What is is about food that comes in bite sized portions that appeals to me so? Vol au vents, tapas, canapes, dim sum...so tasty, so dainty, so easy to fit five in my mouth at once. But my all time favourite has to be the humble Japanese dumpling - the gyoza.
Japanese food is so much more then just pricey sashimi, deadly puffer fish or that dodgy supermarket pack of sushi you pick up on days you're trying to be good. They have a whole world of food known as B-Class Gourmet which is made up of tasty, cheap dishes full of flavour and comfort, like giant hot bowls of savoury ramen, fried pancakes filled with anything you fancy called okonomiyaki and these amazingly easy to make tiny morsels of deliciousness. Bonus is you can fry up dozens of these and freeze any you don't plan on eating for a quick snack another day, and you can do all the steps up to the steaming in advance to save on time and kitchen space.
Chicken Gyoza (Makes about 12 dumplings)
You will need:
For the Gyoza:
- One medium chicken breast or boneless thigh (for a veggie version replace with 2-3 tbsps each of finely diced carrot, green cabbage and mushrooms)
- 3 roughly chopped spring onions
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 chili roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp of grated ginger
- 2 tbsps of fresh coriander roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp of fish sauce
- 1/2 tbsp of sesame oil
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar or mirin
- Gyoza wrappers (you can find these easily in the freezer section of any Asian supermarket, Wonton wrappers also work perfectly for this as well)
- Small bowl of water
- Good glugs of sesame oil and sunflower oil for frying.
For the dipping sauce:
- Mix three parts rice wine vinegar (or mirin) to one part sesame oil and stir in a little chili sauce if you like it spicy.
- Firstly pop all the Gyoza ingredients (except the wrappers and frying oils obviously) in a food processor and blitz until you have a rather gross looking raw chickeny paste, make sure there aren't any large lumps of garlic and spring onion left.
- Lay out your Gyoza or wonton wrappers individually and start spooning the mixture in the middle of each, be careful to not over do it, a small teaspoon in each should be enough.
- Now to seal them, dip your fingers in the water and wet all around the edges of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half and press it down firmly all around the edge making sure its fully sealed, I find using the edge of my hand easiest.
- Now to get fancy, crimp the stuck together edges twice, either side of the middle using a little more water to stick it firmly into shape. Like this.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 with all your wrappers until you have a lovely bunch of dumplings.
- Set a small saucepan of water on a medium heat so it's ready for your steamer, you'll be popping the Gyoza in here after frying (if you don't have a steamer, a colander with a saucepan lid over the top also works, just make sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the colander).
- Pour the sesame and sunflower oils in a pan or wok, just enough so there's few millimetres of oil in the the pan, and set on high to get the oil nice and hot.
- Prepare yourself for hot oil! These babies like to spit and spatter a bit so be careful. Place them in the hot oil with the pinched edges pointing up and let them fry for about 3 minutes or until the bottom gets browned and crisp. Then push them on to their side to fry for another minute or two.
- Once they've gone crispy and brown place them in the steamer and set on top of the simmering water for another 8-10 minutes.
- Mix up your dipping sauce while you wait and once they're done dish up and enjoy!