Project Food Blog: The Classics

Whew, we made it through Challenge #1! Thank you ALL so much for your votes and support! Mwah! Challenge #2 is upon us! It’s titled “The Classics”. Sounds fun, eh? We are tasked with tackling a classic dish from another culture. Easy peasy right? Oh wait, I stopped reading the directions too quickly {a bad habit of mine} We are to pick an ethnic classic that is outside of our comfort zone. Oooooh.

Well that rules out Italian*wink wink*, French, Spanish, and American… tick tock Paula the clock is ticking. Well then I’m taking a trip ACROSS the world to JAPAN! Yes, I decided on Japanese. It’s a food that I LOVE to eat but have not really tackled at home {unless you count take out and well}. So where would I go for this authentic Japanese inspiration? To my dear friend Rachael of La Fuji Mama of course ; ) She loves {& KNOWS} Japan like I love Italy. After hours of drooling ehem contemplation GYOZA was decided on. I’ve never made Gyoza before in my life and the thought of it was a little daunting I’m not going to lie!

Gyoza are dumplings that are fried and steamed. They are sometimes referred to as pot stickers {perhaps because they stick to the bottom of the pot when you’re cooking them ; ) just a thought}. They’re filled with meat, cabbage, aromatics and more and are accompanied by a divine dipping sauce. They’re perfectly pleated half moons of pure deliciousness.

Now that the decision of what to make is complete, it was time to look over the ingredient list. I was familiar with all but ONE ingredient…Miso Paste. What in the world is Miso Paste you ask? I asked the same thing.

According to WikiPedia “Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting rice, barley and/or soybeans, with salt and the fungus kjikin, the most typical miso being made with soy. The result is a thick paste used for sauces and spreads, pickling vegetables or meats, and mixing with dashi soup stock to serve as miso soup called misoshiru, a Japanese culinary staple. High in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals, miso played an important nutritional role in feudal Japan. Miso is still very widely used in Japan, both in traditional and modern cooking, and has been gaining world-wide interest. Miso is typically salty, but its flavor and aroma depend on various factors in the ingredients and fermentation process. Different varieties of miso have been described as salty, sweet, earthy, fruity, and savory, and there is a very wide variety of miso available.”

Because we’re supposed to keep this challenge as close to authentic as possible I really wanted to include Miso Paste. So I set out on a mission. Psst..save yourself a lot of time and find a nice Asian Market straight away, trust me on this one. I could have bought a case of miso paste for the amount of gas I used driving around ; )

So I figured that as long as this was a challenge we should go all out right! We’re making the WRAPPERS too! Fuji Mama assured me I could and well I believed her ; )

We made the dough, let it rest as directed and began making the filling. Pork, Ginger, Garlic {hello lover}, Green Onion, Savory Sesame Oil, Miso Paste, Napa Cabbage and a few dashes of this and that…can’t you just smell it? It’s intoxicating even before they’re cooked.

So far so good. But now it’s time to roll the dough out…You may remember from the last Challenge post I mentioned we’ve been moving. Well there are a few things that still haven’t made it into my kitchen and one is my beloved rolling pin. I had to do a little Macgyver action. I used an empty wine bottle {I think that’s worth a few extra points don’t you} Well that was only working to a certain extent, SO I pulled out my handy dandy pasta machine and rolled them out! Worked liked a champ ; )

Now to get those perfect little circles…Well I’m sure that takes YEARS and YEARS of practice because my first few attempts were fruitless. So *light bulb* let’s use a cookie cutter! Again, that would have been perfect had I been able to LOCATE one. So again, my Macgyver instincts kicked in and I located a stainless cocktail shaker. I know you’re think a cocktail shaker Paula? YES, the top of the cocktail shaker is the EXACT shape and worked like a charm {I’m sensing more bonus points here}

Whew, disaster averted. Albeit for the moment LOL

Now onto filling those little babies and wrapping them into the perfect little pleated package. I dropped a nice size dollop of filling onto my perfectly circular wrappers, damped the edges and then it was time to tackle the PLEATS. Sigh. They weren’t turning out perfectly. I figured there would be a few misshapen gyoza before I hit my stride but those pleats were just eluding me. I think this is a job better suited for someone with petite hands {obviously mine are not} But being stubborn as mule I didn’t give up, and you know what, a few of them looked pretty darn good {for a novice that is} It took me about 2 hours to complete this task but I did it! Next time, I’ll have a pleating party and have some “helpers”.

That’s right 2 hours to make them and about 2 minutes to scarf them down. But I’d do it again! They were out of this world good!

Needless to say they might not be the preetiest Gyoza on the block but they are insanely delicious. Rachael’s RECIPE is spot on {plus she has some beautiful step by step photos which are incredibly helpful} and if I can do it, so can you!

Voting will be open on MONDAY so if you so desire {wink wink} I’d love it if you’d consider helping us get to Challenge 3 by placing a vote! You can use the widget below to VOTE. Grazie! 

