May 16, 2016

Itani Ramen’s Gyoza Machine (and Recipe!)

by Kayoko Akabori

ItaniGyoza

Kyle Itani used to have midnight ramen pop-ups at his Oakland restaurant, Hopscotch, a few years ago and Yoko and I would sneak in and snag a table. It was way past our bedtime but it was such a rare occasion for a restaurant in Oakland to be open past midnight, and, serve ramen! Now, his dreams of owning and running his own ramen house has come to life with Itani Ramen – now open everyday from 11 a.m. to midnight!

Itani is a casual ramen-ya, like any that you would find in Japan. It is counter service, and has an excellent sake and shochu list.

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When we visited Itani Ramen a couple months ago, right before it opened for weekend service, we instantly gravitated towards the gyoza machine, imported from Japan. This solid steel uni-tasker has one purpose on Planet Earth: to produce at least 10 gyozas per minute – Kyle says he’s up to 750 pieces per hour!!!

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But before we get to the gyoza machine, let’s talk gyoza. These are Japanese dumplings that are smaller than potstickers and are usually pan-fried. They are pretty labor-intensive (check out Yoko’s recipe here) and many moms in Japan have their own tweaks to the basic recipe which is pork, leeks/scallions, cabbage.

Here’s Kyle’s recipe, which is broken down into ratios since he works in large batches. Sorry, I couldn’t do the math to break this down into more precise measurements:

40% cabbage
Whatever weight that is, 3% of it in salt. So if 100g, then 3g salt.
Shred the cabbage and mix in the salt. Let sit for 1 hour and then squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible. Don’t rinse.

Add to the cabbage:
5% Nira chives, minced
40% ground pork shoulder
10% ground pork back fat
5% seasonings: shoyu, salt, white pepper, garlic

Kyle showed us how he makes the filling of his gyoza. He grinds the meat:

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Adds the rest of the ingredients and folds it all in:

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Then, the mixture gets put into the cone on top of the gyoza machine:

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A person then has to stand there and feed the gyoza wrapper piece by piece. But even then, this process takes way less time than individually wrapping them, which is a total time-suck.

Here they come out…

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… marching on like soldiers!

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You have to take off the gyozas manually, but hey, look at all the time you’ve saved with this machine!

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See this machine in action in our video here.

Now, for griddling. It’s pretty basic:

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Get the griddle really hot and make sure you have plenty of oil on the pan so the gyoza wrappers don’t stick to the pan:

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Squirt more oil over the top, then cover for a few minutes:

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Aaaaaand, they’re ready when they have a nicely crisped, browned underside:

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Kyle makes his own rayu (spicy sesame oil) in house!

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Gorgeous gyoza!

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Congrats Kyle and Brian on the opening of Itani Ramen. It’s going to be such a huge success!

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And don’t leave without getting an icy Samanco from the vending machine.

ITANI RAMEN
1736 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94612

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