Gyoza (Japanese-style dumplings)

Originally adapted from Chinese jiaozi dumplings, gyoza have become one of Japan’s favourite foods. In fact, jiaozi, gyoza and gow gee are the Mandarin, Japanese and Cantonese pronunciations of the exact same word. The main difference between the Japanese version and its Chinese predecessors is that where the Chinese favour a juicy, springy filling, the emphasis of the Japanese dish is on a fine, crispy skin. This simple gyoza recipe makes about 50 dumplings.

Ingredients

250g Chinese cabbage

1 tsp salt

500g fatty pork mince

6 spring onions, finely minced

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 tsp grated ginger

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sake

1 tsp vegetable oil, for brushing

1 tbsp potato flour, or cornflour

1 tsp sesame oil

soy sauce, to serve

rice vinegar, to serve

chilli oil, to serve

Hot water gyoza skins

2 cups plain flour

Method

  1. For the gyoza skins, combine 1 cup of boiling water with the plain flour and mix well. Knead for about 5 minutes, dusting with just a little more flour as necessary until the dough is smooth and firm. Cover with cling film and rest for 30 minutes.
  2. For the gyoza filling, finely shred the cabbage and mix with the salt. Transfer to a strainer and allow to strain for 15 minutes. Squeeze out any excess moisture and mix the salted cabbage with the pork mince, spring onions, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and sake. Rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. On a floured board, roll the dough into a long sausage about 1 cm in diameter. Cut into 1cm rounds, press down with the palm of your hand and with a small rolling pin roll the dough into thin, round skins about 7 cm diameter. Alternatively, you could use commercial dumpling wrappers.
  4. Place about a teaspoon of filling into the centre of the gyoza skin and fold the skin in half, crimping one edge to form the gyoza. Repeat for the remaining filling and skins. You can freeze the gyoza at this stage if you prefer.
  5. Make a mixture of 2 tsp of potato flour (or cornflour) per cup of water. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and brush with an even layer of oil. Place the gyoza into the pan, nestling them together to fill the base of the pan with the gyoza just touching. Fry for about 1 minute until lightly browned on the bottom. Mix 2 tsp potato flour or cornflour into 1 cup of water and pour around the gyoza. Cover the pan with a lid open just a crack and steam for 7 minutes then uncover the pan until water is fully evaporated and you can hear the gyoza frying instead of boiling. Sprinkle over the sesame oil and cook for a further minute then remove the pan from the heat. Invert a serving plate over the pan, ensuring the plate completely covers the pan, then flip the pan and plate over, so that gyoza are on the plate. Serve with soy sauce, rice vinegar and chilli oil for dipping.

Tip

If you don’t want the theatre of making the “skirt” to hold the gyoza in place, you can just fry-steam as many gyoza as you like, using plain water instead of the flour slurry.

Lemon, Honey and Ginger Chicken

Not your nanna’s cold remedy. This Chinese-style chicken brings together three familiar flavours for a modern take on a Chinese restaurant classic.

Ingredients

4 Lilydale free range chicken thighs (around 800 g)

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp Shaoxing wine

¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda

¼ tsp salt

1 cup cornflour

1-2 litres vegetable oil, for deep frying

3 spring onions, finely sliced on a steep diagonal

1 rice paper sheet, to serve (optional)

lettuce leaves, to serve (optional)

Japanese mayonnaise, to serve (optional)

Sauce

juice of 1 large lemon (or 2 small lemons)

100 g honey

1 tsp grated ginger

2 tbsp soy sauce

¼ tsp salt

1 tbsp Shaoxing wine

½ tsp sesame oil

½ tsp cornflour

Batter

½ cup plain flour

½ cup cornstarch

¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda

¼ tsp salt

 

Method

Trim some of the visible fat from the chicken thighs and cut into 3cm pieces. Combine with the soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, bicarbonate of soda, salt and 1 tsp of the cornflour and set aside for 15 minutes. Combine the ingredients for the sauce in a separate bowl. In another bowl, combine the batter ingredients with ¾ cup of cold water and 5 ice cubes.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or wok to 175C. Toss the chicken in the remaining cornstarch and transfer to the batter. Fry the chicken in batches one piece at a time for 3-4 minutes. Drain on a wire rack and allow to cool to room temperature. Heat the oil to 185C and fry the chicken again for about 1 minute until golden brown and crisp.

