The ExPat Returneth

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New Year's Dumplings (Also Good for the Superbowl!)

Today's "Quick and Dirty" recipe comes from my friend who hosted the Japanese New Year party I wrote about in the last blog entry. Her recipe is neither quick nor (in a Japanese kitchen) dirty, but so delicious I had to share. My friend warned me it took her an hour to make these by hand (and corrected my blog entry, she made 90!). For convenience sake, you can buy frozen gyoza in Asian food stores and other stores that carry Asian food, like Trader Joe's.

I'm also including my Quick and Dirty Gyoza recipe which begins with buying a bag of frozen, pre-made gyoza. 

You are welcome.

Like many foods in Japan, gyoza was imported from China and modified for the Japanese palette. We call them potstickers in the U.S. Similar to a ravioli, they are thin dough stuffed with filling, usually pork and vegetables, pressed to close and cooked. Chinese pan-fried jiaozi (guotie) tend to have thicker skins than Japanese gyoza and the fillings are slightly different, particularly the use of garlic in Japan. This particular form of dumpling is panfried and then steamed to finish, hence the translated name potsticker. 

In Japan, gyoza is a common bar food, ubiquitous appetizer, readily found in Chinese restaurants, and so popular certain restaurants are devoted to that one food. One of our favorite places to eat was called Gyoza No Osho, "Gyoza King", a kind of Chinese cuisine diner. We ate at another gyoza restaurant that featured about thirty different fillings including cheeseburger and pumpkin. It's difficult to find gyoza of this quality in the U.S., so we are forced to make it at home. Just Hungry also has a good gyoza recipe.

True Quick and Dirty Gyoza: 
Buy it frozen (directions are on the bag):

My husband likes to make it them a cast iron skillet for a crispier finish but any skillet will do.
Heat skillet on a medium high to high flame with about 1 T of oil. 
Cook frozen gyoza until browned on the bottom. 
Add 2 TB of water, cover, and turn the flame down to low for about 7-8 minutes.  

Eat immediately.

If dipping sauce is not included in the bag, mix 2 parts soy sauce to 1 part vinegar, add hot chili oil as you like.


Not Quick but Truly Delicious And Worth the Trouble Homemade Gyoza: 
Gyoza skins can be readily found in Asian grocery stores and large supermarkets. Caveat: wonton wrappers (often used for eggrolls and other kinds of dumplings) are thicker than gyoza skins. This recipe is for gyoza skins. The round packs come frozen or refrigerated. For 1 lb. of ground pork, you will probably need about 2 packs.

1 lb. ground pork
1/2 bunch of chinese chive or garlic chives (these chives have a distinctive garlic flavor rather than onion. If you can't find them, you can use green onion instead)
1 lb. white cabbage  (napa cabbage)
2 TB soy sauce

2 TB Shioxing (or 1 TB of mirin and 1 TB of cooking sake) 

2 TB shiro-dashi (prepared base stock)

2-3 cloves of garlic, pressed or ground

1 TB fresh ginger, ground
1/3 TB  sugar

1 TB sesame oil 

1.Mince the chives and cabbage. Sprinkle with salt, toss, and set aside.
2. Using a large bowl, sprinkle salt and pepper on ground pork and mix well until sticky.
3.Squeeze out the chive and cabbage mixture tightly to remove as much water as possible and add to the pork.
4. Add a few dashes of salt and pepper, soy sauce, Shaoxing (or sake and mirin mixture), garlic, ginger, sugar, and shiro-dashi. Mix well. 

Finally, add the sesame oil and mix again.
 5.  Quoted from my friend's recipe, 
***I recommend to eat it the next day! You should keep it in fridge for 1night.***
6. Wrap about a teaspoon of the filling in a gyoza skin, folding diagonally and sealing edges by crimping or wetting with a dab of water. Traditional gyoza are crescent shape, but l
ike ravioli, you could experiment with the shape. The key is to make sure the skin is sealed.

7. Cook as you like. (See Quick and Dirty recipe above, but steaming will be much quicker, 5 minutes or less). You can pan fry or use in a soup.

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