When Pete and I travelled to Japan, we were surprised to come across cheese-filled gyoza quite often, mostly in casual ramenya and izakaya. This recipe for cheese and onion gyoza is from Your Home Izakaya by Tim Anderson, and is a great example of Japan’s propensity to incorporate non-Japanese flavours into Japanese dishes.
Cheese and Onion Gyoza
- 10 g (½ oz) butter
- ½ onion, diced
- 2 tbsp not very bitter beer – amber lager is ideal
- ½ tbsp miso
- 1 pinch of pepper
- 110 g (3¾ oz) Emmental (Swiss) cheese, grated
- ¼ tsp plus ½ tsp cornflour (cornstarch)
- ¼ tsp plain (all-purpose) flour
- 12 gyoza wrappers
- 1 tbsp oil
- 100 ml (3½ fl oz/scant ½ cup) water
- soy sauce, vinegar and chilli oil, to taste, to serve vinegar and chilli oil, to taste, to serve
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, then add the onion and sauté gently for about 10–12 minutes until soft and golden. Add the beer, miso and pepper, stir to dissolve the miso and let the liquid evaporate. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. When the onions have cooled completely, stir in 100 g (7 oz) of the cheese, ¼ teaspoon of the cornflour and all of the plain flour.
To assemble the gyoza, lay out a few wrappers on your worktop. Wet your fingertips with the water, then dampen the edge of each wrapper; don’t use too much water or they will become unworkably soft. Spoon a little filling into the centre of each wrapper (about a tablespoonful), then fold the wrappers over the filling, and pinch the wrapper shut in one corner. Use the index finger of your dominant hand to keep the filling ‘tucked in’ as you crimp and pinch the wrapper to seal; use your thumb to pleat the side of the wrapper closest to you, and with each pleat, pinch it firmly onto the opposite side of the wrapper. You should get about five pleats into each gyoza before you reach the other end, then pinch that corner shut to finish it off. The cheese will melt and leak out of the gyoza if they are not completely sealed, so double-check each one, and ensure that there are no gaps or holes. Re-pinch them shut, perhaps with a bit more water, as needed. side up, so they have nice flat bottoms.
When all of the gyoza are assembled, you can wrap them in cling film (plastic wrap) and keep them in the fridge until you are ready to cook, but I wouldn’t recommend keeping them for much more than a day because they tend to go soggy. (You can also freeze them at this point, on the tray, ensuring none of them is sticking together when you do. Once frozen solid, transfer them to a container or plastic bag and cook them from frozen using the same method as follows.)
You will need a very reliably non-stick frying pan (skillet) with a lid to cook gyoza nicely. Stir together the remaining cornflour and the water to form a thin slurry. Heat the oil in the pan over a medium–high heat and scatter the remaining cheese over the surface of the pan. When the cheese melts and bubbles, add the gyoza, seal-side up. When the gyoza are sizzling, pour in the water and place the lid on the pan. Steam for 5 minutes with the lid on, then remove the lid and let all the water evaporate away. When the pan is totally dry, a cheesy, bronze crust will have formed – you should be able to tell when it’s done because no part of it will still be bubbling and the crust will have curled away slightly from the edges of the pan.
To serve, it is best to have a plate that fits inside your pan so it can be rested on top of the gyoza in the pan. Lay the plate upside-down on top of the gyoza, then invert the pan and plate.
Serve with a simple dip of equal parts soy sauce and vinegar, and a few drops of chilli oil. Enjoy piping hot with lots of ice cold beer. Beware of gushing molten cheese when you bite into them!
Of course, once you have the technique for filling and cooking these gyoza downpat, you can get creative with the filling – I’m thinking cheese mixed with butter-cooked leeks, blue cheese and pear, or maybe cheese and slivers of prosciutto (cured ham).
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Kavey Eats received a review copy of Your Home Izakaya by Tim Anderson from publisher Hardie Grant. Book photography by Laura Edwards. Our photography by Kavita Favelle.