I like spending time to prepare dinner. Although the idea of preparing supper in 30 minutes or only using five ingredients is nice and practical, it seems like rushing through the process just takes away the true enjoyment behind cooking. In this incredibly fast-paced environment, the kitchen is the only place where I can take my sweet ass time and not feel rushed.
Admittedly, I cannot spend a long time every night to make something to eat, especially if I have a hungry stomach waiting to be fed, including my own, but I try to spend at least one weekend night preparing a meal that’s meaningful, thoughtful, and handled with care.
Now that the weekend is finally here, I decided to make gyoza from scratch. I usually use the pre-made wrappers that I pick up at a local supermarket (available in the refrigerated Asian food section next to tofu), but I thought it would be therapeutic to knead and roll the dough with my hands this time, giving myself the much-needed relaxation after a week of travel (I like to decompress by submerging in mindless repetitive activities).
Whenever I have searched for a good gyoza recipe online in the past, I would receive results for the fillings but hardly for the dough, until I found this one from Kuidaore, one of my favorite reads in the blogosphere. I finally dusted off the recipe for the night’s gyoza endeavors and got to work, using Jocelyn’s beautifully written words as guidance (the below instruction has been rewritten to my version but definitely check out Kuidaore’s instruction for more intricate detail).
Gyoza Wrapper Dough, courtesy of Kuidaore
(makes 32 dumplings, approx. 4 servings)
250 grams all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 oz. boiling water
Mix the salt and flour in a bowl. Make a well and pour the hot water in the center. Mix quickly with a fork.
Move the dough onto a non-stick working surface (I put a Silpat on a cutting board to create a surface). Don’t worry if the little bits of dough are all over the place. Simply gather them together and make them into a ball.
Knead the dough for about 5-10 minutes. The dough should not be sticky and should be pretty easy to handle. Once the dough is well kneaded and bouncy, cut it into four equal pieces.
Roll each piece into a thick rope and cut it into eight equal pieces. It’s easier to cut it in half first, and cut that in half again, and again, to make eight pieces. I put the little pieces in that bowl that I used to mix the flour and water to set them aside. You can put a wet paper towel on top to stop them from drying but you should be okay if you work fairly quickly.
Put a piece of dough on your palm and roll it to make a small ball. Put the ball down on the non-stick surface and roll the dough into a thin piece using a rolling pin. I used a small Tabasco bottle to roll the dough since the rolling pin was just too big and heavy. I like my dumplings big with lots of filling, so I rolled each dough pretty thin.
Take a teaspoon-full of the filling (I made mine with pork, beef, napa cabbage, carrots, green onions, grated garlic and ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper) and place it in the middle of the dough. Close the top by creating several creases, and pinch the opening shut.
Line up the completed dumplings on a non-stick surface. If you want to save some for later, put the dumplings in the plastic bag and freeze immediately (don’t cook before freezing). They should last for about a month in the freezer.
If you want to boil the gyoza (this method is called “Sui Gyoza,” which translates to “water dumpling”), boil a pot-full of water and drop in the dumplings. Once they float to the top, they are ready to eat. If you like pan-fried version, check this post for instruction.
As for the taste, the bouncy texture of the homemade dough is quite delicious and satisfying. I cannot say, however, that I prefer this one over the thinner cousin from a grocery store because they are very different. These are definitely more dim sum-like than the ones I’m used to eating at home or at a ramen joint. What I know for sure if that these little dumplings are a meal in its own and after a several of them, you’ll be asking, “a bowl of rice who?”
I love the weekend. 🙂