Baking Day 10: Sakura Matcha Madeleines

Anybody who knows me knows that I absolutely LOVE sakura season in Japan. There really is nothing else in the world like it. For a very brief period of time, the entire city of Tokyo becomes a soft pink wonderland. The “mankai” or fully bloomed period usually only lasts a couple of days, which makes the experience all the more special. If you’ve never seen sakura (cherry blossoms) in person, I highly recommend traveling to Japan in the spring. If unable to travel to Japan, there are also sakura trees in Seattle, WA and Washington DC (that I know of!).

Spring 2017

Spring in Tokyo

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Sakura desserts are also very popular in Japan during the spring season. Sakura desserts can be enjoyed throughout the year by preserving the sakura blossoms in salt. I had actually never used preserved sakura in my baking before, until my Aunty Wallis gave me a bag of salted sakura blossoms. I had received Organic matcha from her husband (my Uncle Dennis), and since sakura and matcha pair so well together, I decided to make Sakura Matcha Madeleines. I researched some recipes online and came across one from the Japanese recipe website cookpad. The recipe included making half the batch with sakura powder, but since I didn’t have access to any, I made all of the batter with just matcha.

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The first step to making these madeleines is to soak the salted sakura in water to remove some of the salt in the blossoms.

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Next, prepare the madeleine pan by brushing some melted butter into each mold and then putting the pan in the freezer.

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In a large bowl, add your cake flour, baking powder, sugar, and matcha powder.

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In a separate small bowl, add the egg and honey and beat with a whisk. Once mixed, add your egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix with the whisk.

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Once mixed, add your melted butter to the bowl and mix until combined.

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Once batter is ready, cover bowl and let the batter rest in the refrigerator for 1 – 2 hours (I did 2).

Meanwhile, remove the sakura blossoms from the water bowl, and dry with a paper towel.

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Preheat oven to 356 F (180 C). Take your madeleine pan from the freezer and place 1 blossom in each cavity.

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Pour a spoonful of batter into each cavity and bake for 10 minutes.

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Remove madeleines and allow to cool on a baking rack. These madeleines are sweet and buttery but have a wonderful floral fragrance and just a hint of saltiness from the preserved sakura. Enjoy!

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Ingredients
Makes 12 Madeleines

  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tbsp Honey
  • 6 Tbsp Cake Flour
  • 3/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 3 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp Butter melted (plus 1-2 Tbsp for madeleine pan)
  • 1/2 tsp Matcha Powder
  • 12 Salted Sakura blossoms

Recipe

  1. Add sakura blossoms to a bowl of water to remove salt.
  2. Prepare madeleine pan by brushing each cavity with melted butter and placing pan in the freezer.
  3. In a large bowl, add cake flour, baking powder, sugar, and matcha powder and whisk.
  4. In a small bowl, add 1 egg and honey and beat with whisk.
  5. Add your egg and honey to the flour mixture and mix with whisk.
  6. Once mixed, add melted butter to the batter. Cover bowl of batter and let rest in fridge for 1 – 2 hours.
  7. Pre-heat oven to 356 degrees F (180 C).
  8. Take sakura blossoms out of the water and dry with paper towels. Once dried, add one blossom to each cavity of the madeleine pan.
  9. Add about a spoonful of batter to each cavity, making sure to add an even amount to each cavity.
  10. Bake for 10 minutes.
  11. Remove madeleines from pan and allow to cool on cooling rack, ridge side down.
  12. Enjoy! Madeleines are best enjoyed the day of.
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Gyoza

My family and I are obsessed with my mother’s gyoza. For some reason, any other place we eat gyoza out at just doesn’t compare to the homemade ones I grew up eating. I wonder if it’s just due to tasting familiar? Or are they really that spectacular? Well, I’ve fed a lot of my friends her gyoza as well and they all agree that it is BOMB. So I think she’s got something special going with her recipe.

I really get peeved when I eat gyoza at Japanese restaurants and they serve me what OBVIOUSLY are those ajinomoto frozen ones that they’ve just pan fried. Like C’mon man!! I get that making gyoza from scratch is a labor of love, but if you’re going to offer it on your menu, please just make it. The frozen stuff is never on the same level as the legit homemade ones. I also prefer Japanese style gyoza over Chinese ones since I like the THINNEST gyoza skin possible.

