Winter Squash Gyoza
Chef Lola Milholland, Umi Organics
Makes 75-125 dumplings
2 packages gyoza wrappers (also called potsticker wrappers)
1 lb roasted SIMPLE winter squash (from a 2.5 lb raw squash – roasting instructions below)
1 cup “holy trinity" (equal parts soy sauce, mirin, and vegetarian dashi made with ¼ ounce kombu kelp – instructions below)
200 g chopped fresh greens (collards, mustards, cabbage, or turnips)
200 grams protein (cooked lentils, ground meat, sliced reconstituted dried shiitake mushrooms, or choppe fried tofu aka age)
125 g chopped fresh alliums (green onion, garlic chives, or leek)
80 g minced aromatics (garlic and ginger)
Dipping Sauce: equal parts soy sauce and rice vinegar with optional chile oil or sesame oil
Roast squash: Cut each squash in half from stem to bottom. Scoop out seeds. Brush cut-side with avocado or other neutral oil. Place cut-side down on baking sheet. Roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.
Make “holy trinity”: Tear the edges of ¼ ounce kombu. Combine in a small pot with 1 cup water. Put on stove-top burner at low heat for 20 minutes. Strain out kombu, reserving liquid. Whisk together 1/3 cup kombu liquid, 1/3 cup soy sauce, and 1/3 cup mirin.
Prepare vegetables: If using greens, remove stalks. If using cabbage, cut out the woody core. Slice leaves into thin ribbons. If using turnips, mince. Chop fresh alliums, mince garlic, and grate ginger.
Prepare protein: If using ground meat, no prep is necessary. If using lentils, rinse thoroughly. Combine 1 part lentils to 2 parts water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer with lid on. Cook for 20 minutes.
Make filling: Scoop squash out of the skin into a large mixing bowl. Discard skins. Add holy trinity, fresh greens, protein, alliums and aromatics to squash. Use your hands to thoroughly combine, breaking apart squash as you go and ensuring everything is evenly distributed. Mixture can be refrigerated at this time until you are ready to have your dumpling folding party.
Set up your dumpling station(s): Cover the bottom of a large baking sheet with wax paper. Set within arm’s reach. Set your bowl with filling within arm’s reach. Fill a small bowl with water. Place on the same side as your dominate hand. Set a place underneath where you’ll form dumplings (to catch drips). Get a dish cloth in case you need to wipe your hand.
Form dumplings: Lay one wrapper flat in your palm. With your other hand, scoop 1 teaspoon of filling into the center of the wrapper. Dip your finger in water and fully wet the outer edge of the dumpling. Gently fold the dumpling in half without closing it, like a taco. You now will have a front side, facing you, and a back side. On the front side, make a small pleat in the outer edge, near the bottom, pinch it tight, and then lay it againt the back side. At the bottom corner, pinch the front and back together. Working your way a little (1/4 inch) higher on the front edge, pinch another pleat and affix it to the back side. Continuing make pleats until you have fully sealed the dumpling—about five to six pleats total should do it. Lay the dumpling, flat side down, on the baking sheet. Repeat, placing the dumpling on the sheet until it is full. You can now proceed to cooking, but if you plan to freeze dumplings, wrap the sheet in plastic wrap and place flat in your freezer. It’s important the dumplings are frozen in a single layer (like blueberries) because otherwise they will stick. Once the dumplings are fully frozen, remove from the sheet and place in Ziplocs. Return Ziploc to the freezer.
Make a dipping sauce: Whisk together equal parts rice vinegar and soy sauce. Add a hit of chile oil or sesame oil if you like.
Cook the dumplings, choose your style:
Pan-fry+steam: Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, place the gyoza in a single layer, flat side down (in two rows or in a circular shape). Cook until the bottom of the gyoza turns golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add ¼ cup of water to the pan. Immediately cover with a lid and steam the gyoza for about 3 minutes or until most of the water evaporates. Remove the lid to evaporate any remaining water. Add 1 tsp sesame oil around the frying pan. Cook uncovered until the gyoza is nice and crisp on the bottom. Transfer to a plate and serve with dipping sauce.
Boil: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Place dumplings in boiling water. Cook for 2.5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon onto a place. Serve with dipping sauce.