Saturday, October 3, 2009

Gyoza

Another first for me, like pierogi, but much much easier, since I didn't make the dough but bought egg-free wrappers instead. They were actually really fun, and didn't take nearly as long as I thought they would. I used a number of different recipes as my guides, and concatenized and customized them. In my experience, the wrappers in their little packages don't freeze well, so you might as well use them all up in one go. The gyozas will freeze, however, so make them (but don't cook them), put them on waxed paper on a plate or cookie sheet, not touching, in the freezer until they're solid, and then they can be placed and stored, very tenderly, in plastic bags.

There are different kinds of gyoza, but I decided to go with a vegan variation on the pork ones, largely because I had a specific protein in mind, namely some of the Vegan Dad lunch meat that I had made as an experiment, but didn't like much. This has nothing to do with Vegan Dad's recipe, which was genius, and worked beautifully, and everything to do with the fact that, to me, no matter how hard I try, big slabs of seitan always irresistibly remind me of loaves of bread, and I am psychologically incapable of treating them as a protein item in a meal. A sandwich with seitan is just bread on bread to me, and automatically therefore unappetizing. Garlic bread with spaghetti is anathema in my world for the same reason, though I love both foods. I don't however have a problem with making seitan into meatballs or fillings like this one. All that said, if you don't share this particular quirk or have some cooked seitan hanging around ready for the food processor, by all means use tofu or TVP and you'll be just as happy.


Gyoza filling:
2/3 cup finely chopped Chinese cabbage
1/4 cup finely chopped green onion
1 pound ground seitan, rehydrated TVP, or crumbled extra-firm tofu
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
2 large cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

40 gyoza wrappers
Vegetable oil for frying

Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Place about a teaspoonful of filling in a gyoza wrapper and dab water along the edge of half the wrapper. Make a semicircle, gathering the front side of the wrapper and sealing the top. Make four folds in the gyoza as demonstrated here. My very first gyoza ever:


They'll keep for some time under plastic wrap (or can be frozen at this point) if you don't want to cook them right away. When you're ready to cook, heat about a tablespoon of canola or peanut oil in a frying pan. Put the gyoza in the pan, not touching, and fry on medium high heat until the bottoms brown. Here's what they look like when you first put them in the pan. Notice that the seam side is up and they're floating upright like little sailboats:


Turn down the heat to low. (Assuming your pan is more or less full of gyoza; if not, use less water) add 1/4 cup water to the pan, cover, and steam the gyoza on low heat until the water has evaporated—this should take about 10 minutes or so. Here's what they look like when they're finished steaming:


Serve hot with dipping sauce.

For my dipping sauce, I just tweaked a mixture of soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin, hot red peppers, sesame oil, and grated ginger until I got the taste I liked, which was approximately:

Gyoza dipping sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp mirin
1 tsp grated ginger
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp roasted sesame oil

These were so good! I can hardly wait to make them again.

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