Whether you’re talking about work, play or food, variety truly is the spice of life, and for me, it’s what keeps me looking forward to the next day, or my next meal. At our table, dinner is usually a genre bending mishmash of random experiments for work, along with a few vegetable dishes, and perhaps and indulgence or two, such as a plate of sashimi or a platter of cheese. While the food on the table rarely matches, it’s never boring, and the disparate flavors occasionally lead to unexpected pairings that evolve into a new dish.
The other day I had a plateful of garlicky pan-fried gyoza on the table, which sat next to a plate of ripe creamy gorgonzola. At some point in the meal I still had a piece of funky gorgonzola melting on my tongue when I took a bite of a crisp potsticker. The rich salty cheese enveloped and tamed the intensely green garlic chives, while synergizing with the savory porcine juices flowing from the dumpling as it burst open.
Inspired by dinner that night, I came up with these Gorgongyoza substituting cauliflower in place of the usual cabbage, and adding gorgonzola to the filling, which not only provides a huge flavor boost, it also makes the filling more tender and juicy. The amalgam of melted cheese, umami-rich pork juices, pungent chives and nutty sesame oil is indescribably good.
I served this with a dipping sauce made with a 1:1 ratio of 15 year aged balsamic to soy sauce, which creates a marvelously complex array of fruity, caramel notes with a pleasant balance of sweet, salty savory and sour tastes. The sauce paired beautifully with the Gorgongyoza, but I love condiments and I also brought out some ume(japanese apricot) jam, as well as with honey, which were both splendid.
By nature, these dumplings are pretty Asian, but they could easily be turned into delightful raviolis by sandwiching the filling between two potsticker wrappers and then boiling them, before serving with a tomato sauce.
One last thing I wanted to touch on is the water/starch mixture I use to fry the gyoza. This is what gives the gyoza their ultra-crisp “wings” and what makes them all stick together. If you don’t want them to stick together, use plain water (without the starch) to steam the gyoza. While they won’t end up quite as crisp, they’ll still be good and they won’t all stick together.
- Bring a large pot of a water to a boil and then add the cauliflower florets. Boil until the stem parts are tender (about 10 minutes). Drain and let the cauliflower cool enough to handle. Mince and the cauliflower so that it forms a rough meal with each piece about the size of a large grain of rice.
- Add the cauliflower, ground pork, garlic chives, gorgonzola, soy sauce, potato starch, toasted sesame oil, and black pepper to a bowl. Put some gloves on and use your hands to knead the mixture together until smooth, breaking up the gorgonzola as you go. You want to leave some small lumps of gorgonzola, but there should not be any large chunks.
- Wrap the gyoza. Check out this post for an animated gif, or this post for set by step photos.
- Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to a non-stick frying pan and swirl to coat evenly. Add the pot stickers to the pan either placing them in rows, or in a circle (as shown). The potstickers should be touching each other, but be careful not to overcrowd the pan. How many potstickers you'll be able to fry at one time will depend on the size of the pan, but don't use a pan that's much larger than the heating element of your stove otherwise the gyoza won't brown evenly.
- Prepare 1/4 cup of water with 1/2 teaspoon of potato starch mixed in.
- Turn the heat onto medium-high heat and fry the gyoza until they just barely start to brown on the bottom.
- With a lid in one hand to shield yourself from any splattering oil, add the water and potato starch mixture around the gyoza and immediately cover the pan with the lid. Steam for 3 minutes, or until the water is almost all gone (if the water evaporates before 3 minutes, open the lid a crack and add a bit more).
- Remove the lid and fry until golden brown on the bottom. Invert onto a plate and serve with the dipping sauce. Repeat with the rest of the potstickers.