If using, break the rice paper sheet into large pieces and fry for about 10 seconds until puffed and crisp.

Place a wok over high heat. Stir the sauce ingredients and add to the wok. Bring to a simmer and simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened to the consistency of maple syrup. Toss through the chicken and the spring onions. Transfer to a serving plate with the lettuce leaves and the rice paper crisps.

Chicken schnitzel caprese

Think of this as a fresh version of a schnitzel parmigiana. Rather than tomato sauce, ham and melted cheese, this takes advantage of in-season tomatoes, proscuitto and fresh mozarella. And yes, it’s still on top of a schnitty.

Ingredients

4 Lilydale free range chicken breasts

1 cup plain flour

salt and pepper, to season

4 eggs, beaten

3 cups panko breadcrumbs

4 ripe tomatoes

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and black pepper, to season

approx. 1-2 L canola oil, for deep frying

200 g (1 balls) fresh mozzarella cheese (in whey)

1 cup loosely packed basil leaves

4-6 very thin slices of prosciutto

lemon wedges, to serve

Method

Place each chicken breast between two pieces of baking paper and with a mallet or rolling pin pound it to 1cm thin. Place the flour into a tray and season well with salt and pepper. Place the eggs and breadcrumbs into separate trays.

Cut the tomatoes into large chunks and place into a non-reactive bowl. Season well with salt and pepper and drizzle with the olive oil.

Using a skewer as a kind of hook (this will allow you to move the chicken between the flour and egg without getting your hands dirty and without tongs disrupting the coating), dip the chicken into the flour first, and then the egg, and finally into the panko breadcrumbs – ensuring that it is coated completely. Lightly press the breadcrumbs onto the chicken.

Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan to 170C. Fry the chicken one piece at a time for 4 minutes, turning once during the frying process. Drain on a wire rack, standing the chicken up on an angle for better drainage. Allow to cool and drain for 5 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a serving plate. Spoon over the tomatoes and tear over the mozzarella. Add the slices of proscuitto and scatter with the basil leaves. Serve with wedges of lemon.

 

Tamarind and coconut grilled chicken

Thigh cutlets are a great cut of chicken for a summer barbecue. I leave them on the bone but trim a little of the meat away from the bone so that they sit more flat on the barbecue and also cook more evenly. Rest the chicken well after grilling so that it stays moist.

Ingredients

6 Lilydale free range chicken thighs or thigh cutlets

1 tbsp tamarind puree

200 ml coconut cream

2 tbsp palm sugar

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp dark soy sauce

½ tsp salt

vegetable oil, to grill

lime wedges, to serve (optional)

cucumber, to serve

Dipping sauce

1 tsp tamarind paste

1 tsp chilli powder

2 cloves garlic, grated

1 tsp palm sugar

1 coriander plant, finely minced

2 tbsp fish sauce

2 tbsp finely shredded coriander leaves

 Method

  1. If using thigh cutlets, trim around the bone slightly so that the meat sits flat. Combine with the tamarind, coconut cream, palm sugar, fish sauce, dark soy sauce and salt and refrigerate to marinate for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight. Remove from the fridge 1 hour before grilling.
  2. Combine the ingredients for the dipping sauce and mix with 1-2 tbsp of cold water to form a thick saucy consistency.
  3. Heat a barbecue grill over medium heat and brush with vegetable oil. Grill the chicken thighs for about 8 minutes (boneless) or 10 minutes (cutlets with bone), turning occasionally, and rest for a few minutes before serving with the dipping sauce, lime wedges and slices of cucumber.
Turmeric chicken drumstick pulao

The difference between a pulao and biryani is that biryani is usually layers of cooked rice, while for pulao the rice and other ingredients are cooked together.

