Umami, vegetal, shaded, steamed. These are all words that describe a rich cup of Gyokuro Japanese green tea. While the lush, emerald color of Gyokuro is due to its high concentration of chlorophyll, its sweet, seaweed-like flavor is due to L-Theanine, the amino acid. In looks, taste, and nutrition, this tea is quite simply, amazing.Gyokuro is a pricey tea, but worth the extra cost if you’re an avid Japanese green tea lover. I reserve my treasured stash of Gyokuro for sluggish days when I need a boost of vitality and pop of freshness. There’s nothing like the clean taste of best-quality green tea to get you focused and back on track, no matter what the task is.
There’s an art to cooking with more expensive teas. Tea bags make great cooking teas because they’re convenient and affordable. We use them to add layers of flavor and complexity to a dish. But when using high-quality teas to cook, you’ll want to use fewer ingredients and only the best. The point here is to showcase the tea itself as a main ingredient, not to simply use it as a flavoring agent.
Ideally, any ground meat that you use in a dumpling should have at least some fat in it. Since I often buy my chicken pre-ground, it tends to be made out of chicken breast meat. If this is the case, I usually add some peanut oil directly into the meat before seasoning. The added fat makes for a moister, more tender dumpling.
Gyokuro Chicken Dumplings are clean eating at it’s best. These are delicious pan-fried, but I prefer them either steamed or boiled, served in a puddle of hot Gyokuro, complete with a few tender-green tea leaves floating in the tea broth for slurping. Enjoy these as a power-lunch, a wholesome meal when you want to feel satisfied, refreshed, and rejuvenated.Gyokuro Chicken Dumplings
Makes 50 dumplings.
1 pound ground chicken, preferably with some fat (if it’s super lean, mix in 1 Tbsp of peanut oil)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp miso concentrate
1 tsp sesame oil
1 1/2 tsp fresh ground ginger
2 tsp bonito stock granules or chicken bullion
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp white pepper
4 leaves napa cabbage, diced into 1/4″ pieces
1 Tbsp Gyokuro, steeped in 2 Tbsp 140 degree F water for 15 seconds, then drained
50 round dumpling wrappers
extra brewed Gyokuro, with leaves, for serving
shichimi togarashi, to garnish (optional)
large microwaveable plate
large mixing bowl
bowl and strainer, to steep tea
large bamboo steamer
wok with slightly larger diameter than steamer OR a stockpot with exactly the same diameter as the steamer
shallow bowls, for serving
1. Prepare the napa cabbage by spreading it in a single layer on a large plate. Microwave for 5 minutes on high, then let cool completely and squeeze dry. Set aside.
2. Mix all the filling ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Only add the napa after it has cooled back down to room temperature.
3. Fill the dumpling wrappers with 2 tsp of the filling. I like to fold them in half, sealing with a thin layer of water. With dabs of water at one end of the folded crescent, join the ends together to form a rounded, pouch-like dumpling.
4. Place dumplings into prepared steamer, about 1″ apart from one another and away from the sides of the steamer. When the steamer is full of dumplings, fill the wok or stockpot 1/2 full with water and place on stove top on high heat. When water has reached a full boil, place the bamboo steamer (with top on) atop the wok/stockpot. Steam the dumplings for 15 minutes until cooked through. Serve in shallow bowls with hot, brewed Gyokuro tea, including some of the steeped leaves…yes, you can eat them! Garnish with with a sprinkle of shichimi togarashi to finish.