FRUGAL RECIPES: homemade gyoza
Monday, 23 March 2015
Homemade gyozas might seem like a daunting feat, but they are so easy, not to mention insanely cheap and tasty too. It's quite easy to find pre-made dumpling wrappers in the frozen section of any Asian supermarket, but if you can't get your hand on them you can use this recipe to make your own.
To make around 70 dumplings (!!):
2 packets of dumpling wrappers (numbers might vary depending on the brand)
290g minced pork
1 tbsp each of soy sauce, sake/rice wine and sesame oil
Handful of spring onions
1 garlic clove
Small piece of fresh ginger
A few cabbage leaves
2 or 3 mushrooms
What you put in the filing is really up to you. Very finely chopped prawns are delicious, or you could replace the pork mince for turkey if you are particularly health-conscious. The vegetables are the same - you can add as many or as few as you like to bulk out your dumplings.
70 might seem like a lot, but I think we ate around 20 each and then froze the rest for a lazy evening meal (I'll explain how to freeze and cook from frozen at the end of the post).
Get your sous chef ;) to finely slice the vegetable you are using and mix them in a large bowl with the mince, along with a pinch of salt.
Here is the part which might seem daunting, but I promise it is so easy! You'll want to line up a little production line - it's handy to make these with another person, but not essential. You will need your bowl of filling, a teaspoon, a small cup of cold water and a tray or plate to lay out your finished dumplings.
Place a small teaspoon of filling in the centre of the dumpling wrapper, then dip your finger in the water and trace around half of the rim of the paper. Fold the paper in half and gently press together the edges, making sure there aren't any air bubbles around the meat. You can create fancy pleats and ruffles, but you can also just keep them flat like mine.
Make sure you don't overfill the gyoza as you don't want them to tear. If you have any filling leftover at the end, you could make them into meatballs and serve with rice and teriyaki sauce the following night.
Heat up a good non-stick frying pan with a teaspoon of sunflower or sesame oil. When the pan is hot, place a few gyoza in the pan - make sure they aren't touching each other - and fry for 2-3 minutes or until the underside is golden brown (you can lift one up to check). Then pour in 100-200ml of water so that they cover the gyoza about halfway up. Pop a lid on the pan and cook for a further few minutes, until the water has evaporated.
A handy tip, which I realised after we did the first batch in the pictures above, is to press the gyoza down with your fingers to create a flat base. It's much easier to cook them this way and you'll get more browned surface area.
I would only recommend this if you have a tiered bamboo steamer, otherwise you will be waiting ages for all of the batches to be cooked. Put a sheet of baking paper in the bottom of each tier and pierce a few holes to let the steam come through. Put a wok on medium heat with about an inch of boiling water. Put the bamboo steamer on top and allow to steam for 12-15 minutes.
Place gyoza in a pot of boiling water - be careful not to overcrowd them - and cook for 5-6 minutes. Drain or remove with a slotted spoon.
My favourite thing about this meal is that we usually allow ourselves to have just gyoza - no vegetables, no side dishes. You can serve them with any dipping sauce you like, but I like to combine soy sauce with vinegar for a tangy dip. Heaven!
To freeze/cook from frozen:
Lay the gyoza, not touching, on a baking sheet and put in the freezer for a few hours. Once frozen, you can pop them all in a tupperware or bag in the freezer and they won't stick to each other. To cook from frozen, follow the frying instructions. Don't defrost them though or they will get soggy!
Once you get the hang of it (this was only our second attempt!), it's really easy and an hour's labour will impress your friends and family and stock your freezer for another instant meal too. The ingredients for this batch of dumplings cost around £5 (the dumpling wrappers should be between £1-2), which is the same price as one serving that you might get at a restaurant.
More frugal recipes.