> Asian | whip until fluffy

Asian

Beetroot & Carrot Gyoza

Beetroot and Carrot Gyoza

Every now and then I like to try my hand at something a bit fancy. I first made gyoza about three years ago, when I was still in my old flat. I was new to Leeds and Matt used to work long shifts, so I’d spend my evenings in the kitchen, trying new things. I covered all sorts of stuff, from Thai fishcakes to chicken kievs. Because I had time, I made things you might usually buy ready-made, just to teach myself a few techniques – the more complicated (and far from essential) stuff you can only really attempt if you’ve got hours on your side.

Crimping gyoza is the kind of long job that becomes weirdly therapeutic. The first few are fiddly, but after a bit you settle into a system and before you know it you’ve got a whole tray crimped and ready to steam. I’m not even going to attempt to explain to you how to do it, so have a look at this video to guide you – I owe it everything. Last night, I had plenty of mix, so I made fifty. After sharing 16 yesterday and demolishing six today alone, 28 are now nestling between layers of greaseproof paper in my freezer to steam or fry at a later date. They’ll last quite happily in there for about three months – tidily achieving one of the 5 Steps to a Happier Kitchen Life I wrote about last week. Stock that freezer, readers!

Beetroot and Carrot Gyoza

Beetroot and Carrot Gyoza

Beetroot and Carrot Gyoza

Believe it or not, this was one of those “let’s see what we have in the fridge” meals. I use my local asian supermarket pretty well – stocking up on sauces, vinegars and spices regularly. It’s cheap, and you can find more exciting things than you might see browsing the shelves at Tesco Express. I usually have a store of gyoza wrappers hanging around. I buy them frozen for about £1.75 a packet, and each one contains about 60 skins. While I love stuffing them with minced pork or shredded duck, these babies are particularly cost effective when you rifle through your crisper drawer to see what’s left.

On Saturday afternoon, during a search of the fridge and cupboard, I found a shrivelling piece of ginger, a wrinkled red chilli, an onion, a corn on the cob, one carrot left in the bottom of the packet, some sorry-looking spring onions and three cooked beetroots that had been stewing in a tupperware since Christmas. Grated up and mixed together, this veg that might’ve just as easily ended up in bin came together as fragrant, spicy bites which don’t just fill a hole, but genuinely impress whoever’s eating them. I added a squeeze of (again, shrivelled) lime, a dash of soy and a slug of rice vinegar to help, too.

Beetroot and Carrot Gyoza

So are we steaming or are we frying? Well, both of course! These guys get their underside fried til golden, then we add water to the pan to steam them through – potsticker style. This way, you get crunch and chew. It’s the best. What I especially love about these is that the beetroot starts to bleed through the skin so they turn pink. Simple pleasures, eh?

Beetroot & Carrot Gyoza
Yields 50
Cheap, healthy bites that'll seriously impress your guests
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
10 min
For the Gyoza
  1. 3 Cooked Beetroot
  2. 1 Carrot
  3. 1 Corn on the Cob (or half a small tin)
  4. 1 Red Chilli
  5. 1 Knob of Ginger
  6. 5 Garlic Cloves
  7. A Sprig of Coriander
  8. 1 Onion
  9. 3 Spring Onions
  10. 1 tsp Light Soy Sauce
  11. 1 tsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  12. Juice of Half a Lime
  13. 1 Pack of Gyoza Skins
For the Dipping Sauce
  1. 60ml Light Soy Sauce
  2. 60ml Rice Wine Vinegar
  3. ½ tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
  4. Chopped Spring Onion to Garnish
Instructions
  1. If using a food processor, throw in your peeled garlic cloves, peeled ginger, roughly chopped red chilli, halved onion and trimmed spring onions. Pulse for 10 to 20 seconds until the mix is chopped finely. If you don't have a processor, either dice all ingredients as finely as possible or grind in a pestle and mortar until the correct consistency is reached.
  2. Remove the mix from the processor and transfer into a frying pan. Add a slug of vegetable oil and fry, keeping the mix moving, for four-five minutes to soften the onions and bring out the flavours.
  3. Back in the food processor (don't panic - there's no need to clean it), pulse your sweetcorn, carrot and beetroot until it looks as though it's been grated - you want to keep the texture chunkier so it has a bit of bite to it. When finished, transfer to a bowl with the ginger and onion mix and combine.
  4. Add your soy sauce, vinegar and the juice of half a lime to the mix and stir through. Set aside.
  5. Pour a little water into a glass or ramekin and set it next to your bowl of mix on a chopping board. With a gyoza skin in one hand, spoon around a teaspoon of the mix into the centre.
  6. Dip your finger into the water and trace it around the edge of the skin and fold the skin in half, the bottom up to the meet the top, being careful not to seal it. Use your fingers to create folds in the front flap of the skin, crimping around 5 times per gyoza. For reference - have a look at the video mentioned earlier in this post, a visual speaks a thousand words, after all.
  7. Repeat, getting into a nice rhythm, until all your skins are used. You'll probably have a little mix leftover. Put a frying pan on a medium heat, and add a good slug of vegetable oil to the bottom.
  8. When the pan is hot, place your a few gyoza into the pan, so their folds point straight up. This flat bottom will get nice and browned as they fry. I can fit around 12 in my large frying pan, but you can pack them in quite tightly if necessary. Keep an eye on them and after 3-4 minutes, the bottoms should turn a golden brown colour.
  9. When the frying stage is complete, get around 65ml (that's roughly a quarter cup) of water from the tap and throw it into the pan, still on the heat. Be sure of yourself, and as soon as the water hits, cover the pan (with anything - if it doesn't have a lid, use a plate or a baking sheet!) and allow the gyoza to steam for 4-5 minutes, or until the water is gone.
  10. As the gyoza steam, pour equal parts light soy and rice wine vinegar into a small dish. Sprinkle with dried chilli flakes and drop in some chopped spring onion. Take to the table.
  11. When the water is gone, turn off the heat and transfer your gyoza to a dish. Take them to the table with pride! Alternatively, keep your gyoza in a a simmering oven - about 80ºC - while you fry and steam your second batch.
whip until fluffy http://whipuntilfluffy.com/
Beetroot and Carrot Gyoza

