Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday: D4SA Dumplings

Cabbage-carrot gyoza dumplings with fried tofu and rice.

Another D4SA first - homemade dumplings. Gyoza are Japanese dumplings typically filled with pork and scallions, shrimp, or other meats. (Their Chinese incarnation is often called "potstickers.") Usually they're light-colored - ours are brown because we used the half-white flour we got this week from Cayuga Pure Organics. This isn't really a weeknight meal, but they're much easier to make than their cute shape might imply.


For the dough:

In a bowl, mix 2 cups all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup water. When it comes together, turn out and knead the dough on a floured surface for about 3 minutes. Then shape into a ball, cover with a damp towel, and let rest 10 minutes. After that, knead for 3 more minutes and then roll the dough into a long snake about one inch in diameter. Cut that roll into 24 pieces - each piece will make one gyoza wrapper.
For each piece, press it with your palm to flatten, and then use a rolling pin to roll it into a pancake about three inches wide. You can cut it with the rim of a glass if you want a nice round shape, but it's not really necessary.

For the filling:

Meanwhile, chop up one small head cabbage and a bit over half a pound of carrots. Cut the veggies very fine: the cabbage should be sliced thinly and should not be in very long strips, and the carrot should be cut into very thin, small sticks. (You just want them to be small enough to fit inside the dumplings easily!)
Heat peanut oil in a skillet, and when it's hot add the carrots and saute for several minutes until they have begun to soften. Then add the cabbage and saute for about one minute. Add four teaspoons soy sauce and two teaspoons mirin, and stir and fry for about five minutes, until the vegetables are wilted and melded together. (You could vary this by adding some grated ginger, crumbled tofu, toasted sesame seeds...etc.)

To make the dumplings:

Take a round of dough and place a little of the filling in its center. Fold the circle in half to surround the filling and gently pinch it closed at the top of the half-moon. Then (this is the hardest part) "pleat" the dough on one side of the half-circle to close the dumpling. This is hard to describe without pictures, so we recommend you check out this site to see how it's done.
From this point, the dumpling can be either steamed or pan-fried. We steamed our dumplings in a typical steamer basket for about ten minutes total. They have to be in a single layer in the basket, so it might take a couple batches to finish all your dumplings.

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