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Friday, January 28, 2011

A new twist on gyoza!

I've been very busy networking and marketing my business but I wanted to make sure I told you all about my most recent epiphany!  I am going to try to cook things that are out of my usual comfort zone this year and even if the food isn't perfect, I will write about the mistakes I make.  

So... my first attempt to do this was last week - my Aunt was in town and I wanted to try making Gyoza (aka Japanese potstickers).  I had seen a few recipes online but decided on La Fuijimama's "Super Top Secret recipe."  I met Rachael recently (such a doll!) and have spent some time perusing her other recipes - she spent a great deal of time in Japan so I knew these would be great.

I was going attempt to make the wrappers from scratch but didn't have time to do it so I bought gyoza wrappers in the refrigerated section of the regular grocery store.  You can use wonton wrappers if that's what you find, but you'll have to use a biscuit cutter (or a drinking glass) to make those square wrappers round.  

Since we were eating with my mostly vegetarian sister and brother in law, I decided to make one with meat and one with vegetables.  Both actually tasted delicious!  
turkey gyoza mixture
vegetarian gyoza mixture

I followed Rachael's recipe exactly as noted except instead of using pork, I used lean ground turkey meat.  I thought that the meat would end up taking on the flavors of the filling contents (ginger, green onion, miso) and the turkey at the market looked a lot better than the very fatty looking ground pork.  Do check out her recipe as she has amazing photos and very precise directions showing how to pleat the gyoza.

my gyoza before cooking
For the vegetarian gyoza, I mixed a lot of the same flavors but instead of meat included crimini mushrooms (chopped small) and shredded carrot.  I also added hoisin just for another layer of flavor and to help the hard pieces of mushroom soften up a bit.  These sort of "hard" pieces made a few of the gyoza rip and the mixture didn't hold well together.  I might cook down the mushroom a bit next time (although following Rachael's directions did cook all the veggies through).

I found the pleating of the wrappers to be very intuitive.  Once I got a few of them down, I could have done 100 of them.  I was definitely "in the zone" while making them.

One thing to say about storage...  If you aren't going to cook them right away, do not store these on wax paper in a tupperware container, like I did.  Parchment paper worked much better.  Wax paper made the wrappers a little wet/mushy. These gyoza could also be prepared (but not cooked) days ahead of time (say, before the Super Bowl?) and frozen.

Don't go too crazy with the gyoza sauce, it is not complicated to make.  Definitely don't buy any of the bottled sauces in the "Asian aisle" in the grocery store - all you need is three ingredients: soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil.  I threw some roasted sesame seeds in just for a little somethin' extra.

Unfortunately, my first couple of batches stuck to the pan, but I know that I didn't let them brown enough (too afraid of burning them!) I should have allowed more time for them to steam.

Have you attempted to make gyoza before?  How did you do?  What are some recipes that you've been afraid of trying?  I'd love to see some listed below!

Chow for Now!  :)

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