A few months ago, we moved back to London from Singapore. I am really happy to be back home, but the only issue I have been having recently is with the food.
There is nothing remotely wrong with English food – quite the opposite. I am an ardent fan of our country’s cuisine; so much so, in fact, that in the few weeks after getting back, I embraced cheese a little too whole-heartedly and ended up putting on crap loads of weight in a relatively short space of time.
So, I decided to go on a bit of a health kick. Recently, I began finding myself pining for Asian food – in particular those gorgeous, pillowy dumplings you can get at any Hawker centre in Singapore. Easy peasy, you might think – just go to Chinatown! This was, of course, an option, but I wanted to explore and find something that I could make simply and cheaply at home.
I do not profess to be an expert on Asian cooking – simply a Brit who lived in Asia for a little while and has fallen in love with this gorgeous way of eating. For Dim Sum purists these may not be 100% authentic, but I assure you that they taste and look the part, and are easy as anything to put together, plus they are very diet-friendly.
To use the technical term, ‘Bugger all’.
What you will need:
Note: the recipe I have given here is for prawn and leek gyoza, one of my favourites. However, you can fill them with anything you like – try a little minced pork and spring onion, or make vegetarian gyoza with your favourite finely chopped vegetables.
Just avoid anything overly watery, such as spinach, because this will reduce the structural integrity of your dumpling to practically zero.
- A steamer or steam-basket
- A mixing bowl
- A sharp knife
- One large plate or baking tray, well greased with sesame oil
To make 10-15 Gyoza:
- Approximately 200g fresh cooked prawns, any kind
- About 50 grams of leek
- ½ a garlic clove
- 1 pack frozen wonton wrappers (stockist information at the bottom of this post)
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- ½ a teaspoon of sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons of soy sauce
- Black pepper
For the dipping sauce:
- 50 ml soy sauce
- 25 ml rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon of finely chopped fresh chilli (optional)
- A little squeeze of lime
- A little finely chopped spring onion and a sprinkling of black pepper
Begin with a pack of wonton wrappers. They usually come frozen, in packs of about 30 wrappers, and they look like this:
On the day you are ready to use them, just take them out of the freezer and they will defrost in an hour or so.
Finely chop your prawns, leek and garlic – the smaller your pieces, the better the structural integrity of your finished dumpling (don’t go crazy and purée it, though, it still needs texture!)
Pop these into a bowl, and add the sesame oil, soy sauce, and a liberal sprinkling of black pepper. You do not need to add any salt – the soy sauce is salty enough on its own, I promise.
With clean hands, combine all your ingredients together well. The perfect texture should hold together fairly well when pressed into a ball in your hands, and will feel a bit sticky.
Now, for the fun bit! Fill a small ramekin or bowl with water, and pop it next to you. In one hand, take a wonton wrapper, and spread it across the palm of your hand.
Put a teaspoon of filling inside, and wet one half of the edge of the wrapper with a little water. This will seal the edges of the wrapper.
Then fold it in half, making it resemble a pirate hat.
Finally, crease the round edge about 5 times, pinching and folding to really seal the edge. This sounds a lot more more complicated than it is – the only important thing is to make sure that each edge is nicely sealed so that your filling does not fall out.
When each Gyoza is finished, pop it onto your greased plate. Repeat until all the filling has been used up!
To make your dipping sauce, simply combine all the ingredients together, and pour into small ramekins.
When you have finished, pop the plateful of dumplings and the ramekins of dipping sauce in the fridge until you are ready to eat them!
These take no time at all to cook – remember, the prawn is already cooked. Just before you are ready to serve, carefully lift each gyoza off the plate and put it into the basket of your steamer.
I use an electric steamer / rice cooker, because it is my favourite kitchen gadget and it makes me love steamed stuff:
…but you can of course steam them in a normal hob-top steamer.
Whilst your gyoza are steaming, set out your plates with the ramekin of dipping sauce on each.
These little beauties only need about five minutes, so once they are done, gently lift them out of the steamer basket, and arrange them on a plate with the dipping sauce. Scatter over the finely chopped spring onion and black pepper, and serve.
Really hope you enjoy this recipe – do please let me know how they turn out for you!
See you tomorrow,
To get mine, I made the long and treacherous journey to the excellent Man Gee Chinese Supermarket on the Old Kent Road – it’s tucked away just before a huge Asda, but well worth a visit. It stocks a really good array of Sout –East Asian foods including hard-to-find Thai and Japanese condiments and sauces.
Man Gee Oriental Supermarket, 462 Old Kent Road, Southwark, London, SE1 5AG
These mega meccas sell just about anything you could possibly want in terms of Chinese cooking ingredients, as well as fresh seafood and meat, Asian tablewares and utensils, and a huge selection of teas.
They have stores in Birmingham, Manchester, Cricklewood and Croydon.
375 Nechells Park Road
395 Edgware Road
544 Purley Way
(for satnav use CR0 4RF)