Tasting the Sweetness and Lightening of Homemade Meat Gyoza

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A fair warning to those of you who decide to venture into the delicious world of homemade gyoza: You will be forever ruined once you make or taste homemade gyoza. All other store bought, commercial gyoza will no longer satisfy you. That’s how good homemade gyoza is. You have been warned.

Like I’ve stated before in my previous post on how to make vegan gyoza, making gyoza from scratch is no easy task, but I always find it an incredibly rewarding process that produces some impressive results. Forget any sort of weird filler that commercial gyoza tend to contain; it’s time to return to the basics of a simple but satisfying meaty gyoza. And, believe me when I say that you’ll definitely be able to tell the difference between store bought and homemade gyoza…

The finalization of this recipe coincidentally coincided with the gyoza episode of Amaama to Inazuma (Sweetness and Lightening) from the 2016 Summer anime season… Which, of course, made me want to post this recipe as soon as I could because I was so touched and inspired by the series and this episode.

gyoza-amaama-to-inazuma-06-01Amaama to Inazuma is basically everything I want (and more!) in a cooking anime. Cute and full of fun cooking segments that go into depth on all the steps taken to make a dish, while at the same time being a relevant teaching tool for the characters to work through whatever problems they’re going through, this anime is just so adorable and surprisingly poignant.

I love how the main characters are not experts by any means in the kitchen (unlike other cooking anime out there), and seeing their struggles and joys as they work their way through recipe after recipe is rewarding as a viewer. The show reminds me a lot of when I started learning how to cook, and brings me back to the simple joys that making a home cooked meal can bring.

No matter your cooking level, I hope you’ll give this gyoza recipe a try!

About the recipe:

gyoza-amaama-to-inazuma-06-03I’ve been working on this recipe for a while… you may have seen my “progress pics” on Twitter or Instragram as I’ve folded and eaten my way through a few hundred gyoza. All pork, all beef, various ratios of a beef/pork mix, more cabbage, less or no chives, increasing the garlic and ginger, upping the amount of shiitake, lowering the amount of sugar… there were so many things to consider when making this recipe! But, at last I’ve settled on something I’m pretty happy with, and I’d like to share it with all of you.

There’s not too much that you’ll need to know about the recipe since it’s mostly just chopping a bunch of stuff up and mixing it together, but I will give you a couple tips to help you along your gyoza way.

Keep the mixture as dry as possible: this means that you want to make sure your mushrooms are well squeezed, and (especially) the water in the blanched cabbage is squeezed out. I’m not saying everything has to be totally dry, but it shouldn’t be sopping wet. Aim for Gyoza - Shirobako 14damp.

If you’re not going to eat your gyoza immediately/very soon after folding it, freeze it. I recommend freezing your gyoza because you don’t want the moisture in the meat mixture to start pooling at the bottom and getting everything soggy and wet.

The best way to freeze gyoza is to place them on a tray, without them touching each other, and freeze in the freezer. Don’t let the gyoza sit around too long before you pop them in the freezer, however, as the liquid in the filling will gradually pool and make the wrappers soggy. Once frozen, remove from the tray, place into a plastic bag, then return Gyoza - Koufuku Grafitti 03immediately to the freezer.

When cooking and eating frozen gyoza, there is no need to defrost them! Just place the frozen gyoza directly into the frying pan and cook them up as usual.

And, there are of course many ways to fold gyoza. I’ve supplied instructions below for the most common way, but I personally like folding from the middle out, with the pleats facing inwards. Fold it the way you like best – it’s really just aesthetic!

About the ingredients:

Gyoza - Natsuyuki Rendezvou 02 - 01Using a mix of ground beef and pork prevents the gyoza from being too “porky” while at the same time adding a nice “beefiness” to balance things out. I’m not sure what percent fat my pork and beef are (it doesn’t say on the packages I get at the store in Japan), but I think the pork contains a bit of fat in it, while the beef is a bit leaner. Don’t choose the leanest option for this recipe since you’ll want a little bit of fat to help keep everything really juicy. And, obviously don’t choose the fattiest meat ever, either. As with most things in life, aim for a healthy medium.

Potato or corn starch is used to thicken up the meat mixture and make sure it’s not too watery.

Dried shiitake mushrooms add a lot of flavor to this recipe. Make sure you use dried ones rather than fresh ones since the dried mushrooms have a much more concentrated flavor, and fresh mushrooms tend to contain a fair amount of water. Soak in boiled water for 1 – 2 hours (or even over night) before chopping. Remove the stems if you can before soaking to help quicken the softening process. The stems tend to be a bit tough, so omit them from the recipe. Squeeze the water from the soaked mushrooms before chopping.

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Gyoza

Makes ~50 gyoza

Ingredients:

  • 5 oz (140g) ground beef 
  • 8 oz (230 g) ground pork 
  • 6 cabbage leaves, blanched, water squeezed out, and minced
  • 6 green onions, minced
  • 2 tbsp grated (using a microplane) or finely minced ginger (include juices)
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely minced or crushed in a garlic press
  • 6 dried shiitake, stems removed, rehydrated, and minced
  • ¼ of a small onion, minced (about ¼ cup, minced)
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp potato starch or corn starch
  • 1 tbsp sake
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • pepper to taste
  • ~50 gyoza skins (pre-made or make your own!)

For the dipping sauce:

  • Equal parts soy sauce and black or rice vinegar
  • Optional: a few drops of chili oil or sesame oil

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients until thoroughly incorporated.

Folding the gyoza:

  1. Place about 1 tbsp of filling into the centre of the gyoza wrapper. Brush water along the edges of the wrapper. Bring the two halves of the wrapper close together and pinch one corner to seal it.
  2. Pleat one side of the wrapper, using one hand to hold and guide the pleats and the other hand to fold and push the filling in to prevent it from spilling out.
    Press the water-moistened edge together to gently to seal the gyoza as you form the pleats.
  3. If you’re not going to cook the gyoza right away, freeze the gyoza by placing folded gyoza on a tray with the pleats pointing up and arranged so they are not touching one another. Place in the freezer until frozen, about 45 minutes. Remove frozen gyoza from the tray, transfer to a freezer-safe bag, and return to the freezer.

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Cooking the gyoza:

  1. Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a nonstick frying pan. Add 12 fresh or frozen gyoza in a single layer, pleats pointing up, and cook on medium-high heat until the bottoms begin to turn brown, about 3 – 5 minutes. Add about 1/4 cup water to the pan, being careful of splashing oil. Immediately cover with a lid, and steam gyoza for about 5 minutes, or until the filling is completely cooked.
  2. Remove the lid and let the remaining water evaporate. Let the gyoza fry in the remaining oil until the bottoms are brown and crispy. Remove from the pan, plating the gyoza fried side up to preserve the crispiness.

Serve hot as an appetizer or side dish with any meal. Dip in soy sauce and vinegar dipping sauce.

Source: Blue Variance

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2 thoughts on “Tasting the Sweetness and Lightening of Homemade Meat Gyoza

  1. Ahhhh, this looks so good at the end of my work day. I could do with a feast of gyoza right now. Thanks for sharing! When I first glanced at this, I thought it might reference the gyoza in ClassicaLoid 🙂

    Like

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