Reduce to sushi the Japanese food it means belittling one of the richest food cultures in the world. When it comes to Japan at the table, the list is long, just think of ramenat the tempuraall’okonomiyaki and, of course, ai gyoza. Ma what does gyoza mean? It’s about the Japanese dumplings which are certainly not to be confused with those Chinese (although there is a link) and those koreans. Asian cuisine, which is increasingly present in Italy but which is too often modified and adapted to meet our palates, is a riot of nuances, aromas and gestures truly enchanting that deserve to be known in their authenticity.
What are gyozas
Gyoza are dumplings of the Japanese culinary tradition. Real gyoza have a wheat pasta wrapper very thin and are stuffed with different ingredients which they also understand herbs, roots e spices. As happens for ours tortellinigyoza should be closed by hand with finger pressure, but there are several industrial versions even in Japan. In the contemporary kitchen the gyozas are served in portions of 6 or 8 pieces and are accompanied by a sauce made with soy sauce and rice vinegar. Gyoza are served as the main course, always accompanied by a side of vegetables and preceded by a ramen or from one soupbut you can also eat them as a snack.
History of gyoza: ravioli del Sol Levante
Gyoza, like other dishes of Japanese cuisine, are dumplings that the Japanese have borrowed and adapted from Chinese cuisine and over time have become a typical dish. Like all traditional recipes, even for i Japanese dumplings their origin is not known exactly, but two of the most reliable versions see them coming from China. The oldest testimony has it that the first gyoza arrives in Japan with a very thick and freshly cooked dough and dates back to period Edo (between the first year of 1600 and the first half of 1800), when following a trip to Japan, Zhu Shun Shui prepared gyoza for Daimyo Tokugawa (family with the greatest political and military power in the country).
The second, more modern version claims that the common gyoza we know today arrived in Japan after the Second World War. The Japanese returned from China and began to prepare and sell these dumplings filled pasta which, unlike Chinese ravioli, had a much thinner dough due to the famine which limited the use of flour.
Types of gyoza to know
Exist 3 different types of gyoza and each one differs from the other in the cooking technique.
- Yaki Gyoza: these are the best known and most appreciated. The ravioli are placed raw in a cast iron (or non-stick) pan with a drizzle of sesame oil. Once the part in contact with the pan is browned, a small amount of water is added and the pan is covered. In this way the cooking technique is mixed, the ravioli come first braised to the base and then they come steamed.
- Sui Gyoza: in this case the ravioli are boiled by immersion in boiling water or broth if you want to give a more intense aroma. They are then served dry or with a little of their cooking broth.
- Age Gyoza: these are the “rarer” gyoza e they are fried in hot oil by immersion. Once cooked they look like small panzerotti, they are golden and crunchy on the outside while the filling remains soft and melting inside.
Difference between Chinese and Korean gyoza and dumplings
In order not to confuse gyoza with Chinese and Korean dumplings, you need to understand their taste because it is precisely in it that the difference is hidden. In the Japanese version, the gyoza is packed with garlicits pasta wrapper is very thin and when steamed (or braised) they have a distinctly lighter flavor. They are always served with soy sauce in which to dip them, to which rice vinegar or scoldthe spicy sesame oil.
Over Jiaozi, the Chinese version, the filling is minced beef, pork, lamb or chicken. Alternatively there will be fish or shellfish with vegetables such as cabbage, shallots, spring onions, chives or garlic. Also Chinese dumplings they are accompanied by a sauce which, however, is made up of soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic powder or cream, spicy sauce or sesame oil. These ravioli have a rather thick dough wrapper and they have one round shape resembling that of a coin. They are in fact the gastronomic symbol of the Chinese New Year and their shape is meant to be a good omen for the year that has just begun.
I I send I’m there korean version of Japanese gyoza. They are filled with ground pork, beef, cabbage, noodles and kimchi (the famous Korean fermented cabbage). These dumplings come fried in oil on all sides and therefore are characterized by a crunchy amber wrapper.
Not just meat: what are gyozas filled with?
The most common version of gyoza is certainly that of pork or chicken to which cabbage, herb or chives, garlic and ginger are added which will serve to give a persistent note of freshness. But there are others versionsmostly vegetariansbased on vegetables such as cabbage, leek and carrots, but also mushrooms.
Where to find gyoza
In Italy you can find the frozen gyozas in Asian supermarkets, where you will also find wafers of dough ready to be stuffed and cooked. Naturally you will find gyoza in real Japanese restaurants that will be able to offer them on paper in the traditional version or with creative fillings.
Curiosities about gyoza
Our language, which is notoriously very different from Japanese, tends to pronounce “ghioza” o “giso“, but the correct pronunciation is “giaoziEven if gyoza can be considered as a main course, it is usually preceded by a bowl of ramen or broth and then served with a side of vegetables.
How many gyoza per course? If you serve them together with other dishes, a taste of 3 will suffice, but if they constitute the main course, 8 to 12 will need to be served.
Once closed, the gyozas can be stored in the refrigerator for a day in a floured tray to prevent them from sticking. Once cooked, it is good to consume them immediately. However, you can store the gyoza in freezer. Place them on a tray, making sure they don’t have weights on them that could crush them. Once frozen you can place them in the classic freezer bags. When you want to eat them, you won’t need to defrost them before cooking them.