Fun to make and perfect for a dinner party starter or tasty light lunch
We love gyoza - along with the salty edamame beans they are the go-to starter at Wagamamas, even though we've been going there long enough to know there's NO SUCH thing as a starter at Wagamamas and unless you order them about 10 minutes before everything else, you're likely to get your dumplings halfway through your katsu curry... anyway, I digress.
Father Christmas was kind enough to fill my stocking this year with lots of fun things (I had obviously been FAR too good a girl last year) including a dumpling mould/press thing. Oooh I thought, Father Christmas is dropping a big hint here. So the next time we found ourselves in Chinatown we popped into a supermarket and bought the dumpling wrappers. They were incredibly cheap, and if I can find them locally, it may mean that I don't need to bother trying to actually make the dough. Having said that, the two products listed on their ingredients list are just flour and water, so it can't be that hard to make them, can it? Anyway, let's just assume that you can buy the wrappers, as it does make life easier, because this is a slightly tricky dish, which involves mixing, folding, pressing, boiling and frying... but it is worth it, and more than that, it is a very cheap way of feeding people in a really fun way. In fact, I only used 250g ground pork and even that made double the amount I needed to feed us both. I have frozen my left over mixture so I can make more very easily sometime soon.
(This could make up to 36 dumplings, I froze half having only bought a pack of 18 dumpling skins)
Pack of dumpling skins
250g pork mince
Thumb size piece of fresh ginger, minced
Clove garlic, minced
2 spring onions, finely chopped (reserve some of the greener end pieces for garnish)
1 mushroom, finely chopped
1/2 red chilli, finely chopped
3 Brussels sprouts or small amount of cabbage, finely shredded/chopped
Small handful of bean sprouts, finely chopped.
Salt & pepper
If you've just read through the ingredients list you'll get the message about finely chopping things. Just bear in mind that you use almost less than a teaspoon's worth of filling for each gyoza, so the smaller you chop, the more flavour you'll pack into each one. Don't worry if you don't have a mushroom, or Brussels sprouts (you can use a small amount of cabbage) and play around with Asian flavours a bit if you fancy.
Start by chopping all the veg and then mix it in really well to the pork mince. Reserve some of the minced ginger (about 1/2 tsp) and add this to a little bowl with the soy sauce for dipping the finished gyoza into, once served.
Once you have a really well mixed pork mixture, find your dumpling wrappers and prepare them by peeling them off each other. This might seem a pointless thing to say, but it was by far the most painstaking task of the whole procedure. Now, I was lucky enough to have the dumpling press (pictured) but I think you could do this by hand and still achieve a decent result. I placed each wrapper onto the mould, used a finger tip to edge the wrapper with water and then used a teaspoon to place a small amount of mixture into each wrapper. Then a quick squish with the clamp-like thing and there you have it, a ready-to-cook gyoza! SO satisfying. I got R involved and we set up a little production line, watching as our little treasure-filled parcels totted up on the chopping board between us.
Meanwhile, bring a pan of salted water to the boil and once you've made your gyoza, plop them in. My water doesn't look boiling in the picture, but that's because I had literally just dumped all those dumplings into the pan, which had knocked it off the boil. Luckily though, the lack of rolling boil bubbles means you can see that in general they float, but in a sort of vertical, dead goldfish way. This is useful, as you know they're done when they start to float more horizontally. Like this...
Once boiled, take the gyoza out of the water with a draining spoon. I wouldn't just drain them like pasta as I worry that the gush of water might break them up (they seem quite fragile), plus you might need the pan 'on the go' for the next batch if you're doing a total of more than eight or so. They are fairly sticky at this point, so do be careful what you place them on; I used a high quality foil-backed greaseproof paper.
Once the boiling has been done, you can move onto the frying. Heat a sturdy frying pan with a little oil (I used olive oil, but I guess you could use sesame?) and gently fry the gyoza a batch at a time until they take on a little colour and stiffen up a bit. Once done, place on a serving dish and sprinkle with some chopped green spring onion and serve with a dipping bowl of soy sauce with the tiny amount of fresh ginger stirred through.
Fairly much my own work, although I took inspiration from the many gyoza recipes out there on the Internet. Try this one from the BBC for an alternative.
As discussed, don't get too hung up if you don't have one or two of the ingredients, just go with what you have. The main taste comes from ginger and garlic and the rest is all fairly interchangeable. I'd like to see what they're like with Chinese Five Spice added or a little bit more chilli perhaps.