Asian Cooking in Cayman

I've said this many times before, but one of my favorite aspects of living in Cayman is the fact that we've made friends from around the world on this tiny little Caribbean island. Americans are a true minority in Grand Cayman, which just means that a higher percentage of our friends are from faraway places, exposing us to their culture, their customs, and their culinary delights.

EL displays his perfect set of gyozas.
A while ago, a friend of ours who is originally from the UK and of Chinese descent agreed to teach a few of us girls how to make homemade gyozas, a popular Asian appetizer commonly known as "potstickers" by North Americans.

Who wouldn't want to try their hand at these pretty little bites? There were four of us who were up for the challenge.

While EL set the stage in EW's kitchen, we took detailed notes and surveyed the contents of the Asian grocery bag.

There are a wide variety of ingredients that can be used to fill gyozas, and EL had in his arsenal plenty of fresh offerings to entertain and tempt us.

Yes, that's right, I am both entertained and tempted by mushrooms and cabbage.

So what if I survived childhood not knowing what a Twinkie was? Did it scar me for life?

Only a little.

So we all got our hands a little dirty, slicing and dicing, cutting and chopping.

(Except for me. I had to man the camera with clean hands, you know.)

While we prepped the gyoza "innards" (that's an American word, not an Asian word, FYI), we sampled the delicious finished product, pre-made by the pro.

This is the kind of food that makes you try to say "yum" in multiple syllables.

It goes something like "yuh-uhh-hmm".

Look at these girls, so diligently participating and taking it all in!

I don't know if we had explicit instructions on this, but the ground meat preparation did not involve utensils. Hands are best, it seems!

Also, free-pouring soy sauce was both allowed and encouraged in this class.

If you're interested in making this gyoza recipe, the steps and ingredients go something like this:
Blanche cabbage in boiling water, and then drain and squeeze out excess liquid. In a bowl, combine 4-6 cloves of minced garlic, chopped chives, chopped green onion, cabbage, and ground chicken. Season with sesame oil, soy sauce, a "smidge" of sake, and salt+pepper.

Finally, once all innards were prepped, it was time to fill these little guys. EL demonstrated perfect technique.

To start, you put a tablespoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper. 

Then dab the edge of the upper half of the wrapper with water. (This helps the create a seal.)

You then fold the bottom of the wrapper up to the top, keeping your index finger in between the two halves, making a taco shape.

Then comes the tricky part. Starting at one corner, you start pleating the top layer of the wrapper onto the bottom, creating little folds in the top layer while squeezing it onto the bottom layer.

Apparently, this is where the pros can get very fancy, making dozens of these folds on a single gyoza.

Next, we had the option of either freezing the raw gyozas on a cookie sheet (after which they could be bagged up and stored) or cooking them immediately. We did a bit of both, and the cooking process was pretty easy: Brown each side for a couple minutes in an oiled wok over medium-high, then steam them in the covered wok (add a bit of water for steam) until done, about 5-7 minutes.

While our first attempt was in process, we worked in prepping another batch with EL's signature recipe: Hoisin Lime Ground Pork.

The sauce is made with 1/2 head of garlic (minced), 1 jar of hoisin sauce, lime juice from 1 lime, and grated ginger. Simmer these ingredients until thick.

For added smoothness, blend the sauce for a couple minutes. Then add the sauce to browned ground pork.

Caramelize and then cool the pork-sauce mixture before mixing with chopped water chestnuts and blanched leeks.

We loved how this combination tasted in the finished gyozas. Juicy and delicious!

Thanks to our pal EL for teaching/feeding all of us girls for the afternoon! We miss you, buddy; happy and safe travels!


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