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Gyoza (Potstickers)

Been helping my mother out with making Chinese dumplings (jiaozi in Chinese, gyoza in Japanese) over the last hour or so. This is the second time I've learnt to fold dumplings, and both times, I've had all the dexterity of a hamster (DEX -10). They were definitely not very pretty, and it took me a while to adjust the amount of filling. Mom was pretty strict about "exactly one teaspoon!", seeing as how I underfilled a lot at first to make the folding easier. We made minced chicken and vegetable dumplings, but you can mess around with the type and ratio of meat and vegetables as you'd prefer it. Nicely seasoned minced vegetables alone or with minced mock abalone/mock roast duck/vegetarian sausage would make nice vegetarian dumplings.

Filling:

2 parts raw minced chicken meat (thoroughly chilled)
1 parts Chinese cabbage leaves
1 bushel chives (finely chopped)
ice cold water
salt and pepper to taste

Gyoza skins can be purchased from Asian grocery stores.

1. In a meat processor, combine the chilled chicken meat (it must be straight out of the fridge) with a pinch of salt and pepper and whir until the meat paste becomes springy. The texture being sought is gluey yet firm, about the consistency of cookie dough. When you flatten a bit of the paste with your fingertip, it should feel slightly less firm than silly putty. If you don't have a meat processor, you can also whip the meat paste in a colander with a spoon until the desired texture is attained. (Takes about 15-20 minutes, depending on the amount of meat.) Store the completed meat paste in the fridge until ready to use. Important: The secret to springy meatballs of any sort is to keep the meat very cold. If you find that the meat paste is getting towards room temperature, add a tablespoon of ice cold water before mixing again.

2. Blanch the cabbage leaves until wilted and allow to cool. Finely chop the cooled cabbage leaves.

3. Add all the vegetables to the meat paste. Mix well.

Folding the gyoza:

1. Lay the gyoza skin on your palm, floured side down.

2. Add a teaspoon of filling towards the side of the skin facing you, leaving about half a finger segment of space between the filling and the edge of the skin.

3. Very lightly dampen the edge of the dumpling skin with cold water.

4. Loosely fold the edges of the skin towards each other, forming a horn-shaped dumpling, with the edges of the skin facing upwards (towards your fingertips).

5. With the thumb and forefinger of your free hand, crimp (fold) only the skin on the side of the dumpling facing you in small increments towards the top-centre of the dumpling.

6. You might find that some of the filling will leak out the edges of the dumpling. Gently wipe all the excess filling off.

7. Seal the dumpling completely by pressing the crimped side of the skin into the flat side of the skin. If you find that the skin has dried too much to adhere properly, dab a little water onto the edges of the dumpling.

Alternative gyoza folding methods:

Hamper-style (not related to hamsters):

1. Lay the gyoza skin on your palm, floured side down.

2. Add half a teaspoon of filling in the center of the skin.

3. Gather up the edges of the skin towards the center, so the filling is wrapped at the bottom of the "bag".

4. Twist the edges of the skin to shut the "neck" of the bag.

5. Gyoza prepared this way is best deep-fried.

Siew Mai (open-faced dumpling) style:

1. Lay the gyoza skin on your palm, floured side down.

2. Add a teaspoon of filling in the center of the skin.

3. Press the skin up around the filling so the edges nearly meet. The shape should resemble a bucket of skin filled with meat.

4. This form of gyoza is best steamed.

Cooking the Gyoza:

Pan Frying (Potstickers):


1. In a flat-bottomed frying pan, heat up just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan.

2. Line the gyoza filling-side down. Allow to sizzle and lightly brown.

3. Add just enough water (preferably hot) to coat the bottom of the pan.

4. Cover and wait for the water to completely dissipate.

5. Serve hot.

The gyoza may also be steamed, deep fried or added to soup. If you intend to add the gyoza to soup, the gyoza must be steamed beforehand to prevent the stock from getting starchy.

Best served hot with soy dipping sauce (optional chilli oil and lemon juice) and minced pickled greens.

Storage:

1. Raw dumplings can be frozen. Store upright (filling-side down) in tupperware.

2. Unused filling can be stored in non-reactive containers in the fridge. Paint the surface of the filling with salt water to cure and cover loosely with cling wrap. Any unused filling should be used within 1-2 days. Do not freeze raw unused filling, as this will alter the texture of the paste when cooked.

3. Leftover filling can be shaped into meatballs or patties and either fried, steamed or boiled. Once cooked, the meat paste can be safely frozen.

4. You can also use the leftover filling to make Chinese Steamed Egg Custard (see below):

Chinese Steamed Egg Custard

leftover meat paste
3 eggs
cold water
salt to taste
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 stick spring onion (finely chopped)

1. Beat the eggs.

2. Add water to the ratio of 1 part egg to 2 parts water.

3. Add salt.

4. Pour the meat paste into a shallow bowl. Use enough meat paste to fill up about half the bowl. Flatten the paste to form a thin layer at the bottom of the bowl.

5. Pour the egg mixture on top of the layer of meat. Sprinkle with chopped spring onion.

6. Prepare a steamer or wok (with a steaming rack/plate stand). Ensure that the water in your steaming implement is boiling before putting in the custard mixture.

7. Steam custard mixture on high heat for 5 minutes. Immediately turn down the heat to the lowest setting and steam for an additional 15-20 minutes.

8. Take custard off heat. The custard's surface should be shiny and smooth. It should wobble slightly when provoked the bowl is shaken.

9. Drizzle the soy sauce on top of the custard. Serve custard hot with steamed rice.

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Comments

vampyrichamster
Jul. 17th, 2007 01:59 am (UTC)
Shrimp is awesome. Chicken + shrimp is the best combination evah.*nodnodnod*

I'd love to develop better folding skills. Apart from jiaozi and wontons, there's plenty of stuff to do with pasta skins and fillo pastry. *nodnodnod*

Also, jiaozi freezes well, can be a balanced mix of meat and veggies, and is easily cooked. It makes an excellent foodstuff for the single person alone!
atomicduck
Jul. 17th, 2007 03:27 am (UTC)
yeah, you could make up your own style of dumplings, it's so open-ended. :D

and so true about the freezing. wrap 100 jiaozi on the weekend, and you're pretty much set for the week (unless you get sick of eating nothing but, haha).
vampyrichamster
Jul. 17th, 2007 03:31 am (UTC)
I'm used to making huge portions of food and freezing myself a meal or two as I go along. :) It served me better than ramen when I was a Uni student!

I need to try danjiao -- the dumplings wrapped in eggs instead of dough. I've never had one of those. Have you?