When I was busy enjoying the bento that I had at See last week, my sister made an innocent comment - "if you like it so much then why don't you just make it?!". Little did she know that she had planted a seed in my head and I have been thinking about making my favourite dishes ever since.
First challenge - gyoza. I've loved gyoza and potstickers since the first time I tried them which must have been at least 15 years ago. The flavourful pork innards, the soft dough and the marvellous dipping sauce... Me? Make that?! Why not?! So here's what I did...
Mix the flour with the boiling water - add the water bit by bit so the dough is smooth. Every recipe I've seen calls for mixing with chopsticks but I didn't have any - I used the end of a knife to start off with then my hands at the end to get it all together.
Ball of dough after being mixed - mix the water with the flour until you get a bit of a sticky ball - flour will be added later when it's rolled out so you don't want it to be to dry. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and put to one side until you have finished preparing everything else.
Chop everything up - garlic should be minced, ginger should be grated, lemongrass chopped very finely.
All of the recipes that I've seen have called for napa cabbage. Although I've looked this up, I'm still not sure what that is in English supermarkets...I tried half of my batch with bok choy so I chopped the stems finely and shredded the leaves (picture on the right). The other batch was made with savoy cabbage that I'd steamed slightly then shredded (on the left). There wasn't really any difference in taster or texture in the end so as far as cabbage goes, as long as it's finely chopped, the type you use doesn't matter too much.
All of the ginger, garlic, spring onion tops, lemongrass and cabbage - the picture on the left is the savoy cabbage and the one on the right is the bok choy. Add a little sesame oil to the pork mix - about half a teaspoon.
I put the porky mixes in the fridge for about an hour to make sure all of the flavours mingled but also to make the mixture easier to form.
Take your dough and kneed for about 5 minutes. Mine was quite sticky so I had flour on my counter to stop it sticking but also dipper my hands in flour, shook them off then kneaded the dough.
Once the dough is smooth, you can start to make the wrappers.
Tear off a ball of dough about 2 inches across, roll in your palm until you get a good round shape then roll out on a floured surface until you get a circle that is about 4 inches across and about a millimetre thin. My circles were quite flour-y so if you have the same problem, dust off the flour and put the circles to one side.
I used a teaspoon to spoon the filling onto my wrappers - if your wrappers are a little larger you will need more, if they are smaller, you will need less...
Here's where you decide if how fancy you need to be...you need to dab a little water on one half of the dough which will help the other half stick properly. I have not yet mastered the art of beautiful dough crimping so mine look a little "rustic". Basically, you need to pinch the dough around the edges to seal the meat in but also squidge the dough a little towards the meat ball inside so it's all snug.
Heat up some oil (sunflower or another unflavoured oil) on a medium heat then place your dumplings in the pan and fry one side until firm, crispy and golden. Once this has happened, add water to the pan (cover about 1/4 of the dumplings) and put a lid on it.
I left my dumplings in the pan with water for about 15 minutes - even though the lid was on, the water had still boiled away so kept the firm bottom but the rest of the dumpling was cooked through. Please make sure you cook the meat way through so if you have to, grab a gyoza and slice it in half to check the colour of the meat.
All's that left now if the dipping sauce...everyone has their preference but I found that half soy sauce, half sesame oil and chunks of ginger is just lovely.
Next time I want to try using minced/ground chicken. If you were using a lighter meat you would probably want to use smaller quantities of the ginger, garlic, spring onion and lemongrass or else that's all you would taste.
(makes about 10 - 12 gyoza)
1 cup flour (not self raising)
1/4 cup boiling water (but add more little by little if needed to bind the flour together)
250g minced pork
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
2 stems spring onion, chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped lemongrass
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
Gyoza Dipping Sauce
1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce (or light soy sauce)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
several slivers of ginger to taste