This recipe isn’t that difficult as long as you have a food processor. Cutting up all the cabbage by hand will take FOREVER. I mean, it is doable of course, but get yourself a food processor if you don’t have one. You can get one on Amazon for a decent price and it’ll save you soooo much time. I’ve also included a video on how to fold the gyoza so hope that helps!

 

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The nira should be chopped to about this size:

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Once your mise en place are ready (all your chopping, grating, juicing is done), add your ground pork in a large bowl. Add the garlic, ginger juice, miso, egg and waipa to your pork.

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Mix well by hand

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Once mixed, add the chopped cabbage and nira and mix well by hand again

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Once all your filling is mixed, set up your “folding station” with your gyoza wrappers, spoons, filling, a bowl of water, and a cookie sheet dusted with potato or corn starch.

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Take about a 1/2 tablespoon of filling and add to the center of the wrapper. Dip your finger into the bowl and moisten the edges of the gyoza wrapper. Fold using method below:

Once all your gyozas are folded and neatly aligned, you can choose to freeze them or cook them immediately.

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If cooking, heat a medium sized nonstick pan with 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil. Add the gyoza in a single layer to fill the pan. Sear until lightly browned on the bottom, add 1/4 cup boiling water and cover with a lid for 6-7 min. Once water is evaporated, take lid off and cook until browned and crispy. Optionally, you can add sesame oil at this point if you’d like to make it a little more crispier and add sesame flavor. Serve with your choice of sauce mix.

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These taste best fresh out of the pan so I suggest freezing whatever you don’t eat so. Just a warning, if you decide to pack these up for lunch, once cooked and kept overnight, these gyozas emanate a VERY pungent smell due to the nira. Just a word of caution!

Ingredients

  • 1.5 – 1.85 lb. lean ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cloves of garlic grated
  • 1 Medium sized cabbage finely chopped in food processor*
  • 1 bunch of Nira (Chinese Leek) finely chopped by hand*
  • 1.5″ chunk of fresh ginger grated and juiced
  • 2 Tbsp. miso paste
  • 1 Tbsp. Waipa (Chinese Chicken Stock Paste, can substitute chicken stock cube)
  • About 100 gyoza wrappers (Can be purchased at any Asian grocery store)

*Please make sure to wash all vegetables before using. The cabbage can be added to a salad spinner after chopping and spun to release excess moisture. The nira should be washed prior to chopping and dried using paper towels.

Recipe

Mix ground pork and egg, garlic, ginger, miso paste and waipa in a bowl by hand. Add finely chopped cabbage and chopped nira and mix well by hand. 

Set up dumpling folding station with your gyoza wrappers, filling, a bowl of water, and a baking sheet dusted with potato starch or corn starch powder.

Add about 0.5 Tbsp of mix into each wrapper, dip your finger in the water and lightly moisten the edges of the wrapper. Fold using method shown in video. Once all wrappers are filled, you can either freeze them at this point or cook immediately.

To freeze: Put the lined up gyoza on the baking sheet directly into the freezer and let freeze for about 30 minutes to an hour until semi solid. Once it is solid enough, take them out of the freezer and wrap about 10 gyozas (or however many you’d like per serving) in saran wrap (make sure not to stack any of them, they should all be in one layer) and then wrap again tightly in foil. Place them in freezer safe ziploc bags and freeze up to 2 months. The frozen gyozas can be cooked the same way as below.

To cook: Sear dumplings in a medium hot nonstick pan coated with oil. Add 1/4 cup boiling water and cover for 6-7 min. Once water is evaporated, take lid off and cook until browned and crispy. Optionally, you can add sesame oil at this point if you’d like to make it a little more crispier and add sesame flavor. Serve with your choice of sauce mix.*

Sauce mix options: Many people enjoy their gyoza with a mix of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and rayu or chili oil. I like mine with just rice wine vinegar and black pepper. You can also add yuzu kosho or toubanjan (fermented chili bean paste). Be creative! I think the gyoza goes really well with more sour, pungent sauces but to each their own 🙂