For the third day we venture out of Europe and to the East for a dish that we love but were quite nervous about tackling - gyoza!
If you're in or near Leeds and have never been to Fuji Hiro we suggest you correct that at your nearest convenience. It's in a bit of an odd part of town but the food is beautiful, particularly they're pork and veggie gyoza. We've always wanted to give making these Japanese dumplings a go but it seemed such a daunting task, turns out it's not that bad at all.
There is a lot of prep though so you need to set aside quite a bit of a day to get cracking. The filling is easy enough, just a case of blitzing or finely chopping all the ingredients and making sure they're well mixed. It's tempting to get making the dumplings immediately but we would advise you chill the mixture in the fridge for a couple of hours beforehand as it just firms up the filling and makes it easier to handle.
One of the things that most put us off giving this a go was sourcing gyoza skins, they're not that easy to come by even in many Chinese supermarkets and buying them online seemed a little ...odd. Yes we could make them ourselves but that would mean finally buying the pasta maker we've been putting off getting so buy them online we did, from here. Delivery makes them quite pricey but it's a well oiled operation, the gyoza skins arrive next day suitably packaged to keep them cold and will last for up to a day in the fridge so you kind of need to plan your gyoza day in advance.
Of course actually creating the dumplings was another challenge that kept us unwilling to give it a go but it turned out to be quite fun and pretty straight forward.
Every skin is filled with a heaped teaspoon of filling, keep a bowl of water handy and wet one half of the pastry, fold, make sure that the filling stays in the centre and you've got nice pressed together edge that will hold everything together then pleat, (which is basically little folds in on itself all across what becomes the top of the dumpling)!
One tip we would give while constructing is try and keep your fingers as clean and dry as possible throughout, the wetter everything gets the more chance you'll have of tearing the pastry or everything falling apart. You'll get about 26 or so gyoza out of this, some of which you can freeze after cooking if you'd like.
The cooking is pretty easy, though a little nerve-wracking, they're not called 'pot-stickers' for noting. You fry the gyoza initially in a little oil just until the bottoms are browned (a few minutes) then add a splash of water and a lid to steam them for a further 5 minutes of so. We added a bit too big of splash and a few did get a little too soggy to rescue from collapsing. All in all though we were rather chuffed with the end result and feel a little foolish for leaving it for so long, it wasn't as difficult or faffy as first percieved.
They didn't end up being quite as good as Fuji Hiro's gyoza but they were pretty damn tasty, we ate the whole lot as a meal!
The dipping sauce at Fuji Hiro is what really makes them amazing gyoza, it's extra vinegary and there's another flavour there two that you can't quite place, must be some secret ingredient! We just used two parts soy sauce to one part rice vinegar and it was tasty but not same. However, 9/10 will try again.
Enjoyed with: A Tiger lager of course!