Gyozas & kimchi pancakes

I had tasted gyozas many times, but really I have to thank my friend’s fab vegan menu in Penny Banger here in Barcelona for inspiring me to make my own. The guy’s bar is not always open due to Covid restrictions so I was desperate to try making my own. Thus with a little help from Meera Sodha’s book ‘East’, some additions, some adjustments, and plenty of practicing pleating the gyozas, I finally made what I think is not a half-bad rendition of the delights from the guy’s establishment.

The gyoza wrappers usually come frozen and in packs of about 25. I usually just leave them in the fridge to defrost if I know I’m going to be making them in a day or so. This recipe should fill all 25 gyozas, depending on the amount of filling you use of course. The great thing is once you’re done, you then freeze them. Then, when you’re in the mood, you simply fry-steam them directly from the freezer! Easy peasy Japanesey!

Sweet potato & mushroom Gyoza (makes about 25)

The filling
–  deodorized coconut oil
– 3 cloves garlic
– 1 tbsp Chilli flakes
– 200g sweet potato peeled and grated (I used my food processor)
– 200g portobello mushrooms chopped (I used my food processor)
– 2 tbsp Tamari sauce (or soy but Tamari has a much woodier sauce and it’s gluten-free!)
– 4 spring onions finely sliced (I got my food processor to finely slice them!)
– ½ tsp salt (I use Himalayan, but whatever is easier)

For the sauce
This depends on how many you have, but myself and the wife normally have 4 each and this will do us to the end and if there’s any leftover…she normally drinks the last of it! So this amount should do you for 8-10 gyozas.
–  4 tbsp tamari (or soy) sauce
– 2 tbsp sesame seed oil
– 1½ tbsp white rice vinegar (or white wine)
– 1 tsp chili flakes
– 2 tsp sesame seeds

Method
In a large frying pan on low heat up about 2 tablespoons of oil and when it’s hot enough, add the garlic and the chili flakes and allow to cook for a minute. Then add the sweet potato and stir fry for a couple of minutes, when the potato is starting to reduce, add the chopped mushrooms and keep stirring for another couple of minutes until slightly cooked and reduced significantly. Then add the tamari sauce and salt and cook for another few minutes, then finally add the spring onions, cook for another couple of minutes and remove from the heat and set aside and let cool for a while. 

To fill the gyozas wrappers; get a large chopping board and a small bowl of water. From the packet of gyoza wrappers, remove about half and place the rest back in the fridge, so they don’t lose moisture and go dry. Place one wrapper in the middle of your hand and with a finger, dip it in water and moisten the edges of the wrapper all around. Then put a tablespoon of the filling in the middle of the wrapper and then fold the wrapper up and over the filling and pinch and pleat the two sides together. This is a little tricky and it takes a few goes to get it right, but you’ve got 25 to do, so you should nail it after a while. Here’s a very good tutorial: https://youtu.be/YAcMQWqVln0 

Once done, place the chopping board or plate with the gyozas straight into the freezer. When they’re frozen, you can just pop them into a bag and leave them in the freezer until you’re ready to eat (but if you’re already in the mood, by all means, go ahead and fry-steam them. 

To fry-steam gyozas
Add a tablespoon of coconut oil to a large frying pan (one that has a lid or use another frying pan)  on medium to low heat. Once hot, place as many gyozas as you’re in the mood for into the pan and let fry for 2-3 minutes. Then, pick one up and see if it’s a nice golden colour underneath. Once that is done, then carefully add about 50ml of cold water (be careful of any splashback from the pan) cover with the lid or other frying pan, and let them steam for about 7 minutes or until the pastry is soft. The same process applies when you do them straight from the freezer.
While you’re waiting for them to be steamed, make the sauce by adding all the sauce ingredients to a bowl and mix. 

Kimchi pancakes

Again, I have to thank my friends for inspiring me to make my own Kimchi pancakes. They didn’t turn out nearly as good as Annie’s, but they’re not half bad. Korean food like Kimchi has become a new food fad in the past couple of years. If you don’t know already, kimchi is fermented napa cabbage. Ok, so why the big deal? Well, it’s the fact that it’s fermented. When we ferment food the starches and sugars are converted to lactic acid and this lactic acid acts as a natural preservative. This transformation enhances the natural, beneficial bacteria in food. These bacteria are known as probiotics or ‘good bacteria and are thought to help a multitude of health issues, specifically digestive health. 

I first discovered kimchi in a @Leon cookbook as avocado on toast compliment. I wasn’t a big fan when I tried it the first time, but together with the avocado, and on toast, it was an interesting combination of tastes. So knowing the health benefits that come from fermenting foods, I’ve become more interested in the subject and thus now our Asian nights in have replaced our tapas nights out. I found a recipe in the ‘East’ by Meera Sodha making a few adjustments and also used my food processor to mix all the ingredients making the job a lot quicker.   

As time is an issue in our household, I tend to batch cook and kimchi pancakes don’t miss out. I like to mine mini-size so I can pick up the whole thing and dip them into the sauce. I make enough of the batter to keep us going for 3 weekly movie nights. I don’t use any animal products and swap the wheat flour for chickpea flour, which is gluten-free. So along with the gyozas and the Guinness, it’s a healthy, tasty, animal-friendly, and guilt-free movie night!   

*NB: I don’t have 2 pans big enough to do the gyozas and pancakes at the same time, so on our nights, I make the pancakes first and leave them in the preheated oven so as not to go cold. Then as mentioned, I cook the gyozas straight from the freezer.   

Mini Kimchi & tofu pancakes (makes about 25 of 45g each and you can freeze the mix) 

  • 375g kimchi 
  • 300g kimchi juice (from the jar) 
  • 240g chickpea flour (I use this flour as it keeps them gluten-free) 
  • 1 tsp salt. 
  • 300g tofu 
  • 120g bean sprouts 
  • 5 spring onions
  • Some shredded spinach
  • Deodorized coconut oil. 

Method
Drain the juice from the kimchi into a measuring jug, you’ll need to squeeze out the juice well to get the 300ml juice you need. If you don’t have enough, simply add water instead. Place the juice and the kimchi into the food processor. Add the tofu, the spring onions, the beansprouts, the flour, and the salt. Quickly process but not too much. You’ll end up with quite a wet batter. 

To cook the pancakes, heat a tablespoon of oil in oil into a large frying pan on low-medium heat. Spoon out a heaped amount of batter using a soup spoon, drop it onto the pan, and spread it out using the back of the spoon. If you want your pancakes a little bigger, by all means, add a little more batter and spread out a little further. We’ll normally make about 6 of these. Cook for about 5 minutes each side until they are golden brown and crispy, remove and place on some kitchen towel just to take away any extra oil, then they go straight into the oven which I set to 100oC just enough to keep hot.

On a final note, can I just say that if Carlsberg were to make a beer and snack combo, it would be Guinness and Gyoza! My Goodness…It’s Delishness! ….and I’m sure Carlsberg would be delighted to hear that! ;o)
Don’t knock it till you try it!

Final Step
-Remove Guinness from fridge. Pour.
-Place gyozas and kimchi on plate. Grab chopsticks.
-Don’t forget sauce and..
-As they say in Japan….”meshiagare 戴きます!, 召し上がれ!”…(Bon appetit!) 

The perfect combination