Leeds has a best kept secret; Fuji Hiro.
It’s a small, tucked away hiding place reminiscent of an 80’s style Japanese equivalent to a greasy spoon. The chairs and tables are crammed in and basic, and instead of ketchup, salt and plastic cloths on the table, it’s soy sauce, chilli flakes and wooden chopsticks, you know, the ones that are stuck together‚ that everyone instantly has to satisfy their urge to break apart.
I was introduced to Fuji Hiro by an ex-boyfriend and since then have been on a number of dates & dinners and it is undoubtedly always a talking point, and consistently good. It’s stark but intimate and even plays host to various hipster celebs‚ Corine Bailey-Ray was my last spot!
The menus haven’t changed over the last 7 years I have been visiting, apart from the odd tippexed out price, and neither has my order: yasai gyoza and a yaki soba. Having sampled many other dishes off the menu, via other people’s plates this is always a safe but really tasty choice. Their gyozas are incredible, better than any others I have tasted at Yo Sushi, Wagamama, Little Tokyo etc. They are steamed to be extra soft but somehow keep the crispy bottom and are so well sealed that they ooze liquid as soon as you bite into the corner, so when you dip into the soy and chilli dipping sauce, the skin fills up and creates a really intense flavour & texture combo.
Gyoza is a dish which I have always been a little bit afraid of trying to make myself, I find Asian snacks and starters in general quite hard work. They seem to require a multitude of ingredients, labour intensive shaping and formatting and careful frying – needless to say that finesse in the kitchen isn’t my strong point. However, these delicious little parcels couldn’t be easier to make.
TOP TIP: Gyoza skins can be purchased from any decent Asian or Chinese supermarket – try Wing Lee Hong in Leeds, it has a great selection of produce. The packs of skins can be big so split them up and freeze in batches of 10, they defrost within minutes when you’re ready to use. Don’t attempt to use spring roll wrappers as they are not as robust and wont steam as well.
For the filling
1 x tin canned water chestnuts, drained
50g white cabbage, roughly chopped
1 small carrot, roughly chopped
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
1 celery stick, roughly chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
pinch of white pepper
Add everything into a food processor and blitz until finely chopped.
Spoon around 2 tsp of the mixture into the centre of a flat gyoza skin (don‚Äôt over fill), then brush ¬Ω of the circular pastry with water. Fold over the other half and seal into a semi-circle shape.
In a wide flat pan place 4-5 parcels at a time in some vegetable oil and fry for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat for 1 minute and carefully, add a couple of tablespoons of water to the pan (mind you don‚Äôt set it on fire). Put the pan back on the heat and cover with a lid. Steam the gyoza for another 3-4 minutes. And serve with‚Ä¶
The dipping sauce
Mix 3 tbsp soy sauce, chopped fresh chilli (with seeds) and about 1tbsp rice wine vinegar.