmax March 22, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

      I hope you do – it’s fun for everyone, once all the preparations are done. My mother always suggests putting in a high ratio of non-meat ingredients, with all liquids drained well. Keeps the dumplings lighter, and more complex in flavor.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Nori week « Spenmax's Blog - March 10, 2011

    […] lunch included two gyozas from the weekend’s Gyoza fest.  I reminded my daughter she helped make them, and she nodded solemnly.  “I’m going […]

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