Picture it, Tokyo, 2002, I am cycling through the suburban streets making mental record of every late-night restaurant I pass. Two containers of Jiffy Pop rattle around my bicycle basket and wonder when my next real meal will be.
Dan, the vegan, had invited me over for dinner. Back then I was a lot less progressive when it came to alternative eating and I was convinced I would need a late-night burger to recover from whatever he fed me.
There are few times when it feels good to be wrong, but when Dan’s girlfriend, Yoko, opened the door welcoming me to their gyoza making party, I took in the scent of pork, bowed low, and said Arigato.
So that was the last time I made gyoza from scratch. This time things didn’t go so smoothly. During the final cooking stages I tossed and agitated those little dumplings to within an inch of their lives. Some of them lost their filling and the others stuck together in a protective sticky mass.
Learn from my mistakes. Fry your gyoza in a row with one broad side touching and don’t move them until the cooking process is over. At the end turn them out of the pan like a cake.
Refrigerating for a day or two and freezing are also fine, but the moisture of the filling will make your gyoza sticky so don’t dump them into a Tupperware container like I did. Line them up a save yourself the grief.
2/3 cup chopped cabbage (soaked in boiling water and drain when tender)
4 Tbsp chopped green onion
1 pound ground pork
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp sugar
2 tsps soy sauce
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
40 gyoza wrappers
2 tbsp vegetable oil
rice wine vinegar
Blend all ingredients in a bowl except the vegetable oil.
Place one teaspoon of filling in a gyoza wrapper.
Fold in half crimping the top.
After filling all wrappers, add vegetable oil to a pan.
Once oil is hot, place gyoza in the pan frying the bottoms until brown.
Add two tablespoons of water and cover pan.
Steam gyoza until filling is 170 degrees 4-5 minutes.
Turn them out of the pan onto a plate.
Use rice wine vinegar, chili oil and soy sauce to create a dipping sauce. The proportions are up to you.
*Substitute the pork with chopped firm tofu for the vegetarian/vegan version.