Gyoza miso nabe (relax hot pot). Step 2 : cook’n eat.

Let’s eat this miso hot pot with ginger chicken gyoza…

You have everything ready (details here).

1. fill 2/3 of the pot with hot water, add the kombu seaweed, let simmer a few minutes. You can put the lid if you want to speed up.
2. add a part of the miso, at your taste. It’s very salty. You want the water drizzle slightly, just enough to poach and cook the ingredients. The “don’t let boil” advice for miso soup can’t apply here.
3. when the level of broth goes down, complete with hot water. When you get near the end of the meal, you can let the broth thicken.
4. add small amounts of the ingredients and pick them out as soon as they are cooked. The cooking time differ slightly. Here, the kabocha is the longest, I put some in first, then gyoza, then mochi and I like my cabbage and sprouts very crunchy so they need only a quick dip.

While the kabocha cooks, you have the time to form a few gyoza dumplings :

Inside the gyoza : meat, ginger and a little miso. Wet the outer circle and fold in 2, try to push out all air from inside and shape in little bags. They cook in about 5 minutes. You can see the change of shape and color.

FINAL ROUND :

At the end, everything that is left, the rest of miso, of veggies, the unused dumpling skins and the big block of mochi. The kombu seaweed has become much softer and it can be eaten. I cut it in ribbon and let it in.
When the mochi melts, serve the soup.

Other nabe hotpots :

Japanese miso hot pot with Winter crab
Nikomi Udon, noodle nabe
Duck and veggie nabe
sukiyaki, beef , sake and soy sauce

Gyoza miso nabe (relax hot pot). Step 1 : display.


A cool… no hot nabe Japanese hotpot with ginger flavored chicken gyoza dumplings. A meal to cook directly on the table and relax longly, and enjoy season food. It’s very popular for parties and all gathering, but you can start at one. Preparing takes less time than reading this post.

gas + donabe

Material :
-a stove you can place on your table. They make convenient and cheap gas ones (in any Chinatown). I also have a small induction one. A brasero is too slow for a big pot, but for one or two, that works.
-a nabe (pot). That can be any thick bottom pot. There are beautiful ones in black cast iron (kuro tetsu), or in pottery (donabe). It’s better to use one that seems too small than too big for the number of guests. The goal is to cook progressively and eat immediately each bite, so you want to cook in many small batches.
-a pot with hot water not far away

A bit of dashi kombu, the seaweed. That’s the base for the broth.

Chunky koji miso. How much ? I’d say a good spoonful per person for a full meal. Then that depends if you like your food salty.
Some mochi. It’s the full season as we are so close to New Year. I had square kiri-mochi. We can buy any size here. They sell thinly cuts ready for hot pots, but slicing yours is not difficult. I slice some, I keep some whole for the final.
Dumpling skins that you can make yourself. I bought them this time. Well, some buy the gyoza ready, but that’s not funny.
DIY gyoza

For the filling : ground chicken meat and diced fresh ginger. That’s all. The ground meat could go bad if it stayed too long unrefrigerated, so take it from the fridge at the last minute. If you are many, bring one a bowl and refill later as you go.

Season veggies that you like.
The greens of hakusai (napa cabbage). Bean sprouts. And yukikesho kabocha, sliced finely, if possible. The rind of kabocha is edible.

That’s ready. Jump to step 2 (here).

Perfect Japanese rice in your cast iron pot

Rice is a food you can completely waste if you don’t cook it properly. It can become a lump, stay like raw starch, half-lump and half-starch. It can taste watery. Or you can get it just great : fluffy, each grain cooked at the same level, neither hard nor smashed, and full of its flavors.

It is not particularly difficult.
To obtain perfectly cooked rice like in the good Asian restaurants, you don’t need a rice-cooker. This method works with any type of stoves (or campfire) and a cast-iron pot.

EXPLANATION :

That takes about 50 minutes, but you will be busy less 5~10 minutes.
The first time, stay around all the time, observe everything. Write memos. You may have to slightly adjust the time and heat as conditions very from kitchen to kitchen. But after that will become automatic. I know “step 1” takes 3 minutes on my stove, just the time to drink my coffee. Then I set the stove timer on 8 minutes and I come back half an hour later.

It is important to wash your rice not only to get rid of the excess of starch (and coating additives in certain countries) but also to wet it. You can see on the photo below that after washing, the rice is already a little more voluminous than when it was dry.

Rice cooks in 25 minutes (or more), but this is not a continuous process :
Step 1 : reaching the heat, getting fully wet.
Step 2 : cooking while absorbing the water.
Step 3 : cooking while absorbing the steam.
Salt would prevent the water from properly wetting the grain. Don’t add any.

That also works with a thick terracotta stove-top pot, of a very thick steel pot like a pressure-cooker. These thick pot have the property of retaining the heat for a long time.
IMPORTANT : SIZE MATTERS.
Look at this photo. In this pot, I can cook from 1 to 2 cups of rice. Roughly the dry rice should be from 1/5th to 2/5th of the volume of your pot.
More rice, it would overflow.
Less rice, there wouldn’t be enough concentration of steam.

This is a Japanese rice cup : 180 milliliter. That doesn’t matter if you use a different measuring cup. Measure the dry rice and the water with the same cup.
So let’s go :

******** RECIPE **********

MEASURE THE DRY RICE :

WASHING AND WETTING THE RICE :

Easy technique :

-Place a vegetable colander in a salad bowl. Put your measured dry rice and plenty of water.
-With your hand, rub the rice over the walls of the colander during 2 minutes. Don’t be lazy, do that with energy. The water will become white like milk. Discard water, rinse. -Repeat 1 or 2 times.
-Then you should get clear water.
-Take away the bowl, and let rest 5 minutes (or more).

Transfer the rice into the pot. Add 1 cup plus 20% of of a cup of water. For “sushi rice”, as you will add more liquid later, you need 1 cup plus 10% of cup. The water is cold or room temperature.
Do NOT add salt now.

COOKING :



Put the lid on your pot.
STEP 1 :
Place it on the stove, on high heat (start medium if it’s a terracotta pot). After 2~3 minutes, check the lid with your finger. When it gets very hot, you know the steam is filling the pot. Pass to step 2.
STEP 2 :
Pass on low heat. Start a timer for 8 minutes. Then cut the heat. Do NOT open the lid.
STEP 3 :
Let the rice absorb the heat during about 20 minutes (12 is a minimum).


After step 2, the rice should have absorbed the water. The first time, check briefly. If some water is left, cook 2 minutes more, check again… The next times, you’ll know it takes a little longer in your kitchen.
When you check, do it very quickly, then shut back the lid and put 30 seconds more on heat to recreate some steam for “step 3”.

Perfectly cooked rice.
You can salt it now if you want.

For a few more tips click here (I’ll post this soon)