When I was making gyoza for dinner the other night and had a couple of round potsticker wrappers left over, I came up with a great idea of making dessert gyoza … and thought why not use anko, the sweet azuki bean paste, as filling?
I’ve had ichigo daifuku in the past — a soft mochi with anko and a large strawberry in the middle — so the idea of making anko gyoza wasn’t too foreign to me. I was, admittedly, still a little worried about how well they would turn out but I figured combining two of my favorite ingredients, sweet luscious red bean spread and chewy, fluffy dumpling skin, cannot be that bad.
Anko and anything made out of azuki beans is seriously one of my favorite things in the world. As much as I adore chocolate and consider myself a severe chocolate-holic, if it really comes down to it, I would choose azuki over any chocolate confectionaries. Azuki is what I grew up with and the sweetness and the distinct taste of this dark burgundy spread is embedded in my DNA.
I’ve tried many azuki brands over the years but my ultimate favorite is the ogura an made by Morinaga. I prefer the “tsubuan” with little bits of bean still in the paste, instead of “koshian” with smoother consistency, and these azuki cans are usually available in the Asian food section of your local supermarket (unless you happen to live in a city where there is absolutely no Asians in sight).
To make these little dumplings, I followed the same method for regular gyoga.
Well, even though the finished product looked more like Aranzi Aranzo’s Warumono than an appetizing dessert, these little morsels were surprising delicious. I really liked how the azuki paste oozed out after a bite (heavenly). I enjoyed them warm but these can be chilled and enjoyed cold the next day – if they can last that long, that is.