Welcome to Japan Week! This week I am all about Japan, Japanese food, and Japanese drinks! Why is that, you ask? Absolutely no reason at all, other than that I love it. So, in answer to my Dad’s question, no there is nothing of note happening in Japan or Australia that has prompted this post. I have merely used my phenomenal all-powerful position here at The Sugar Hit, to declare it…
Firstly, it is important to note that I have no real authority on Japanese food. I am not Japanese, I have no Japanese heritage, and I have never been to Japan. HOWEVER, I have been a long-time admirer of Japanese food, philosophy and design for most of my life, and I studied Japanese for like a year and a half in primary school. So it’s totally up to you whether you want to listen to me on this or ignore me completely.
What I do promise, is deliciousness. I can make no claims for authenticity (though I try), but I can definitely offer deliciousness. This is all food I love to eat, and the way in which I cook it. In fact that applies to everything on this here blog!
So what that means is that you know it’ll taste good, and you know I will have done it in the laziest way possible, creating the least number of dishes possible, and costing as little money as I can swing! Now – to the gyoza!
Gyoza are awesome little Japanese dumplings, originally from China. They have a white, wheat flour wrapper, and are usually filled with pork. They are cooked by a combination method of steaming and frying, so you totally get the best of both worlds – crispy bottoms, silky tops. What’s not to love?
I like to keep my recipes simple (you might have noticed), so for my filling I have pared it right back to minced pork, spring onions (scallions), ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil and mirin. These ingredients are all finely chopped and mixed together, and then it’s simply a case of filling the little babies.
This recipe is actually incredibly simple. At this point in my life, I don’t forsee a time when I’m going to want to make home-made gyoza wrappers, because the store-bought ones are so good! So that means that from start-to finish I can have a whole mess of dumplings done and dusted in about 20 minutes. That’s pretty good, right?
As you can see, I am by no means an expert dumpling-crimper. I leave that to the professionals, though there is a nifty tutorial here. Why don’t I bother to make them a little neater? Well firstly, that’s not really in my DNA. Secondly, I have never met anyone who wasn’t so blown away by the taste of these things that they cared about the crimping. And thirdly, did you see the ones I made? I think they look awesome even with my shoddy workmanship!
So, if you’re with me on this Japan Week trip, go and make some Gyoza! They’re super easy and your friends/family/bus driver/college roommate will worship you.
One more thing!
[If you want to get involved with JAPAN WEEK, feel free to create something and post it on your blog this week, and I will incorporate it into this weeks Sunday Supplements post, which, you guessed it, will be all about Japan! Even if you have an old post about Japan, let me know about it! Tweet me, or Tag me on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest!]
Gyoza at Home Recipe
An original recipe by Sarah Coates for The Sugar Hit.
Makes 25 Gyoza.
250g (1/2 pound) minced pork
2 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
1 tbsp finely grated ginger
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp mirin
2 tsp soy sauce (japanese soy sauce, if you can get it)
25 gyoza or gow gee wrappers (that’s 1 pack for me)
2 tbsp peanut oil, or similar
Chopped chives, sesame seeds, soy sauce, sriracha, black vinegar, to serve.
Firstly, mix together the pork, spring onions, ginger, sesame oil, mirin and soy sauce until very well combined – this is easiest to do with a fork or your hands. Next, get a little bowl of water, and prepare to make your dumplings. Lay out a wrapper on a clean work surface, and dip your finger into the water bowl. Quickly wet the top half edge of the circular wrapper. Next, grab a teaspoonful of mince and place it in the middle of the wrapper. Pull the bottom edge of the wrapper up and press it to seal against the top edge, then work down around the filling, sealing the edges, making sure to press out any air bubbles. To form the signature crimps, simply fold little edges of the dough over each other and press to seal. Sit the dumpling standing up on a plate, and continue until all the wrappers and mince are used.
To cook the gyoza, place the peanut oil into the base of a large non-stick frying pan with a lid. Arrange the gyoza in a circular pattern on top of the oil, and then place the pan on a medium heat. Immediately add enough hot water to come about 1/2 an inch up the sides of the dumplings, and place the lid on. Now, what will happen is the dumplings will boil and steam in this hot water as it evaporates, and once all the water is gone, they will begin to fry in the oil. By the time all the water has disappeared and the bottoms of the gyoza are golden brown, they are cooked and ready to eat. Scatter with chives and sesame seeds, and serve with all the sauces your heart desires!