The Basement Cooks is a bi-weekly series which focuses on members within The Basement group and the food they are cooking. This recipe is brought to you by Emily Smith
It’s nearly the end of the wild garlic season so it’s time to get out there and harvest some wild garlic if you haven’t already. It’s important to not eat anything you haven’t ID’d but luckily wild garlic is pretty easy to identify even if you’re a beginner. It’s an invasive plant that grows in dense carpets, close to woodlands so if you manage to find it, you normally can harvest a load. I’ve also found it in shady places near running water, in cities and towns. You can often smell it before you can see it. By this time of the year, it has white flowers that are turning to seed.
It has green leaves, which are long and pointed with a smooth edge. They smell like garlic. Pick leaf by leaf as poisonous species grow amongst them. Never eat anything you have not properly identified.
When briefly sautéed, wild garlic has a much more mellow flavour and can be eaten like spinach. It goes so deliciously with the mushrooms and the peppery sweet ginger flavour. You actually don’t have to precook the mushroom/wild garlic filling like I do, but I find it tastes much better when you do.
If you can’t get your hands on any wild garlic, you can substitute chopped cabbage and 5 cloves of garlic. If you want to make a meat version, the classic is pork and cabbage. Just substitute mushrooms for ground pork.
This recipe is a classic for me. My mum is Japanese and I grew up eating gyoza. I was surprised when I realised that people in the UK often think of gyoza as a side dish. When we make them on a Friday night we tend to make about 40 and stuff our faces until they are all gone, and we are so full we can’t eat any more.
Making gyoza wrappers is time consuming but you can’t beat them. I have really bad joints especially in my fingers so I am normally in a lot of pain afterwards, but I always think it’s worth it. They can be a bit tricky to begin with but the more you make them the better you get. As with all dough, you can eventually work out whether you need to add more water/flour. I think it can depend on the brand of flour/temperature of your kitchen/humidity so you might need a bit more water but don’t over do it. You can also make a bigger batch and freeze them (just dust with cornflour as they will stick like mad). BUT if you are a beginner or you can’t be arsed, you can buy pre-made wrappers in asian supermarkets very cheaply.
You will need;
60g Wild garlic
150g Mushrooms (i used portobello, but any will really do)
2 tablespoons Soy sauce
2 tablespoons Sesame oil
15g Fresh ginger
1/4 tsp Salt for the dough and a pinch for seasoning
Pinch of Pepper
Optional for sauce:
1 tsp Korean chilli powder (can sub any chilli powder)
2 tsp Rice vinegar (can sub other vinegars)
Stage 1 – Make the dough
- Sieve 100g of plain flour into a large bowl.
- Boil the kettle and put 1/4 tsp of salt in a measuring jug.
- Pour 80ml of boiling water into the measuring jug and dissolve the salt.
- Gradually pour the water into the flour, integrating it with a wooden spoon until it forms crumbs. The amount of water you need depends on your circumstances, but generally I end up using nearly all of the 80ml (probably just about 70ml).
- Push the crumbs and work them into a dough ball with your hands. If there is still flour crumbs left in the bowl because it’s not coming together then add another splash of water until it forms into a ball.
You don’t want it to be too wet, but if you overdo it, just add a sprinkle more flour.
- Transfer the dough ball to a surface and gently knead for about ten mins until the dough comes together smoothly.
- Once the dough is smooth, cover in cling film (I reuse the same cling film every time) and set aside in the room for 30 mins.
Stage 2 – Make the filling and the dip
Now make the filling so it can cool, and the dipping sauce so it’s ready for when you’ve cooked your gyoza.
- Wash your wild garlic and check that all the leaves are uniform and there’s no other species in with them. Roughly chop up finely.
- Coarsely chop up your mushrooms as finely as you can but don’t worry too much.
- Either grate or finely chop your ginger.
- Pour some oil in your frying pan. Sauté the mushrooms for a couple of minutes on medium heat, before adding a glug of sesame oil to the pan.
- Reduce the heat, then add the chopped ginger and wild garlic and a splash of soy. Fry for a couple of minutes, then remove from heat and season well. Set aside to cool.
Dipping Sauce Recipe:
- Mix 2 tsp Soy sauce, 2 tsp Rice Vinegar (can substitute apple cider vinegar), 1 tsp sesame oil (optional) and 1 tsp Korean chilli powder (can substitute other chilli powder) in a small bowl.
Stage 3 – Rolling the dough
- Take the dough ball, and divide it in half.
- Roll each half into a sausage shape in your hands so you have two even cylinders.
- Cut each sausage into equal sized pieces. I made 18 but you can make larger ones if you want less rolling/filling.
- Take the same piece of clingfilm and put it lightly over all the equal little pieces bar one. It’s important to cover as the dough dries out easily and then you won’t be able to roll it. You can also use a damp kitchen cloth.
- Flour your surface, and take one piece. Press it down into a circle with your palm. Using a rolling pin, lightly roll out the dough, rotating the dough as you go so you form an even circle. I made mine about 10cm in diameter. Check out my video for this step.
If you struggle with this, don’t worry – I have a secret tip. Roll out the dough to a rough shape and use a mug upside down like a cookie cutter. Roll your perfect circle out a little bit more. This is also the way to get perfect uniform looking wrappers. I prefer to have more homemade looking ones though!
- Once you have your gyoza wrapper, lightly dust with flour and cover with a damp kitchen cloth so it stays fresh.
- Repeat until you have rolled out all the gyoza wrappers. Make sure you dust them with flour so they don’t stick when you pile them up.
Stage 4 – Filling the gyoza
Make sure you have a bowl of water and your filling to hand.
- Put the wrapper in your palm of your non-dominant hand.
- Fill centre of gyoza with the filling. Don’t be tempted to overfill, it’s about 1/4 of the size of the gyoza – but try and make sure you leave a small gap to seal without the filling touching.
- Brush a little water along half the edge of the wrapper with your finger and fold the other half to meet it. Push gently to seal.
- You can finish here, or pleat the gyoza by pushing your fingers together in little pinches. The pleats are purely decorative. There are a few different pleats/folds you can do but I just do the quickest one as I’m lazy, which is pushing both sides together. Check out my video for this whole filling and pleating process.
- Repeat, and place all the gyoza on a plate. They can be made in advance but sprinkle cornflour on the plate to stop them sticking.
Stage 5 – Cooking the gyoza
- Brush some oil on a non-stick pan.
- Place all the gyozas that fit in the pan in one single layer, bottom down. If you’ve made a larger amount or are using a smaller pan, make them in batches.
- Put some water in the kettle and boil it.
- Fry the gyozas on medium heat for about 5 minutes until the bottoms are nicely browned.
- Pour about 1cm high boiling water into the pan and cover with a lid so the gyozas can steam.
- After 5-6 mins the water should nearly be evaporated. When this is the case, remove the lid and let the last moisture particles evaporate.
- Pour about a tablespoon of sesame oil on the gyozas to give them a last crisp. Fry for another few minutes until the gyozas are nicely crispy on the bottom.
Put a plate over the pan and turn it round and now serve upside down with the dipping sauce!