Ingredients

6 Lilydale free range chicken drumsticks

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp salt

¼ cup ghee or vegetable oil

1 red onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

2 tsp ginger, finely chopped

2 bay leaves

2 tsp brown mustard seeds

1½ tbsp Keen’s curry powder

3 cups basmati rice

2 tomatoes, finely diced

½ cup chopped coriander

lemon wedges, to serve

thick yoghurt, to serve

Method

Place the chicken into a large bowl and add the turmeric and ½ tsp of the salt. Rub to cover the chicken and set aside for 30 minutes.

Heat your oven to 175C (fan). Heat a large, low casserole dish over medium heat and add the ghee (or oil). Fry the chicken until browned all over and remove from the pan. Add ¾ of the onion and fry for about 5 minutes until browned. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for a further minute until fragrant. Add the mustard seeds, curry powder and bay leaves and fry for just a few seconds until fragrant. Add ¾ of the tomatoes and all the rice and mix in the spices. Spread the rice over the base of the pan and add the chicken back on top. Add 2 cups of water (or stock) and the remaining salt (or to taste). Bring to a simmer and cover. Transfer to the oven for 20 minutes, then remove and stand for a further 10 minutes.

Uncover, then scatter with the remaining onion and tomato, and the chopped coriander. Serve with lemon wedges and yoghurt.

Creamy chicken saagwala

My kids call this “Green butter chicken” and they absolutely love it. It’s fairly close to a traditional saagwala except it’s cooked off the bone and I make it a bit sweeter and with more cream.

Ingredients

2 bunches spinach

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 stick cinnamon

6 cardamom pods

1 tsp cloves

1 onion, finely chopped

5 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tsp grated ginger

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp ground turmeric

½ tsp chilli powder (optional, or to taste)

1 tbsp garam masala

3 tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 kg Lilydale free range chicken thigh fillets, cut into 5cm pieces

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

¼ tsp grated nutmeg

150 ml thickened cream

25 g butter

Method

Wash the spinach well, trim and discard the root portion and place the leaves and stems into a heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over the spinach and leave for 1 minute. Drain, then puree the spinach in a blender.

Heat a large pan over medium heat and add the oil and the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and onion. Fry the onion for about 3 minutes until it starts to brown, add the garlic and ginger and fry for a further 2 minutes. Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric, chilli and garam masala, stir and then immediately add the tomatoes. Cook for about 2 minutes until the tomatoes soften, then add the chicken. Fry the chicken for 3 minutes, then add the salt, sugar and stir in the spinach puree. Cook uncovered for about 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through, then add the nutmeg and stir through the cream. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary, then stir through the butter and serve.

Chicken and broccolini with XO sauce

A simple stir-fry of chicken thigh and broccolini doesn’t require any blanching etc. to prepare the vegetables so it’s a fast dinner. I make my own XO sauce, but some commercial varieties are really good too.

Ingredients

400 g Lilydale free range chicken thigh fillets, cut into 5cm pieces

2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra

1 small onion, cut into small wedges

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 large red chilli, sliced into 3-5 slices diagonally

1 bunch broccolini, sliced diagonally

1 tbsp Shaoxing wine

1 tbsp XO sauce

salt, to season

1 tsp cornflour mixed with ¼ cup cold water

Chicken marinade

½ tsp cornflour

½ tsp sesame oil

½ tsp dark soy sauce

1 tsp Shaoxing wine

Method

Combine the chicken with the chicken marinade ingredients and stir to coat.

Heat a wok over high heat and add the oil. Add the chicken to the wok in a single layer and fry without stirring for about 2-3 minutes until one side of the chicken is well-browned. Toss the wok and continue to cook the chicken for another 2-3 minutes until barely cooked through. Remove from the wok and set aside.

