Gyoza with Kuriya Keiko

Once upon a time I lived in Japan and I had a favourite gyoza shop. I went about once a week at lunchtime for a small plate of hand made gyoza, served with a bowl of rice. It was the ultimate in comfort food, especially on a rainy day. When I was getting ready to move away from Japan, the owner of the shop invited me to come in – on my last day in Japan – to make gyoza with him, to learn his recipe. It was risky accepting the invitation – I knew it fell on the day after my big leaving party. A party organised by my best friends in my town, which started on a boat in the Ariake Sea and ended late at night at a whisky bar. Sadly (and predictably) when my alarm went off at 6am to head to the gyoza shop, it just didn’t happen. It is one of the few regrets I carry with me – missing the chance to learn the gyoza master’s secrets…

So when I was scrolling through my food list on Twitter and saw a gyoza course announcement from Edible Experiences, I knew I had a chance to FINALLY have learn what I missed all those years ago.

Hosted at Kuriya Keiko, the course was a perfect and delicious way to spend a cold Saturday afternoon.

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The space was beautiful and light. Keiko taught from the center island (the table with the yellow and red neon paper). It was a great layout for teaching demos, and as it also doubles as a space for private event hire as well as a restaurant, I think it would be a great place to visit for dinner, or to use for a private party or event. And it’s  not a million miles from the Arsenal football grounds, so you might be able to combine both into one visit 😉

Keiko showed us just how simple it is to make gyoza. I had no idea that basically a gyoza wrapper is a simple wheat pastry (wheat plus a pinch of salt), just enough water added to allow the pastry to come together, then some kneading to get it to a nice elastic state for rolling and filling.

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Or that the filling is essentially equal parts meat, cabbage and liquid – the liquid mix of soy sauce, mirin (sweet sake), sake, and sesame oil being the key to more-ish gyoza taste.

Or just how simple a meal like this could be to prepare. No, not fast. But not difficult. Within an hour and a half we had made from scratch eight gyoza each, and had washed them down with a glass of Peroni!

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Not a bad way to spend a Saturday lunchtime!

For more information on Kuriya Keiko cooking school (and their restaurant menu) please visit their website, or click onto Edible Experiences. I notice that there are upcoming gyoza and sushi workshops. Well worth it – your stomach will thank you! Please also remember – gyoza is normally made with wheat flour. I don’t therefore suggest this class for gluten free eaters. It may be more worthwhile looking up a Vietnamese cooking class instead.

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