Monday, April 24, 2006

Cure-all: GYOZA

Our house has turned into a hospital of late- my husband is recovering from ear surgery and my sister is on pain meds until her back surgery next week. Although I certainly wish neither had to have an operation, it's actually been a nice opportunity to get some quality time in, since no one is running around being busy. Sometimes it's only when you're forced to slow down that you actually do, and the two of them have just been resting up and trying to stay comfortable.

Although we now have an armory of prescription painkillers (no no, there is no party at my house tonight!), nothing makes the body feel better than homemade gyoza. Ahhhhhh, GYOZA, how I love thee so. Your crispy but tender skins filled with juicy pork, plump shrimp.......dipped in shoyu (soy sauce), su (vinegar) and raiyu (chili oil)......*sigh*.

Shrimp before meeting their gyoza fate!

Ok, that was my Ode To Gyoza. Anyway, I decided to make the patients some gyoza last night. Although I have watched my mom make The Best Gyoza Known To Man many times since I was a kid, I somehow never got up the energy to make it myself. It's not exactly a complicated recipe, but filling the skins, pinching them into a half-moon shape and carefully layering them in a dish takes time and patience. It isn't exactly a weeknight type of meal, and since J and I eat out on the weekends, I just hadn't gotten an opportunity to make them. Or, I was just too lazy. Yeah- it's probably the latter.

The shrimp join the rest of the filling...

Put filling in the skin....

Pinch to seal

All in a row....

I don't have my mom's exact recipe, but I have a general idea of what goes into it. I combined 1/2 ground pork with 1/2 minced shrimp, then added chopped cabbage, green onions, garlic, ginger juice and a small amount of soy sauce, mirin and sake. The best way to get this all nicely combined is to just roll up your sleeves, take your rings off and start smushing the mixture with your hand- grabbing fistfuls and letting it ooze in between your fingers so that everything is WELL combined. After doing that for a few minutes, I just put a generous tablespoon of the filling into each gyoza wrapper, pinched it into shape and repeated. And repeated. And repeated. And.....well, you get the idea. Luckily my sister stepped in and helped me. I got the largest frying pan I have and put about a tablespoon of canola oil and a teaspoon of sesame oil and heated it very well before putting down my rows of gyoza. After letting the bottoms brown for about 6 minutes, I tossed in about 1/2 cup of hot water and quickly closed the lid to let them steam. Next, I tried a trick that my parents taught me- I put a cold, wet towel on the counter and set my hot pan on top of it for about 3 minutes- this actually releases the gyoza inside the pan- otherwise you've have shredded gyoza since they tend to stick to the pan. You don't want to use a non-stick since you don't get the beautiful brown crust that you do with a non non-stick. It worked like magic! As soon as you set the pan down on the towel, you hear the "shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" sound of steam, then a few minutes later the goyza simply slides out.

Are you sure this is enough gyoza??

Close up

We all scafed down way more gyoza than any human should consume, but my husband's ear and sister's back got better instantly! Well, not really but we were all pretty happy so I can tell you that gyoza does cure at least the blues of feeling under the weather.
Gyoza, hiyayyakko, green beans w/ miso, pea sprout salad & rice

Gyoza

3/4 pound lean ground pork
3/4 pound raw shrimp, diced
1 cup finely diced green cabbage
1/2 cup finely diced green onion
2 TBS soy sauce
1 TBS sake
1 TBS mirin (sweet cooking sake)
1 TBS ginger juice (put grated ginger in a paper towel or cheesecloth and squeeze out the juice)
1 TBS of minced garlic
bit of salt

1 package gyoza wrappers (usually contains around 50-60)

Canola oil
Sesame oil

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Take a generous tablespoon of filling and put in the center of one gyoza wrapper. Wet finger with water and moisten one edge of the wrapper. Fold the other half over to make a half-moon shape and then pinch the seams to seal tightly. Repeat.

Heat 1 TBS canola oil and 1 tsp sesame oil in a non telfon pan. Wait until oil is hot (but not smoking) and lay gyoza in rows, seam side up. Let bottoms brown for about 5 minutes and then pour 1/2 cup of hot water in the pan and quickly cover tightly with a lid. Let the gyoza steam for about 5 minutes. Take the hot pan off the stove and set it down (lid on) on a cold, damp towel. After about 3 minutes, remove lid and serve. Dip gyoza in a mixture of about 3 parts soy sauce, 1 part vinegar and 1 part chili oil.

8 comments:

purplecupcake said...

Wow, that looks like some delicious gyoza. Gyoza is comfort food for me. My Okinawan mother made these all the time and would freeze them up. When she wanted a quick snack, she'd fry them up and the aroma of it stays fresh in my mind to this day.
Your gyoza is an exact resemblance of hers. I've tried making them and they're worth the steps. Thanks for the flashback!

Jeni said...

Oishii-so TAG! Gyoza is definitely great hearty comfort food. Thanks for the recipe. Oh...and I always love your homestyle Japanese dinners and settings.

cath said...

YUMMMMMMMY! I have been craving these! Time to make some -- thanks for the recipe!

carlyn said...

Your gyoza look wonderful!!!!! They look exactly like the ones I used to eat in Japan! Mine never quite looke that authentic! Did you say you cook them seam upward? Not on a flat side? Ok, that might be one of my problems...ha ha.... Thanks...now, I'm hungry....

eatdrinknbmerry said...

TAG, those gyozas look killer delicious. Did you buy standard dumpling wrappers? i used to use the chinese kind, but found some japanese gyoza wrappers. only 25 in a pack for $2 which is pricey but what a difference it made. the skin was crispier and thinner. I'd like to make my own wrappers someday, but i'm pretty much intimidated by measured recipes.

i use ground pork, leeks, cabbage, minced ginger, sake, chinese Shaoxing ricewine in mine.

nice job on your gyozas.

eatdrinknbmerry said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Marie said...

i am definitely going to try your cold wet towel trick bc the last time i made gyoza, they stuck and it was ugly! thanks for the tip!

Anonymous said...

I lived in Okinawa for 3 years after having been raised in the midwestern United States. There was a restaurant near Torii Station that always made gyoza. Since I came back to the United States it has been hard to find anyone that knows how to make them or even know what they are. I'm going to try to make them myself. Internet is awesome! We seriously need some Japanese restaurants in this area of the midwest.