Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Gyoza with Nira and Cabbage

This is how I make mine. It’s easily enough for 60 small to medium sized gyoza.  
Gyoza wrappers. Allow 10-12 per person, more for teenagers. Freeze any left over filling, or make tiny meatballs and drop into simmering water for a quick Korean style soup with wakame and negi, sesame seeds.  

What You Need
 300 g ground pork
 2 bunches (roughly 300g) nira /garlic chives, finely chopped 
 2-300 g mild leaf vegetables such as cabbage, chingensai, hakusai, komatsuna, or 1 bag beansprouts. Chop finely. 
1 negi or Japanese dividing onion, finely minced 
1-3 cloves garlic, finely minced 1 finger of ginger, finely grated 
 1 T sake 
 1 T vinegar 
 1 tsp sugar
 1 t soy sauce or Thai fish sauce, or 1 T miso 
Black pepper 
 1 T katakuriko or arrowroot/cornflour etc. 
 Oil for frying, 
toasted sesame oil (goma-abura) to finish. 
 “Umami” ingredients such as finely chopped prawns, 3 soaked and minced dried shiitake…recently I don’t include these as I think they simply make the flavor too bland without adding much of their own flavor.
 ½-1 tsp salt, 
1 tsp sesame oil for nira (Use less salt if you used fish sauce in the gyoza, as it’s very salty) 

How to Do It 
Mix ginger, garlic, sake, sugar, vinegar, and pepper into meat and mix very well (at least 100 turns) with hands until pasty. Set aside. 

Mix finely chopped mild vegetables with no more than ½ tsp salt or 1 tsp soy sauce and rub in, leave to shed some water. Mix sesame oil and salt with finely chopped nira, rub in till slimy, drop on top of meat mixture without squeezing. Squeeze salted milder vegetables lightly, and drop on top of meat mixture. Mix vegetables into meat very thoroughly. 

Freeze any filling you are not planning on using. Depending on how much is left, mix in 1 t to 1 T katakuriko. This prevents weeping, and also makes for a juicy, tender texture.  

Forming Gyoza 
Get a small teaspoon, a cup with some water and 1 t cornflour in it, and the wrappers. Dust a board liberally with katakuriko. Have another board or large plate ready if you plan to take gyoza to the table to cook on a hotplate. If you are making a huge number, separate each layer of finished gyoza with a layer of plastic wrap dusted with cornflour.  
 Dip a finger in water and wet the rim of a gyoza wrapper. 
Dump 1 small t of filling in the middle, spreading it into a longish heap. 

You can find a video demo on youtube or use a gyoza press, but it’s amazing how fast you can make them with a little practice.

Bring sides close together, with the gyoza resting between thumb and forefinger of your non-dominant hand (Make a "C" and have the gyoza resting in the gap). 

Use the thumb and forefinger of your dominant hand to squeeze the edges together, and then push the fold in toward the center of the gyoza, so that the unclosed edges form pleats to either side. 
Move your dominant thumb and forefinger down out of the way and squeeze the pleats together to close, repeat so that each gyoza has 3-5 pleats. 
With the gyoza still resting between thumb and forefinger, push the belly of your thumb against it to form the whole thing into a slightly crescent shape, and place on the floured board.

 It is slightly easier to form gyoza with the pleats just on one side.  

Fry Them Up I recommend a smallish, heavy NON-Teflon frypan, as the nonstick pans tend to be very thin. If you have a burnplate that you can put under a Teflon frypan, so much the better. 

Heat frypan till a drop of water skitters, then add a bit of oil, and quickly pop in two rows of say 5 gyoza. Cook on medium or a little less until the bottom of a gyoza looks golden brown when you pick one up. 

Sprinkle a little sesame oil over the gyoza. Run a fry-slice under the gyoza to loosen them, and then pour over a little water and IMMEDIATELY slam a lid on. Cook for about 3 minutes. 

If you use the water from your cup of  cornflour/water, it may help form a lacy, crispy mat. Or it may make the gyoza stick to the pan badly, so try this trick when you have made gyoza a few times.

When a peek shows that the gyoza wrappers are looking slightly translucent, turn the heat up high but not scorching hot, to drive off moisture and crisp the bottoms. 

Remove to a plate, serve, and start again. I usually have two frypans on the go at once.
 Serve with a nice quality vinegar (I like black vinegar), soy sauce, and optional chili oil. Children may prefer mayonnaise with their vinegar and soy sauce. 

Chili oil (ra-yu) is not at all hard to make and keeps for ever. But that's another post.