Thursday, June 7, 2007

Kaffir lime leaf gyoza

Native to Indonesia, but now grown round the world, the double-barreled leaves of the Kaffir lime tree pack a citrus-laced punch. The perfume they bring to South East Asian food is matched only by their unique floral flavour, lying happily somewhere between a lemon, a lime and an orange. The zest of this knobbled, almost ugly fruit is good, but don’t bother to juice the little brute – more often than not it will be bone dry. Better to stick with that glossy foliage.

Harvesting the leaves commercially is a laborious and painful process; with protective thorny branches, just itching to tear at hands, it’s little wonder the leaves can at times seem expensive. A small potted tree, moved around to catch the sun is a fabulous thing in warmer climates - the fresher the leaves, the better the flavour.

One leaf, added to a pot of jasmine or basmati rice as it cooks, will leave your kitchen headily and exotically scented. And if that rice is also cooked with a dash of coconut milk and a stalk of lemongrass, smashed with the flat of your knife, all the better.

Gyoza with mushrooms and lime leaves – makes 12
These silky little dumplings are a doddle to make. Soft and pillowy on top; crunchy and golden on the bottom. And scented with that lime? Pretty sexy stuff. I’ve gone for the quick and easy prep – for more a more authentically prepared gyoza, pop over here.

75g of fresh mushrooms (Swiss brown [cremini] or shiitake)
75g of tofu, drained and blotted with kitchen paper
2 Kaffir lime leaves, spines discarded and leaves finely shredded
1 small red chilli, deseeded and chopped
1 x 2cm (1 inch) of ginger, peeled and grated
2 spring onions, white and tender greens, chopped
1 tablespoon of tamari
1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil

12 wonton or gow gee wrappers (freeze the remainder)
1-2 tablespoons light olive oil
½ cup of water

Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon of tamari
1 tablespoon of water
2 teaspoons of fish sauce (nam pla - optional)
1 tablespoon of sesame seeds, toasted

De-stalk the mushrooms and roughly chop the caps, then place everything in a food processor and whiz to a smooth paste.

Hold a wonton wrapper in the palm of your hand. Place a generous teaspoon of the stuffing in the centre. Dip your index finger into the water, lightly dampen the edges and bring them together. Pinch the edges tightly to form a half-moon shape. Continue with the remaining wrappers.

Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan. When hot, add your gyozas in one layer. Fry over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until golden underneath. Stand back and add the water (it will bubble and spit). Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and leave to steam for 3 minutes. If there’s any water left at the end, take off the lid and let it evaporate. They will be soft and translucent when ready.

To make the dipping sauce, mix everything together in a small serving bowl.

Serve hot, dipping as you go.

This post is being submitted to Ulrike of Kutchenlatein, this weeks host of Weekend Herb Blogging.


Cindy said...

Oh yum - love these leaves, love those mushrooms, and can never resist gyoza. I've bookmarked this recipe as a future weekend treat!

kitchen hand said...

Just bought some wrappers, this could be the answer.

Truffle said...

These sound absolutely gorgeous! I love the flavour of kaffir lime leaves and I adore gyozas so this sounds like a match made in heaven to my taste buds!

Rosa said...

I'll be putting a kaffir lime leaf in my rice from now on! In Nice I can only find them frozen in big bags, so I always have too many. I can't wait to try your gyoza recipe when I get back from Paris. In the meantime, I'll have to satisfy my gyoza craving at Higuma on rue Ste-Anne.

Lucy said...

Cindy, maybe to celebrate when Michael gets home?!

Ah, kitchen hand - any kind of minced meat could replace the 'shrooms and tofu, should you feel that way inclined.

It's such a clean, bright flavour, isn't it Truffle?

Rosa, I always freeze them and end up with stacks too. Hope you do try the rice - it's a great way to use them up.

Susan said...

These gyozas are drop-dead gorgeous. I've never used kaffir lime, nor made these plump little crescents, but after this post, they are simply too seductive to resist. Just beautiful on all counts, and another fine reason to forgo meat.

Ulrike said...

I can't remember if I had these leaves in any dish during my stay in Indonesia. Thanks for your entry. Dont't miss the round-up!

Cynthia said...

Lucy, have you ever tried making tea with the leaves? Please try it if you haven't - it is soooooo good.

Those pot stickers are calling my name :)

Wendy said...

Beautiful post.
I adore gyoza but really should venture away from my usual tried and trusted recipe sometimes. Will try this next!

Lucy said...

They're cute, aren't they Susan? I think you'll enjoy the citrus flavour of the lime leaves, it's quite unique. It's one of the few times I've broken out the tofu this year, and it's perfect for carrying such strong flavours as these.

Hi Ulrike, did you enjoy your stay in Indonesia? Looking forward to the round up.

Cynthia, it's never even occurred to me that tea could be made from them, but it would be WONDERFUL. I often use leftover lemongrass stalks, but this I must try! Thank you.

Wendy I'm intrigued, how do you fill yours?

Christina said...

I've never made gyoza before, but I sure love eating them, so I should definitely give them a try. Thanks for the recipe!

Wendy said...

It's a traditional chinese recipe. Take a look at the "chinese dumpling" post on my blog. :)

Johanna said...

oh - I saw the recipe in the sunday age and was dying to make these - they are one of my favourite foods at mindl beach markets in Darwin when I get there! They are on my wishlist and I like your version, and your ruminations about kaffir lime leaves - they are so gorgeous but sad to hear they are painful labour to produce. Maybe I need to treasure them more.

Lucy said...

Christina - they're rather too moreish...always eat more than my fair share when out.

Wendy - am popping over for a look now.

Johanna, our lemon tree, which I assume is a Meyer one, has bastard thorny branches like the Kaffir that tear everything. Would hate to have to pick around those spikes for a living! Think you'll like these - very quick to make as well.

Maria Helene Schlösser said...

Since I bought a line tree. This is the answer. Thanks fro sharing. :)

Kalyn said...

Your gyoza photo is just lovely. Just the right balance of light and shadow! I love kaffir lime leaves. Of course that type of tree would never grow in Utah, but luckily I have a step-sister in California who sends me the leaves, and I keep them in my freezer. Not as good as fresh but still pretty good.

Katerina said...

These look amazing! I have a TON of lime leaves at home and I don't have enough ideas for them so thanks for one more!

Lucy said...

Maria Helene - perfect, and just in time.

Hi Kalyn - glad your step-sister is the sharing kind!

Welcome Katerina - I always end up with lots too. You also should try them in a tea, as suggested here by Cynthia (it's great).

Melinda said...

I love gyoza and these look divine! I'm looking forward to trying out this recipe.

bee said...

gyoza looks great. we use kaffir lime leaves for thai and other cooking. tx for adding us to your blogroll. --jai