Tag Archives: gyoza

Gyoza is what I want!

3 Jan

Dear Reader –
My apologies that my entry does not include a photo of the final, cooked, gyoza (dumpling) platter… 

However, I managed shots leading up to the final product….

At the request of my older daughter, we had gyozas for their birthday dinner.  Of course, they circled the kitchen table with me, and made gyozas, scooping up spoonfuls of the meat mixture, and carefully pressing them into the gyoza skins whose edges they had carefully wet with their fingertips dipped in water.

Ingredients:

1 packet gyoza skins – I like the circle shaped skins from Nanka Seimen.  I pick these up at the Japanese food store – either at Nara, in Port Washington, NY or Shin Nippon Do in Roslyn, NY.

1 lbs ground turkey – from Makinajian Poultry Farm

2 carrots, 2 scallions, 1/2 inch piece of peeled ginger, 3 cloves of garlic, 5 button mushrooms finely minced (through food processor)

Small dish of water – to dip your fingertips to seal the gyoza

I mix the turkey and minced vegetables together in a bowl, well, by hand.  Once the mixture is well incorporated, I set aside.  My suggestion is to have several flat plates onto which you can lay the finished dumplings.  There are about 50 skins, so it is important to try to gauge the perfect amount of meat : skin ratio. 

Take a gyoza skin (if they were in the freezer section, please let them defrost in the refrigerator for a day) in your left hand, and lay it flat.  Add a heaping teaspoon of the meat mixture into the center of the skin.  Take your index finger of your right hand, dip in the water dish, and trace the edge of the gyoza skin.  Fold the gyoza skin in half, carefully and gently pushing the two edges of the skin at the very top, together.  Make pleats along the edges of the gyoza on one side only – I make the pleats on the side facing AWAY from me.  The water serves as sealant, but too little or too much will not seal the edges.

Once you have pleated and sealed (again, pleat only ONE side of the gyoza), place them on your platter keeping each one apart.  Also, the bottoms should be completely dry – otherwise, you run the risk of the skin sticking to the platter when you go to cook them.

A photo of half of the batch – I have to cook them in batches to ensure they are able to eat freshly cooked gyozas.

In a frying pan over medium heat, I add 1 tbs canola oil, and carefully add the gyozas, gently pressing down to ensure a “base” is created on the bottom.  I carefully cook them until the bottoms brown – I try not to move them much as I carefully lift the bottom edges with a spatula, lest I rip the bottom!  Once they are golden brown on the bottom, I add boiling water, up to 1/3 of the height of the gyoza, and cover the frying pan with a lid.  I happen to use a glass lid, which allows me to see the gyozas. 

The key is to allow the water to steam to top portion of the gyozas – and to NOT lift up the lid until you hear the gyoza pieces starting to sputter as all the water is cooked away. 

At this point, carefully lift up all the gyozas, and flip over, golden bellies on top, and serve immediately.  (With very hungry children anxious at dinner, it was hard for me to stop to photograph…)

I serve the gyozas with a ponzu sauce – you can either purchase pre-made ponzu sauce (I use Mizkan brand) or you can also make your own dipping sauce with soy sauce, rice vinegar, and if you prefer, a bit of la-yu or spicy chili oil.  I make my own with a tablespoon of Korean kochukaru (ground, dried, red chili powder) and equal amount sesame oil, stirred gently.

My daughters had great fun making the gyozas, and Mama had a fun time carefully re-constructing them to ensure I wasn’t left with too many gyoza skins at the end of the evening.  I carefully peeled apart the skins that didn’t have enough meat in them, and the ones oozing meat from their seams, I carefully adjusted the amounts, and re-sealed them.

The gyoza dinner was accompanied by freshly steamed multi-grain rice topped with natto, seasoned with finely chopped scallions, mekabu or thinly sliced seaweed with a slightly slimy texture (similar to okra) and soy sauce and miso soup with julienned daikon slices, simmered until soft and translucent.

We waved at Jiji and Baba over skype as we showed them our festive meal.  I believe they were quite impressed to know the girls helped make dinner.

My older one sighed, and said, “Mama, this was my favorite dinner!”

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.