Heat a little more oil in the wok and add the onion, garlic and chilli. Toss until the garlic is fragrant, then add the broccolini and toss until the broccolini is softened (about 3 minutes). Return the chicken to the wok and season well with salt. Add the Shaoxing wine and XO sauce and toss to combine. Drizzle in a little cornflour mixture while tossing the wok until the XO sauce sticks to the chicken and broccoli. Remove from the wok and serve.

Chicken Paprikash

Chicken paprikash is stroganoff’s less famous cousin, but it’s possibly even easier to make and even more delicious. Free range chicken thighs are braised in stock with paprika and tomato paste, and then finished with sour cream. Served with buttered pasta.

Ingredients

50 g butter, plus 25 g extra for the pasta

1 onion, diced

1 green capsicum, seeds removed and diced

5 cloves garlic, sliced

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp flour

2 tbsp sweet paprika

1 kg chicken thigh fillets, cut into 10 cm pieces

500 ml chicken stock

150 ml sour cream

500 g fusilli, orecchiette or other short pasta

1 tbsp finely shredded parsley leaves

Method

Heat a large casserole dish over medium heat and add the butter, onion and capsicum and fry for about 5 minutes until the onion is softened. Add the garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Toss the chicken in the flour and add to the pan with the paprika as well. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer covered for 15 minutes, then stir through the sour cream.

While the chicken is simmering, cook the pasta according to the packet directions, drain and toss through the extra butter. Serve the chicken alongside the pasta, scattered with parsley.

Chicken drumsticks with porcini and chardonnay

This is a simplified version of the classic French poulet au vin jaune. Drumsticks braised in porcini stock, mushrooms and chardonnay. It’s spiked with a little brandy too, and finished with cream. Truly delicious.

Serves 4

Ingredients

20 g dried porcini mushrooms

2 tbsp vegetable oil

8 Lilydale free-range chicken drumsticks

salt, to season

50 g butter

1 large onion, peeled and diced

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

250 g sliced Swiss brown mushrooms

4 bay leaves

6 sprigs thyme

250 ml chardonnay

2 tbsp brandy

150 ml thickened cream

1 tsp finely shredded parsley leaves

Method

Cover the porcini mushrooms in 2 cups of hot water and stand for 15 minutes. Heat a large chef pan over high heat and add the oil. Fry the drumsticks in batches until well-browned, then remove from the pan.

Add the butter to the pan and fry the onion for about 3 minutes until fragrant. Add the garlic and mushrooms and fry for about 5 minutes until the mushrooms are lightly browned. Add the porcini to the pan with the other mushrooms and return the drumsticks to the pan along with the herbs. Cover with the porcini steeping liquid, wine, brandy and top up with a little more water to cover the drumsticks. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add the cream and simmer for a further 10 minutes uncovered. Taste and adjust seasoning. Scatter with parsley. Serve with crusty bread and a green salad.

Chicken breast with garlic and black bean dressing

I use a steam oven to safely cook the chicken to 62C. (Holding it at that temperature for just 10 minutes will pasteurise it so that it’s entirely safe to eat.) If you don’t have a steam oven you can poach the chicken in water at a very, very low simmer (basically just steaming) for about 15 minutes.

Ingredients

¼ cup canola oil

½ small onion

5 cloves garlic

1 tbsp salted black beans

¼ tsp sugar

2 tsp soy sauce

¼ tsp sugar

2 chicken breasts

a handful of coriander sprigs, to serve

Method

Bring a large pot of water to a very low simmer and add the chicken breasts. Simmer over very low heat for about 15 minutes then remove and rest for 3 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking add the canola oil to a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 2 minutes, add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring regularly until the garlic is golden brown. Add the black beans and sugar and cook for a further minute until the black beans are fragrant. Stir through the soy sauce and remove from the heat.

Slice the chicken and spoon over the dressing. Garnish with a few coriander sprigs and serve.