Original recipe from: Jamie’s Comfort Food – Jamie Oliver, published by Michael Joseph, 2014
If you remember my post about Jamie’s Giant Sausage Roll (no, sadly not a Roald Dahl story), you’ll recall that the reason I made that particular dish was because I’d given my children a cookbook and asked them to choose a few things they’d like me to make. This, I thought, would at least minimise any blame they might throw my way for cooking something “disgusting” yet again. Well, the sausage roll was a success – hoorah! So could I repeat that success with this recipe – Gyoza with Crispy Wings – the second thing my children chose from the book?
Riding the wave of euphoria from the amazing and much-loved Crispy Baked Spring Rolls I’d made just the day before, I ventured into this one with confidence and even a little swagger. What could possibly go wrong, I thought? Well, as it turned out… quite a lot.
I present to you – my first piece of evidence:
Here’s a rundown:
Time: Well I think, in all, these took me about 1½ hours, but it was hard to tell as I was starting to lose all sense of time and space what with all the chopping and rolling and pastry “pleating”. (I was also slightly distracted by the Royal birth on TV). Like the Spring Rolls, the more you make these, the quicker you’ll get. You can make the dumplings ahead of time, chill in the fridge and then fry when you’re ready to cut down on minutes spent in the kitchen at any one time. You can of course also not make these at all – that would cut down on an awful lot of time.
Cost of ingredients: ££
Special equipment: Besides endless patience, none. Though a food processor helps with the chopping.
The recipe says this makes 6 to 10 servings. Now, I’m not sure if Jamie had Sumo wrestlers in mind here, but I had an awful lot left over. Look:
Buying the ingredients.
Not a problem. Though I couldn’t find the Miso paste – so I compromised and bought a tube of something called Taste No.5 Umami Paste. It was fine. Jamie’s recipe also calls for Tipo 00 flour. Ditto, I couldn’t find the specific Tipo flour, but the supermarket did have 00 grade pasta flour. Surely this was the same thing?
Following the recipe
This was easy enough. However, I encountered the following problems:
- the pastry is quite elastic. I tried to roll it as thinly as possible but it kept shrinking back. It also shrank back after I cut the circles, so my dumplings were a little on the small side.
- I’m not sure if you’re meant to trim away the fat from the pork belly, but what I ended up with, even after a good shredding in the food processor, were lumps of gristle. I knew my kids would probably do that vomiting face they do so well if they bit into these.
- that said, I probably overdid it on the chopping as my mix looked like fine breadcrumbs (apart from the gristly bits) and nothing like Jamie’s beautiful picture.
- then came the dumpling making. Well, making “pleats” in the pastry is harder than it looks. Jamie assures the reader that as long as the dumplings are sealed it doesn’t matter what they look like. Which was good.
- the worst part of this whole recipe was the frying. I followed the instructions as closely as I could. But what does Jamie mean by putting the gyoza in a pan “oiled with groundnut oil”? Does this mean “brushed lightly” or “wiped” or with a good inch of oil in there? Enquiring minds want to know. I settled for a tablespoon of oil, fried the gyoza, added the water and flour, put the lid on and waited 10 minutes as instructed – and hey presto: burnt one side, soggy and stuck to the pan the other. See photo 1.
- At the beginning of this process, I thought the gyoza looked a little like pot stickers – those lovely sticky Chinese dumplings, one side charred and crispy, packed with delicious pork. Well, the word potsticker does fit. Jamie tells you to “whack” these out of the pan onto a plate when they’re done. Probably what I needed was some kind of industrial sander to remove them from the pan where they’d welded themselves in a way that would put Superglue out of business.
- I only ever managed to achieve “crispy wings” with one of my dumplings:
By the time I put them on a plate (and had taken a few essential photos) I was seriously doubting the kids’ reaction. So much so that I put on a pan of “back-up” pasta.
But here, after my first dismal attempt, is my second piece of evidence: proof that if at first you don’t succeed, have a cry, and then try again:
Yes, quite proud of these.
But how did the kids rate Gyoza without Crispy Wings? Well, thankfully for everyone involved, they liked them. The lowest score was 6.5/10 – I’ll take that. My daughter even went as high as 9/10 but I think that was a pity vote as I looked like I was about to cry.
My son did ruin the momentary feeling of achievement though by saying they were exactly like ravioli. But they liked them so much they’ve asked me to make them again.
Mum’s verdict: So would I make these again? Yes, I would. Next time I’ll probably use a good quality minced pork to save time and avoid the gristle. I’d also probably make the dumplings just a little bigger to include more filling and I’d use less cabbage – 250g is a lot when it’s shredded. I’d have to experiment with the frying technique but I think I could improve with more practise. I think these would become easy-peasy the more you make them.
The best thing about these is that my daughter ate cabbage… and didn’t even know it.