Forever Hungry: Fried Rice, Gyoza, and Mapo Tofu Tips from a Pro

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It should come as no surprise that there exists Japanese shows that revolve entirely around doing things the Correct Way. There is a sentiment in Japan that if you’re going to do something, you should do it right.

I whole-heartedly abide by this idea, and thus join other Type A losers in getting way too much enjoyment out of Kono Satte Nandesuka? (“What’s the Difference?”), a show that provides answers to questions that we never knew kept us up at night. A lot of times they explain minute differences in daily life stuff such as, oh I don’t know, toilet seat shapes:

But sometimes they venture into territory that speaks to the core of my being.

Of course, I’m talking about food. In an episode that was recently aired, they compared the cooking techniques of a home cook and pro chef, revealing the proper way to cook three Chinese-inspired dishes–two of which I happen to make on the regular–fried rice, gyoza, and mapo tofu.

Fried Rice

The home cook made the fried rice in a manner that would be considered pretty ubiquitous: crank the heat on high, throw ingredients in, drizzle egg over towards the end, and toss the ingredients to make sure they get a lot of air. The goal is to have well-seasoned rice that isn’t clumpy.

However, we soon learn that following those steps should result in your arrest and life spent in Culinary Prison, which I imagine would be confined in a cell with Guy’s Big Bite blasting on repeat.

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After this professional Chinese food chef gives you a major fuckin’ side eye, he explains that, duh, you (1) mix beaten eggs in with freshly cooked rice right out of the cooker. I mean, duh. This ensures that the rice doesn’t stick together when cooked. Then you (2) mix in the seasonings together with the egg-rice. BOIL THE MEAT ahead of time, which you will then chop up.

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(1) Dump that seasoned egg-rice mixture into a pan on medium–not high–heat. And for God’s sake, (2) don’t toss that shit. Let it cook properly and evenly. Professional cooks in a restaurant only toss the rice in their woks because the heat is too high to allow it to sit. But you’re not a professional cook in a restaurant, are you?

…Add the chopped up boiled meat for the last minute of cooking.

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Gyoza (Filling)

I make this dish almost once a week thanks to ridiculously inexpensive fresh gyoza I have access to. Probably made by some 80 year old woman earlier that morning, with trembling hands. This luxury enables me to not have to deal with making filling from scratch, but for those of you who don’t have such a privilege, let me pass along some tips on how to do it right.

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You might be familiar with this simple no-nonsense technique of throwing meat & cabbage into a bowl and mixing it all together. You might also be pressed to add some seasoning on top of your leafy meat bowl.

If you do the above then you might as well pack your things and get the fuck out of dodge, because this man will not condone those actions in his house.

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The face of complete and total disgust.

 

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First, you slap around the meat until it’s a nice pink color. Just smoosh it all around with your strong manly hand. THEN you add the seasoning B.C. (Before Cabbage). He explains–alongside these scientific diagrams–the reason why you should wait on adding the cabbage until the meat is already pulverized and seasoned.

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Adding straight up cabbage to the meat will make it leak all sorts of water, which will interfere with the seasoning binding to everything.

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If you add the seasoning straight to the meat, then you won’t have to worry about cabbage running its guts out and messing everything up.

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Still high from his victory over P.C. (Premature Cabbage), this man pulls out another secret ingredient that will up the juiciness of the meat: a tomato. Chop that sucker up and mix it in using the same strong mannish hand from before. Finally add the blasted cabbage.

Gyoza (Cooking)

I pride myself on cooking up a good batch of gyoza. Laying down some sesame oil, I pan fry the gyoza for about 30 seconds before I add in 120cc of water and steam until it’s mostly evaporated, then take the cover off to let the gyoza get nice and crispy on the bottom. Make Roy transfer them on to a plate and BOOM. Perfect gyoza.

Well, apparently I had better turn myself in to food jail because Constable Secret Tomato smirked and snarked his way through another segment that made me hold my head in my mannishly strong hands and question a God that would let me think I knew what I was doing.

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First, you put the gyoza down in a cold pan without any oil.

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Then pour some boiling water over the gyoza and cover to steam.

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After you steam them, remove the lid and drizzle with vegetable oil.

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So, to recap: my normal way of cooking gyoza, as represented by this fucked up reenactment. Pan fry and then steam.

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The Lord’s Way of making gyoza, as ordained by Christ Almighty himself. Steam with boiling water and then pan fry.

Mapo Tofu

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For those unfamiliar, mapo tofu (or mabodofu) is a Chinese-inspired dish with tofu, ground meat, and spicy seasonings. I normally make this dish from scratch using this recipe, and thanks to that I can proudly say that the technique revealed on this show is one I already employ.

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The trick is to boil the tofu before you add it to the ground meat. This will prevent the tofu blocks from crumbling in the dish.

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The housewife simply cuts up the tofu block and adds it to the skillet. It’s like she’s not even trying.

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Our superior method of boiling the tofu. It feels good to be on our high horse together, grasping the reigns with our mannish hands.


I hope this post has enlightened some to the art of cooking things the Right Way, according to a television show that armchair lawyers probably touch themselves to at night. Look forward to more coverage of other stupid things I watch in the future.

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