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“We are very proud of our gyozas! It is something we have developed over time, and we are extra proud to make them here in Lerøy Spain”, says the coordinator for Asian food development, Maria Gabriela Ortiz.
After Lerøy Processing Spain opened in 2013, it only took 2 years before they chose to pursue the Asian food market. The decision was based on a wish to meet a growing market, so that same year they started their sushi production.
“Asian food is really popular in Spain”, says key account manager of Asian ready meals, Noemi Andujar.
When the factory in Valencia opened in 2018, it marked the beginning of the production of another popular Asian dish, the traditional Japanese dumplings called gyozas.
In the factory they make both fresh and frozen gyozas. Noemi thinks it’s how easy they are to prepare and eat that makes them so popular. In fact, they can be cooked in the microwave, in the oven or in the pan. Maria thinks it’s the fact that the gyozas are a perfect mouthful, something the Spanish are very used to when eating tapas.
“I think the idea of eating something in a single bite is one of the things people like best about gyozas”, she says.
They also don’t need many accompaniments.
“Gyozas are supposed to be enjoyed with soy sauce”, says Fredrik Hald, chef and Head of Product Development at Lerøy.
The type of soy sauce Lerøy uses is carefully chosen: it has a balanced, full and noticeably sweet taste. The soy sauce comes from a Japanese producer who is exporting it out of Japan for the first time in their 270 year-long history.
The gyozas are made through a traditional industrial process where the employees are responsible for the real craftmanship. They make both the filling and the dough before it gets kneaded in a machine.
“We make the dough just before it is going to be kneaded”, says Maria.
When the dough has been properly kneaded it is placed on a conveyer belt where it is rolled out and cut up into small circles. Then it is filled with a dash of filling in the middle.
“Lerøy operates globally and always adapts to local tastes and desires”, says Fredrik.
In the factory they make salmon, shrimp, vegetarian, chicken and pork fillings, which all contain various vegetables and sauce. When the filling is placed on the gyozas they are closed and then steamed.
“In the last part of the process, a mechanism comes into play that browns part of the gyoza”, tells Maria.
This is a key characteristic of a traditional gyoza: it is fried on one side and steamed on the other.
After the product has been heated, it is immediately frozen. The quick cooling is important in order to maintain the original texture of the gyoza. Nevertheless, it is the combination of temperature and time that is most important.
“The stable process and the cooling tunnel system secure the best possible product when defrosting, no matter how you do it”, says Maria.
The process of making the gyozas takes about one and a half hours, depending on the filling.
“All parts of the process are carefully chosen to ensure the best possible taste and texture”, she adds.
Most of the gyozas they make in the factory are sold to the Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona, which has more than 1,600 stores in Spain and 36 in Portugal.