Japanese Gyoza with Spicy-Sauce
Kennon-Green & Co. Global Asset Management, Wealth Management, Investment Advisory, and Value Investing

Nudiustertian, when done with our responsibilities, Aaron and I went to see Disney’s Maleficent in theaters.  Yesterday, in the late afternoon, one of my sisters came by the house and mentioned wanting to see it, so we offered to go back and watch it a second time.  Later that night, she hung out for awhile, watching a Korean drama in the other room while we worked.  Before she left, she mentioned that she’s been wanting to learn to cook.  She wanted to know if we’d be interested in making a Japanese recipe with her.

[mainbodyad]That’s easy: Yes.  I’m always up for trying something new and it seemed like fun, especially after we toured the Japanese garden last week at the Huntington in Pasadena.

She arrived at 5 p.m., Aaron turned on the Japanese music, and we set to work attempting to make Japanese Gyoza stuffed with pork, cabbage, and onion.  It’s a popular dish originally adapted from China.  It seemed like a good first recipe to have her try without being too technically difficult or out of the ordinary flavor profile.  We got the recipe from a very helpful YouTube personality, ochikeron.  Here’s her video:

We doubled the recipe so there would be leftovers (she’s a college student; leftovers are good) and made a bit of a modification on the long onion.  Normally, I’d want a dish like this as an appetizer before a main course that included a green vegetable but since this is my sister’s first time in the kitchen, one dish is the limit.  Though, imagine if we had made Korean, instead, and she tried to tackle all the banchan at once, haha!  That would have been cruel.  We’ll save that for later in the culinary journey.

Japanese Gyoza Flour

The Japanese Gyoza wrappers were the first step. We began by putting 7 ounces of bread flour and 7 ounces of cake flour in a bowl, adding warm salt water, stirring, and mixing into dough.

Japanese Gyoza Pork Dough Ball

The dough was kneaded for 8 minutes until it was smooth.

Japanese Gyoza Wrappers Before Rolling

Next, we rolled it into small loaves and set each aside for 30 minutes while we worked on the rest of the Gyoza recipe.

Ingredients for Japanese Gyoza

We gathered the ingredients for the filling – napa cabbage, pork, long onion, garlic, sesame oil, and soy sauce.

Blanching Napa Cabbage for Japanese Gyoza

We had to blanch the napa cabbage for 60 seconds, cool it under cold water, dry it by hand, then …

Blanched and Chopped Spinach Ready for Filling Japanese Gyoza

… cut it into small pieces.

Japanese Gyoza Filling Ready to Use

With everything ready to go, the next step was to put it in a bowl, add freshly cracked black peppercorn, and then mix thoroughly by hand.

Japanese Gyoza Wrappers

Next, we needed to return to our Gyoza wrappers. We cut them into small pieces then rolled them into small circles.

Japanese Gyoza Wrappers Ready to Be Filled with Pork

In a few minutes, we had transformed the Gyoza dough into nice circular exteriors that will hold the filling.

Stuffing Japanese Gyoza with Pork

Time to stuff the Gyoza with the pork filling!

Putting Japanese Gyoza Pork in Pan

… That was harder than it looked. My fancy pie skills didn’t quite translate into making the odd shapes for the Gyoza. Some looked like poorly conceived modern art. This is one of those things that will require practice.

The next steps involved frying the bottom of the Gyoza until brown, adding 1/3rd their depth in water, covering, and letting steam cook for 10 minutes. We used the meat thermometer to make sure the correct temperature had been reached, removed the lid, let the water boil away, then continued cooking on a higher heat until they had a hint of crispiness.  At some point, I also mixed the soy, vinegar, and spicy chili sauce to serve as the sauce.  It had just enough of a burn it was delicious.

Japanese Gyoza with Spicy Sauce

We had extra pork filling left over so we put a bit on each plate to mix it in with the rice.  You can tell the folding technique of the Gyoza wrappers needs a lot of work but it didn’t hurt the flavor at all.  There was way too much food (and I even skipped lunch so I could really enjoy it!) as the rice, onion, and cabbage provided a lot of bulk – lite fare this is not.  The leftovers will last my sister for awhile, so none of it went to waste.

Add Gyoza to the list of dishes I like.  We’ve given French and Italian a lot of focus.  Maybe I should add Mexican and certain Asian countries to the list, next.  I wouldn’t mind really mastering this school of cuisine and having it stored in memory, available on command.  I feel like the sauces are important.  This meal would have been completely different if we had something like 3-5 different sauces for people to experience.  Maybe that will be one of my personal projects.  I’m not sure I have time … I’ll add it to my “future research list”, which seems to always expand faster than I can tackle it.  My curiosity exceeds the limitations of the hours I’ve been granted.  Why do humans have to sleep?  I could get so much more done if it weren’t necessary; so many more topics to study and master.

I’m going to try to finish some tasks on my agenda, Aaron is going to the gym (I’ll go later tonight), and my sister is starting Tales of Xilla in the living room, which I played last year.  Hearing the music is making me nostalgic for the countless weeks spent on my journey with Jude, Milla, and the rest of the gang.  It was such a good game.  I can’t wait for the sequel to be released in 3 months!  Seriously, August 19th needs to be here now because I’m clearing my schedule.  Actually, I’m going to go pre-order my copy.  Why wait?  Hold on …. Okay.  Done!  Ahhh!!!!  I’m so excited for it.