Have you ever made gyoza? If so, let’s compare notes! If not, what’s stopping you? Next time, I’m thinking I could experiment and stuff my skins with confit duck. I think I’ll deep fry them too, and serve with a plum sauce. I love these ideas from Serious Eats – maybe I’ll add a fig or two?

Sweet & Spicy Corn Fritters

Sweet Corn Fritters

I’m learning to cook frugally and I’m not very good at it. The sight of leftovers turns me cold. Wilted greens, hardened chicken, mushy noodles; none of that stuff is my bag. Surprisingly though, I’m scraping by. A good thing – meal planning comes naturally to me, a control freak through and through. Reusing ingredients isn’t the problem (I’d eat beetroot, chicken, cabbage or whatever for 5 days in a row without complaint), it’s just that congealing, sorry-looking mess in the tupperware container on the 2nd shelf down that I take issue with.

A few weeks ago Matt and I were set to tuck into a creamy noodle soup for tea, a loose take on a Malaysian laksa we’d made on the weekend that was absolutely glorious the first time around. For reasons even I don’t understand, I couldn’t face eating what was left unless I created something, just a little something, slightly different to go with it. A dumpling, perhaps, or one of those delicious fried snacks that help you start off a thai takeaway before you hit the gang panaeng head on. Our usual store of frozen gyoza skins were sadly sacrificed in the move, plus with a lack of filling options, nothing defrosted and less than £3 in my purse, those little parcels I know and love seemed truly unobtainable. With a can of Green Giant staring at me out of the store cupboard, I came up with the plan. A quick trip to Co-op and £1.50 later, I was back with spring onions and chillies to fry up some sweetcorn fritters.

Served with a tangy, salty dipping sauce, these fritters were an ideal accompaniment to our fiery, fragrant soup. I think the first time I made them they ended up a little big. There wasn’t quite as many crisp outer edges as I would’ve liked. When I revisited the recipe this weekend I made sure to keep the dollop of batter to no more than a modest tablespoon full. It pains me to say it, but heaping here is not the way to go.

I’m really looking forward to making these again, maybe this time with a dishful of Singapore Noodles, or alongside pork potstickers and thai fishcakes when I have friends round and want to impress. From cupboard to plate these took no longer than 20 minutes and the batter can be made in advance as well as frozen to make the after work prep even easier. What I like even more, is that they’re easily adapted to suit fussy eaters. As long as your guest doesn’t hate corn itself, you can spice the little cakes to adapt to anyone’s tastes. Add an extra chilli, lemongrass and coriander for something quite delicate and fragrant, or grind up coriander seeds, star anise and Szechuan peppercorns for something more warming.

Sweet Corn Fritters

Ingredients (Makes 12 Fritters)

For the Batter:

1.5 Large Tins (roughly 400g) Sweetcorn
2 Red Chillis
5 Spring Onions

110g Flour
3/4 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Paprika
2 Eggs
75ml Milk
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper

Vegetable Oil to Fry

For the Dipping Sauce:

1/4 cup Sweet Chilli Sauce
1/4 cup Light Soy Sauce
1 tsp Fish Sauce
1 tbsp Rice Wine

Method

1. Chop your spring onions and your chilli as roughly or as finely as you like. I tend to leave my onions fairly chunky to add a bit of texture to the mix. Drain your sweetcorn. Combine your veg in a bowl and set aside.

2. In another bowl, mix your flour, baking powder and paprika. Add salt and pepper to taste, I use around a teaspoon of each. When the dry ingredients are well combined, crack your eggs into the bowl and beat. Next, pour your milk in slowly while you mix it to combine. You may not need all of it, depending on how thick you want your batter. I tend to add milk to mine until it’s roughly the consistency of custard.

3. Take your batter and add it a little at a time to the bowl which contains your veg. Mix it through until it coats each kernel of corn but you don’t want too much excess. Heat a 1cm high layer of vegetable (or another flavourless) oil in a large frying pan. Olive oil isn’t a good choice here as it will take longer to reach the desired temperature and will leave the fritters with a distinctive taste. Plus, it’s expensive!

4. To test if the oil is hot enough to fry in, I take a chopstick I got from Shop-Chopsticks and dip it into the oil. Any thin, wooden utensil will do – try the end of a wooden spoon! If you spot small bubbles around the edge of the stick, your oil is ready to go. Grab a table spoon of your batter mix (remember, don’t over do it!) and splosh it into the pan. I managed to fit about 5 fritters in but it’ll depend on the size of your pan.

5. Leave the fritters to cook for 1 to 2 minutes on the first side and then flip them. They should be a lovely golden brown colour. When they’re done on the other side (they should need slightly less time after the flip!) lift them out of the oil and onto a piece of kitchen roll or a clean tea towel. This will help soak up the oil so they retain their crispiness. Repeat with the next batch.

6. While your second and third batch cook, mix up the ingredients for the dipping sauce in a small dish or ramekin. When the fritters are all done, sprinkle with salt and pepper and a little fresh coriander if you have it. Wolf down like your life depends on it.

Sweet Corn Fritters