Juicy Fried Gyoza and Echigo Koshihikari Rice Beer!

08 Nov 2018

Gyoza (餃子) or Japanese dumplings is as widespread as ramen in Japan. You can find these mouthwatering dumplings being served at specialty shops, izakaya, ramen shops, grocery stores or even at festivals. Often served in a group of six or eight, Japanese enjoy gyoza not only as snack but also as a main meal alone. They come in carb, vegetables and protein in one parcel after all.


Japanese cuisine has adapted the traditional recipe of Chinese dumpling to the taste of their own. This Japanese dumpling is directly descended from the Chinese jiaozi, which consists of an outer skin of wheat-based dough encasing a pork and a vegetable stuffing.


This Japanese dumpling is shaped like a half-moon. It differs from its Chinese counterpart in the texture of its dough and the seasoning of its stuffing: gyoza contain more garlic, and the dough is generally thinner and lighter. It can be browned (yaki-gyoza), boiled (sui-gyoza) or deep-fried (age-gyoza).


Yaki gyoza is the most common way of cooking dumplings in Japan: the dumplings are fried on one side in a frying pan, then water mixed with a little cornstarch is added to the hot pan before being covered for a few minutes. While cooking, dumplings sometimes become attached to each other forming one unit. These are called hanetsuki gyoza, literally "winged gyoza". These gyoza are then served with the grilled side facing upwards.


What is the best drink to go well with fried gyoza? If you guessed beer you are right!


Speaking of beer, it is distinguished by its bittersweet taste and carbonation. This bitter sweetness fits well with the rich tasting gyoza. Gyoza is very juicy but also quite a bit oily so beer will have a refreshing effect on the greasy feeling and carbonation will clean your mouth. Also, beer has a low alcohol degree, so it can be drunk swiftly. That is why both gyoza and beer are a perfect combination.


The beer we recommend is Echigo Koshihikari Rice Lager.


Echigo Koshihikari Beer is the flagship brand of Echigo Brewery. It is a rice style lager with 5% alcohol. While the malt ingredient is imported from Europe, the rice is harvested literally from the backyard of Echigo Brewery. Though this beer is categorized as being dry, the brewery uses the time-consuming German decoction method to bring out the natural sweet flavor from the Niigata grown Koshihikari rice, which can appeal even to those who do not like dry beer.

It’s a pale golden color that comes out of the bottle, with a strong head that quickly fades. It has a slightly acidic tang to the regular lager flavor, but it is not too overpowering. The beer has a crisp and refreshing flavor, and exceptionally soothing and smooth quality. The sweet aroma of rice, and eloquent fragrance of hops, make it the perfect complement to any dish.


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