Some of my closer friends are aware that I do not appreciate Japanese food. It has ever been so before I knew my husband. Even now, of all cuisine offered on a table before me, Jap food remains last of my choice.
Don't get me wrong, I don't mean that Jap food is not fit for consumption, it just doesn't satisfy my noisy taste buds.
After coming to Japan, I've realized that not all Japanese dishes disappoint me. In fact, I've made some delicious discoveries. =P The Japanese Gyoza ( or Japanese style of dumpling ) is one of them.
Back home in Singapore, I've never liked dumplings as they are mostly deep fried, cooked in soup or steamed. Seared Japanese Gyoza however, brings a new sensation in bite and savour. The seared side is fragrantly cripsy, while the top skin moist and soft to tear. This is one wicked recipe I endeavoured to master at home ( because the restaurants serving gyozas are too stingy with their fillings! )
My husband crowns this homemade gyoza the best he ever had, and I've yet found a worthy rival since the success. =P
It took several trial and errors between a few recipes, I had them customized a little to obtain a satisfied finish. The gyoza should be purely flavoured by ingredients, with an option to relish with sauce aside. Fortified this dish by adding chopped shiitake ( mushroom ), and surely, no restaurants could offer this 'royal touch'. Now that the recipe is well grasped, I'm more than happy to share and hope that you'll find the same delight. However, be warned that the cooking part is slightly technical and requires individual's discretion.
Recipe for Japanese Gyoza and sauce
Required utensil : Flat fry pan ( I'm using a 26' Tefal ), Chinese wok is impossible. Lid to cover fry pan.
Ingredient for Gyoza
Skin for wrapping gyoza, bought mine for 25 pieces a pack. Ingredient stated below should make you around 25 pieces of gyoza, depending on how well you distribute the fillings.
200g minced pork ( other meat should cause a change in taste )
4 pieces of large cabbage leaves
5 tablespoons of chopped spring onion
2 pieces of dried shiitake ( mushroom ), soaked and ready to use
1 tablespoon of grated garlic
1 teaspoon of grated ginger
2 tablespoon of rice wine for cooking
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of brown sugar or sugar ( brown tastes better )
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
Sesame oil for searing
Boiling, or hot water ( around 200ml ) for searing 2 batches of gyoza
1. Slice expanded shiitake ( mushroom ) at 8mm thickness or so, then chop into squares.
2. Cut and remove the center stem of cabbage, slice at around 15mm thickness then chop into squares. In a mixing bowl, add 1 teaspoon of salt into cabbage and massage or squish the vegetable, until it has gone soft. The idea is to wrap the leaves into the skin readily and reduce cooking time. See picture to know how the finish should look like. When done, briefly wash the leaves, drain and put aside. Leaves cut into this size gives crunchiness after cooking.
3. In a large mixing bowl, drop in spring onion, shiitake, cabbage leaves with meat placed in the last. Before mixing, drop in grated garlic, ginger, rice wine, sesame oil, soy sauce, brown sugar ( or sugar ), cornstarch, 1 dash of salt, 2 dash of pepper on meat, and start mixing. Mix well.
4. Prepare a dish of water for sealing gyoza. Use a spoon to scoop filling into skin and wrap, without folds if you are not sure how. It is somewhat like making pleats of a skirt. Dab finger into dish of water and apply on surface you need to seal, the water acts as a fastener.
5. Try to make the gyoza sit upright on a flat surface before cooking. Land gyoza flat on surface, press-push a little and it should sit soon.
6. Sear gyozas in 2 batches to avoid congestion in pan or breaking the gyozas. In a flat pan, drop 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and spread across. Heat up pan at medium heat and start placing gyoza into pan. Make gyozas sit well in straight rows apart, and packed well together in individual rows. ( Japanese style of finish ). See picture below to get the idea. When gyozas are placed, wait for a minute or so to let them sizzle. Pour in around 100ml of boiling or hot water and close lid immediately.
7. Watch and wait for the water in pan to dry up. While waiting, standby 1 teaspoon of wheat flour and 50ml of water, mix well. Once water in fry pan dries up, pour in the wheat flour mixture and cover with lid again. Watch searing, wait for the crisp skin to be formed, and seared to a delicious looking brown. Careful cos they burn easily. Remove from fire when ready, extract gyozas row by row carefully using spatula. They should stick together, for my pictures, I deliberately split them apart. If you are confident that the food doesn't stick to your pan, get a plate bigger than the pan, cover it and invert pan to draw out gyoza easily.
8. Repeat step 6 & 7 for second batch of gyoza.
For sauce to go along with gyoza
Japanese gyoza isn't heavily flavoured like dumplings in Singapore. It carries a mild sweetness of meat, cabbage and for my version, it is complemented with scent of shiitake. The sauce is perfect for a dish like this. My husband agrees that the shiitake adds a good boost to the taste and texture of fillings.
And the Bear is right, homemade food is undoubtedly the best, because you rule it.
Hope you'll like this first entry of Side dish recipe.