Monday, February 09, 2009

Yaki gyoza

I wanted to make gyoza with some of the ground pork from the quarter hog we bought, but having never made them before, had to thumb through my (only) two Japanese cookbooks for help. One of my books is just a pretty sushi book, but my favorite Japanese cookbook (maybe one of my favorite cookbooks, period) is the Japanese Country Cookbook by Russ Rudzinski. Funny, I never noticed a gaijin wrote that book until just now when I cited it, but it's really moot because these are authentic home recipes. Unfortunately, there's no recipe for gyoza, so I decided to shoot from the hip (my always wont).

Scott and I had gyoza in Tokyo that were incredible (Hakata hitokuti gyoza, a specialty of the Fukuoka Prefecture), and though I knew I'd never recreate the perfectly crusted sheet of potstickers, I figure the worst I'd end up with would be cooked pork meatballs. I could live with that. I got started.

I mixed together the ground pork, a chiff of napa cabbage, some finely sliced scallion, (too much) minced garlic and some grated ginger and a little finely-minced shiitake. I added a splash each of tamari, Chinese black vinegar, sake, sesame oil and mirin, and some pinches of salt.

I just sort of went on instinct as to how to actually make the gyoza, but it worked okay. My Asian friends are probably squeamish at the lack of proper folds - I'm sure their grandmas' nimble fingers get fifty creases along the top edge - but I think I did okay for a gaijin on her first try. I just took the gyoza wrapper, added a spoonful of filling, wetted one edge with a fingertip of water, and then pressed and creased until it was sealed. I steamed them in my bamboo steamer for about ten minutes (next time I will line with parchment to avoid the sticking) until they looked soft on top, then pan-fried them to get a nice crust on the bottom. I served these with a basic dipping sauce of tamari, rice vinegar and mirin and a quickle sopai no daikon that looks like every other sunomono I make, but with daikon instead of cucumber or green muskmelon.

Serve with a cold Sapporo and classic J-Pop hits.

31 comments:

maggie said...

Oh, these look lovely! I'm impressed with the folding and I bet they were delicious...

LC said...

Gyoza, potstickers, dumplings...I could eat 'em three meals a day every day. Yours look perfect!

lisaiscooking said...

Love the crust. How long do they have to steam to cook the meat?

peter said...

Those yaki gyoza look retahded!

matt wright said...

holy crap, they look perfect to me!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I'm not sure what I loved more: the yummy recipe, or the label for the post of "snacky-wacky". These look like they were really fun to make too.

duodishes said...

Your folding looks like it was nimbly done to us! And they look awesome.

pigpigscorner said...

They look perfect!

Peter G said...

Mmmm...i think they look divine. You can actually buy a little contraption that does the fold for you (they're about $2)...cheers!

Stacy said...

I love, love, love gyoza like nobody's bizness! It's a dumpling thing, what can you do?

We cheat and use a little gyoza crimper thing that we got at Uwajimaya, but yours look just as great done by hand.

The Spiteful Chef said...

Ooooh. I think they're sexy. You oughtta try dipping them in sweet chili sauce. It's phenom.

BTW, my nimble Japanese grandmother can crimp the SHIT out of some gyoza.

Manggy said...

Funnily enough though I've never made them before that's probably how I would go about doing them too. Great job-- perfect crusting!
Don't sweat the fold. I'm sure all Japanese grandmas (hmm... Maybe more correctly Chinese) would appreciate you not using those gyoza makers (half-moon folders), hee hee :)

J.Danger said...

Gyoza is a staple at our house, although I have never made it myself. Maybe now I will try it.

Bellini Valli said...

I am impressed Heather:D

Jess said...

mmm, little pockets of goodness. because i hate doing dishes (even if it is just a steamer) i cook mine in one pan, two stages - heat a little oil in your pan, brown gyoza lightly, add boiling water and cover (a baking sheet will do if you don't have a lid) to steam for a few minutes. Remove the lid and allow any excess water to evaporate over med high heat and cook until the gyoza recrisp. i think your crimps look fine, i've got one of those little dumpling presses and i find that it doesn't seal them properly, so i always do it by hand - theraputic, and helps me justify eating so fucking many gyoza!

Elra said...

Oh, these are my favorite snack, I never made it myself at home. Maybe one day.
Delicious, Heather!
Cheers,
Elra

Manger La Ville said...

I just discovered your blog and love it. My teacher at culinary school talks a lot about gilding the lilly. She says the French do it way too often. I love gyoza, these look amazing. I am very impressed.