Baci!

42 Comments

  1. 1

    Sodelicious! I am glad you did something Asian. This is one of my favorite cuisines, besides Italian food! :)

  2. 2

    Paula they are absolutely amazing! Now you can check off Japanese as another cuisine conquered :-) Good luck I hope to see you in Round 3 – you will definitely be there, me, after seeing all the fab entries, not so sure – there is SO MUCH talent out there!

    • 2.1

      Thanks so much Mardi! You did an amazing job and I’m sure you’ll be moving on ; )

  3. 3

    WONDERFUL!!! These look gorgeous, and I’m sure (like everything you make) they were delicious! You’ve got my vote :)

    • 3.1

      Thank you Mara! Fuji Mama’s recipe was ah-mazing & they were oh so tasty!

  4. 4

    Beautiful photos and I love Japanese food. Great post!

  5. 5

    Like little flowers..Well well done!

  6. 6

    Wow, so impressed! I’ve never made my own potstickers before, let alone the wrappers. So cool! You’ll be getting my vote again. :-)

  7. 7

    Well done. Fun narrative and great photos!

  8. 8

    I made Chinese Dumplings earlier this year and they probably would have been my chosen classic if I hadn’t already made them! I think you perfectly captured the challenges of making these for the first time! I’ll be casting a vote for you tomorrow – Good luck.

  9. 9

    gorgeous as usual….love your recipes, you are gonna make it :))) good luck.

  10. 10

    How great Paula and good for you for getting all McGeyvery!!! This was very fun to read as I also went to Japan :D Best of luck my friend!!

  11. 11
  12. 12

    Looks perfect! I love dumplings of all kinds :)

  13. 13

    Paula, you have my vote, this looks great!

  14. 14

    Oh this looks so good I LOVE pot stickers! I voted for you!

  15. 15

    You rocked it! I’m so proud of you! You fully embraced this challenge and went way out of your comfort zone. I’m so impressed. Not only did you make the gyoza, but you went above and beyond by making the wrappers. Who’s the Gyoza Ninja now? ;)

  16. 16

    Your gyosa are gorgeous – they make me salivate and hungry! I love making dumplings but never tried gyosa. I’m bookmarking your recipe and will make a batch in the near future for sure! Thanks for sharing and good luck with the challenge.

    • 16.1

      Thank you Marie! I’m so glad I conquered my fear now I’ll just need a few years to perfect my pleating technique ; )

  17. 17

    Yummy yummy in my tummy…. you can come over and Mcgyver anytime for me ;-) Good luck, but I know you don’t need it! ;-)

  18. 18

    Great pictures! I love your blog. Gyoza are one of my favorite appetizers. You’ve inspired me to try making them myself.

    • 18.1

      Thanks Amanda! You should definitely try these! If I can, so can YOU : )

  19. 19

    Great! Looks great! you have my vote! :)

  20. 20

    These look amazing!!! I voted!! :D

  21. 21

    This recipe looks super delicious! I am going to have to try this. Good luck!

  22. 22

    Gorgeous!! You got my vote:)

  23. 23

    beautiful folding for the gyoza! they look delicious!

  24. 24

    GASP!!! LOVE dumplings of any kind but boy, don’t know if I could eat something so beautiful . . . oh who am I kidding – YES I’D EAT THESE!!!

  25. 25

    Gyoza!!! So much happiness in a such a small bite! I’m so excited you decided to take this challenge on. The more people that make gyoza, the more smiles it will bring to everyone. Also, don’t worry about the pleats, I hear once you get how to do them, you can do it like clockwork. Any who, voted for you, good luck!

  26. 26

    Ooh… Perfect choice for the challenge. You did a fantastic job!

  27. 27

    Your photos look so beautiful! Like flowers :)

  28. 28

    Very lovely…This is a beautiful entry for challenge #2 :)

  29. 29

    Impressive! Wow-even making the wrappers – great job! You’ve got one of my votes!

  30. 30

    paula, you have my vote for sure. great job.

  31. 31

    Your pleats are so perfect, it looks like you’ve been doing this forever. Can’t wait to see what’s next, voting for you!

    Lick My Spoon

  32. 32
    Faye /

    Wow, those are beautiful-it’s amazing that this is the first time you’ve made them!! I’ve made shu mai, and pot stickers with a Chinese friend of mine guiding me, so I know it’s not as simple as it looks to get them so beautiful!

  33. 33

    Those are insanely good look Gyozo, and they look beautifully pleated. Has my vote – good luck.
    Sue :-)

  34. 34

    These are very pretty gyoza-so I will ignore the fact that you don’t they are the prettiest on the block. Bet they taste wonderful. You have my vote over at foodbuzz-of course. Saw Fuji Mama this week in LA. She was telling me how much fun you gals have chatting together.

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