Thursday, February 12, 2009

Daikon and Hakusai Gyoza

Daikon & Hakusai Gyoza (a recipe from "Lettuce Club" )

Another recipe from the Jan. 25, 2009 issue of Lettuce Club. It's a low-cal dish that uses thinly sliced daikon radish as gyoza (potstickers) skin and more minced hakusai (Chinese cabbage) than ground meat for the filling. Good recipe for those who can slice daikon in 3 mm thick disks or who have a vegetable slicer like this one.

I loved this gyoza wrapper! :D It was crispier and probably healthier than regular dumpling skin. The only problem with this dish was having to use salt to soften the daikon wrappers and minced Chinese cabbage. I should have used less salt when seasoned the filling... My gyoza tasted just a little too salty, and probably the salt wasn't very good for my relatively high blood pressure.

(Added Feb. 14)
Wow! I didn't think this many people would be attracted to this dish. OK. Let me add a little more information here.

About daikon wrapper:
You don't need to peel the daikon. Wash it well and slice it with the skin on. Spread the thin daikon disks on a flat surface and sprinkle both sides with a little salt. Sorry, I don't remember how long I waited and the recipe doesn't say anything about this... Just try folding one of them. If it folds as much as the wrappers in these photos do without breaking, it's ready. (Now the original recipe didn't say anything about this but I washed off the salt with running water when the daikon wrappers became soft enough.) Pat-dry them with paper towel. Then spread them on a flat surface and sprinkle one side with potato or corn starch using a tea strainer or something just to thinly cover the surface. This should keep the filling in the wrapper. ;) Put the filling on each wrapper and fold it.

About the filling:
The ingredients are ground pork, minced veggies (hakusai cabbage, green onion, ginger and garlic), salt, pepper, potato (or corn) starch, sesame oil, sake and soy sauce. The minced hakusai needs to be softened beforehand and you do this by mixing in a little salt and leaving it for a while (again, the recipe doesn't say how much salt or leave it how long). While waiting, you can mix other ingredients and seasonings in a bowl, and when the minced hakusai is soft enough, squeeze the water off it and mix in. I didn’t wash off the salt from the hakusai there and that’s why I wrote “I should have used less salt when seasoned the filling” above.

And when you fry the gyoza with a little vegetable oil in a frying pan, fry both sides of the gyoza first to slightly brown them, then put a lid on the pan to sort of “steam-fry” them over low heat until the filling is done. I didn't need to add water because enough water came out from the veggies. And the best tip I can give you here is: If the filling comes out, just put it back in the wrapper! Yep, THIS is the secret. LOL

** One question. What do you call these in English?
Sorry. Maybe I should give more explanation. They are not used for baking (though I assume that they could stand the heat of the oven.) They are usually used for keeping prepared food or ingredients like chopped vegetables or filleted fish or wrapped gyoza that are ready to be fried, etc. Most often we put food in them, cover with plastic food wrap and keep in the fridge. They are called "stainless vat (pronounced 'batto')" or "kitchen vat" here, but I've been wondering if the word "vat" came from English.



cookiecrumb said...

That's beautiful. Your photos completely convinced me to try this. And thanks for the tip on salt. :)

Anonymous said...

Delicious! I hope you've enjoyed them :-)One question though: does the filling not fall out like this? What's the secret?

Anonymous said...

Those look very good. And what a great idea to use the daikon. I will try to make them. I know you don't post recipes but could you give a hint about how you flavored them? Ginger and a tiny bit of garlic perhaps? And perhaps I will try to steam the hakusai instead of using the salt to soften it.. hmm just thinking.,,,

Anonymous said...

3mm thickness?? Hmm... I'll try it out and see how. How long do I have to dip in salt to soften it?

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of using daikon for a wrapper! Definitely going to try this one day - thank you!

obachan said...

Oh, Hi! So nice to hear from you. :D
I added some info. Hope that helps.

Yep, I definitely enjoyed them.
About the secret, please read the added paragraphs in the main post.