Emily said...

These look incredible! I wouldn't be able to stop eating them.

Heather said...

Mags - They were juicy like a shar long bao.

Lang - I tried to hide the fact that some of them were torn by arranging them neatly. Glad it worked!

Lisa - They only need about 10 minutes (I added this to the post after you asked).

Jube - At least this time I didn't go full retahd.

Matt - You just love that porky filling.

Rachel - I wouldn't say they were fun per se, they just weren't as hard as I thought they'd be.

Chrystal/Amir (which one are you?) - It's what's on the inside that counts. Porky goodness, that's what.

Pigpigscorner - Aw, you say that to all the girls. ;)

Petah - It hadn't even occurred to me that there was a little crimper thing. I wonder if they come out as good?

Stacy - I hear you may be returning sooner than later, I'll whip some of these up for you. We can make it a party.

Kristie - I really only like sweet chili sauce with egg rolls and other fried-crispy foods. Eh, who am I kidding? I'd eat the shit out of that.

Marky - I was gonna go into the whole thing about jiaozi but I figured people either already know that everything is from China or would Google it themselves. Or I can just wait for my smarty-pants friend Marky to show up and school everyone. :)

J. Danger - These are way better than the Trader Joe's gyoza.

Valli - And I am impressed with your sexah new picture. :P

Jess - That's how I used to do mine too, but this gets a better crust and takes less time.

Elra - It was really easy! You should try it sometime. It was like second nature.

Manger La Ville - Gilding the lily is just a good philosophy for living a better life. Glad you like my blog!

Emmy - Well they burn the shit out of the roof of your mouth unless you slow down, if that helps. :P

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

They look great Heather! Your recipe sounds pretty close to the way I make them (which is derived from how my mom makes them).

Did you blanch the napa cabbage first? I also use regular cabbage sometimes. Also, you can get the best crisp "crust" if you fry-steam-fry. Basically you throw them in a frying pan with some oil for an initial sear then add a few table spoons of water and cover. After a few minutes you take the lid off, turn up the heat and let the rest of the water evaporate. The starch that dissolves in the water forms a nice brown crust once the water burns off. I posted about vegetarian gyoza a while back if you want more details:-)

Foodycat said...

You got perfect little folds and beautiful crust! You can't ask for better than that!

diva said...

oh my love affair with gyoza and any sort of dumpling is lifelong. beautiful gyoza you made! it just sounds and looks all too delicious! x

Ken Albala said...

Heather, That is one fine job for a first shot! They're beautiful. Try these with shrimp too, and steam on bits of lettuce or cabbage leaves. Or twist on top for xiaolongbao. You've got it though.

we are never full said...

the crispiness at the bottom is where it's at for me w/ gyoza (did i seriously just use crispy again?). i think you did a pretty great job considering you "winged" (wong?) it.

greymatters said...

I've a food fetish for potstickers/gyoza, and I'm just droolin'. Damned fine, impressive job/craft.

Brava!

fenavo said...

MOUTHWATERING!!

Hillary said...

I'm pretty sure those folds are perfect! Where do you get a bamboo steamer?

Heather said...

sometimes i never even know the food that you're posting about! i always get such a great education on your site ;)

i do love potstickers, by any name! yous sound delicious!

Heather said...

Marc - I didn't steam the cabbage first, so the moisture left in the gyoza made them like xialong bao. I used to cook them the way you mentioned, and will probably go back to it.

Alicia - I picked the prettiest ones for the photo. :P

Diva - Next time 'll be smart about it and make extra for freezing.

Ken - Of course! I'd seen the lettuce trick for steaming dumplings somewhere before, but forgot about it. I wanna fill some with shrimp, for sure.

Amy - There's something in the air. Crispy, crispy, crispy.

Greymatters - I have one too. I jones for noodles worse, but I definitely have a hard-on for dumplings.

Lori/Michael - If only I had a shitload more, like right now.

Hillary - You can get them from any well-stocked Asian grocery, or you can spend five times as much and get one at Williams-Sonoma. I think Amazon probably has them too.

Heather - I've been trying to decide whether or not to stick to English for the titles, but I think most blog readers can stand to be challenged a little. :)

Zen Chef said...

You did a fine job at folding these little suckers. Looks like my Japanese grandmother makes them. (i'm so full of shit!)

Leigh said...

im terrible - every time we at at our noodle bar here in Leeds, i fill up on these things. And what's more, they are one of the few items i prefer the veggie version of. nice work. Been meaning to make these for a while but chickening out.