For one lucky reader, I've got a Cuisinart chef iA+ saute pan with lid (28cm) and 2 packs of Maruko gyoza to give away (RRP: $179.00). Read on to find out how to win!!!
Just like any food blogger, food lover, foodie, or really - anyone who lives and breathes, I have an unhealthy appetite for dumplings. Whether it's pot stickers, xiao long bao, mandu, jiaozi, siu mai, har gow, gyoza, or pierogi, I'm quite content parking myself on the couch with a dozen (or two!) and forgetting about that report I need to finish at work tomorrow or the pile of shirts in the washing machine that I better pull out soon otherwise they're going to be a pain in the ass to iron.
While it's hard to beat a trip out to Lotus or Taste of Shanghai for a dumpling hit, sometimes you just want to have a big plate of them at home. So, my normal Sunday morning routine now is to find myself in the Asian supermarket, wandering up and down the freezer aisle, trying to decide which dumplings to get. Pork? Pork and prawn? Pork and chive? Pork, prawn and chive? The permutations and combinations are endless - and that's before you even start looking across to other brands. Dumpling heaven!
My only reservation about store-bought dumplings (other than their effect on my wasteline) is that you never quite know what's in them, and where they're made - which is why I was excited to hear about Maruko Gyoza, a Japanese pork and cabbage dumpling that's made here in Sydney using 98% Australian ingredients (including the pork, vegetables and dough).
I thought I'd give them a go and share with you the experience of cooking them (and then, the important part - eating them!). So here's what you need to do to have them ready to devour in less than 10 minutes. Keep in mind that this technique works for pretty much any pan fried dumpling.
Heat a frying pan on medium heat with about 1Tbsp of oil (I used rice bran)
Once the oil is heated, place gyoza in the pan. It's important to get the flat side down (in contact with the pan) as this has the most surface area and will give a nice crispy bottom once they've finished cooking.
Let the gyoza start frying in the oil for about 1 minute, then pour 100mL of water into the pan and immediately place a lid on top. This will let the dumplings steam and cook the inside.
After the dumplings have steamed for about 4 minutes, remove the lid and keep on the heat until all the water has evaporated. Then let the dumplings keep cooking in the residual oil (you may need to add a few more drops depending on your pan) to crisp up the bottom. This will take another 1-2 minutes.
Once the bottoms are crispy, it's time to get them out of the pan and into your belly (or you can put them on a plate first if you're feeling civilised). A pallet knife or flat spatula are your best friend here, allowing you to scrape the gyoza off the bottom of the pan in one motion without breaking. I have to say that the Maruko Gyoza wrappers were quite robust here - they didn't show any sign of breaking, even for the ones that were touching each other during cooking and their wrappers had come together slightly.
Then, all that's left to do is plate them up and serve with your favourite dipping sauce (some sort of mixture of rice vinegar, soy, ginger, garlic and sesame oil are your friends here. I don't really measure it out - just put it together until it tastes good).
I should have mentioned at the top of this post that these gyoza are a bit pricier than your average (imported) supermarket dumpling - Maruko Gyoza go for about $12 for a 500g packet (about 23 dumplings).
The reason I bring up the price is - in this case, you get what you pay for. To me, the gyoza are just as good as the ones you'd get at almost Japanese restaurant around town. They have a really clean taste, with good quality pork on the inside - it's lean enough so that it doesn't feel heavy or greasy, but with just enough fat to provide flavour. And there's no gristly bits to be seen, which is always a plus. The wrappers are soft with a slight bite to them, and envelope the filling perfectly without being too thick.
All in all, Maruko Gyoza is a quality product that sits head and shoulders above most of the freezer dumplings you'd find in your local Asian grocer - with the bonus that they're made locally using Australian ingredients.
I'd be happy to have them any day of the week - but then again, I'd say the same for all dumplings...
How do I go in to the running to win this Cuisinart saute pan?
Easy. From 15 June 2016, head to the Brian Tam Food Facebook page and find my post of the Maruko gyoza video (the same one as at the top of this post). On that post, simply tag a friend or share it on your own page to be in the running to win.
The competition runs until 15 July 2016, after which 1 winner will be selected at random and contacted via direct message on Facebook. The winner's name will be announced on this post by 18 July.