Again, please read the added info. at the bottom of the main post. You guessed most of the things right, and steaming hakusai is probably a healthier idea, except that it might lose the crispiness of hakusai. Anyway I hope you enjoy this gyoza!

Anonymous commenter
Tell you the truth, I had to slice daikon with a kitchen knife because my slicer was not big enough to do this job. And all my daikon wrappers were like 2 mm thick on one side and 7 mm thick on the other side. LOL But the thicker parts turned out very crispy and I liked it.

About how long to soften the daikon wrappers, please read the info. I added to the main post.

Good luck. Enjoy this healthier gyoza. :D

Unknown said...

They are usually called 'baking pan' or 'baking tin' in English - although they may have a different name in America. The dumplings look delicious!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the additional information Obachan. Now I definitely have to try them. I love dumplings and it is so novel to have a healthier version available.

obachan said...

Thank you for your answer. Now that you said that, yeah, they do look like baking tins. But actually they are not used for baking. Thanks anyway, though.

Good luck! :D

Anonymous said...

Grettings from Las Vegas, Obachan. I can't wait to get home to make the daikon/hakusi gyoza...they look beautiful with their golden outside edges. Not only do I love traditional Japanese recipes, but I think the contemporary expression of Japanese food...such as with this also very exciting to make. On a separate note, my partner and I had an incredible omakase dinner at Nobu last night. The palate cleanser course made me think you would have enjoyed it. It was a combination of rose geranium granite on the bottom of the glass dish with a very small ball of raspberry sorbet on top. The contrast of color and flavors was perfect and so refreshing. Wishing you a belated V's Day.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking the trouble to add the recipe, Obachan! =D

Anonymous said...

Obachan, I don't think there are such things as "batto" in the west! Most people would use a plate or the chopping board to put food on before using it, or maybe a tupperware container for marinating? I love your blog and I'm the same age!! Otagai sama.

Anonymous said...

Obachan, excuse my third comment on this post but I can't resist. I think the "batto" are known as breading trays or breading pans but are not common in kitchens. You can see them at high end kitchen stores (ex. Williams Sonoma)

obachan said...

I hope you enjoyed this gyoza. I was not too crazy about those contemporary recipes in cooking magazines popular among young housewives before, but I have to admit; They do have good ideas. The only thing is that they seem to be overly dependent on microwave and mayonnaise…

The dinner at Nobu sounds gorgeous. I’m really jealous.

Anonymous Commenter
It’s not really the recipe, but I thought that additional information would help.

Thanks. I guess, even here in Japan, batto was mostly used in restaurant kitchens in the past. Now Daiso 100 yen shops sell them so it’s everywhere. It’s strange, though… When its name is written in alphabet, it’s spelled “vat” which must have come from a foreign language because Japanese language does not have “v” sound. But in English, “vat” means something like a tank, right? Maybe someone mistranslated it in Japan first and no one bothers to correct it???

I really love to hear from someone about the same age. :)

Breading trays! That must be it!! I just googled with “breading trays” and “breading pans” and found the right stuff. Thank you so much! (I can’t understand why they have to be THAT expensive, though.)

Anonymous said...

I think the closest thing to the batto in most American kitchens would be a casserole dish. These can be rectangular or round but are almost always ceramic or glass, not metal. Batto also look like the steam trays that are used at buffet tables here, but usually our home kitchens don't have anything like that.

obachan said...

Thank you for the information. I don't remember seeing anything like these when I was there, either. Being in small Japanese kitchen with small fridge, they are pretty handy, though. Lighter than casserole dish, deeper than regular dishes, and really nice when you need to spread out and cool something like cream or sauce...

Kirsty Girl said...

These look yummy. This will be my lunch on Saturday.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! I eat low-carb food, and I love gyoza so this will be perfect for me :)

obachan said...

Kirsty Girl
Hope you liked it.

I really think the daikon wrapper is a nice idea. Enjoy!

Koekkener said...

This blog makes me hungry, yuuuummm. A yummy, yummy food. Your a great cooked I've ever seen. Thanks for sharing.