Dear Reader –
My apologies that my entry does not include a photo of the final, cooked, gyoza (dumpling) platter…
However, I managed shots leading up to the final product….
At the request of my older daughter, we had gyozas for their birthday dinner. Of course, they circled the kitchen table with me, and made gyozas, scooping up spoonfuls of the meat mixture, and carefully pressing them into the gyoza skins whose edges they had carefully wet with their fingertips dipped in water.
1 packet gyoza skins – I like the circle shaped skins from Nanka Seimen. I pick these up at the Japanese food store – either at Nara, in Port Washington, NY or Shin Nippon Do in Roslyn, NY.
1 lbs ground turkey – from Makinajian Poultry Farm
2 carrots, 2 scallions, 1/2 inch piece of peeled ginger, 3 cloves of garlic, 5 button mushrooms finely minced (through food processor)
Small dish of water – to dip your fingertips to seal the gyoza
I mix the turkey and minced vegetables together in a bowl, well, by hand. Once the mixture is well incorporated, I set aside. My suggestion is to have several flat plates onto which you can lay the finished dumplings. There are about 50 skins, so it is important to try to gauge the perfect amount of meat : skin ratio.
Take a gyoza skin (if they were in the freezer section, please let them defrost in the refrigerator for a day) in your left hand, and lay it flat. Add a heaping teaspoon of the meat mixture into the center of the skin. Take your index finger of your right hand, dip in the water dish, and trace the edge of the gyoza skin. Fold the gyoza skin in half, carefully and gently pushing the two edges of the skin at the very top, together. Make pleats along the edges of the gyoza on one side only – I make the pleats on the side facing AWAY from me. The water serves as sealant, but too little or too much will not seal the edges.
Once you have pleated and sealed (again, pleat only ONE side of the gyoza), place them on your platter keeping each one apart. Also, the bottoms should be completely dry – otherwise, you run the risk of the skin sticking to the platter when you go to cook them.
A photo of half of the batch – I have to cook them in batches to ensure they are able to eat freshly cooked gyozas.
In a frying pan over medium heat, I add 1 tbs canola oil, and carefully add the gyozas, gently pressing down to ensure a “base” is created on the bottom. I carefully cook them until the bottoms brown – I try not to move them much as I carefully lift the bottom edges with a spatula, lest I rip the bottom! Once they are golden brown on the bottom, I add boiling water, up to 1/3 of the height of the gyoza, and cover the frying pan with a lid. I happen to use a glass lid, which allows me to see the gyozas.
The key is to allow the water to steam to top portion of the gyozas – and to NOT lift up the lid until you hear the gyoza pieces starting to sputter as all the water is cooked away.
At this point, carefully lift up all the gyozas, and flip over, golden bellies on top, and serve immediately. (With very hungry children anxious at dinner, it was hard for me to stop to photograph…)
I serve the gyozas with a ponzu sauce – you can either purchase pre-made ponzu sauce (I use Mizkan brand) or you can also make your own dipping sauce with soy sauce, rice vinegar, and if you prefer, a bit of la-yu or spicy chili oil. I make my own with a tablespoon of Korean kochukaru (ground, dried, red chili powder) and equal amount sesame oil, stirred gently.
My daughters had great fun making the gyozas, and Mama had a fun time carefully re-constructing them to ensure I wasn’t left with too many gyoza skins at the end of the evening. I carefully peeled apart the skins that didn’t have enough meat in them, and the ones oozing meat from their seams, I carefully adjusted the amounts, and re-sealed them.
The gyoza dinner was accompanied by freshly steamed multi-grain rice topped with natto, seasoned with finely chopped scallions, mekabu or thinly sliced seaweed with a slightly slimy texture (similar to okra) and soy sauce and miso soup with julienned daikon slices, simmered until soft and translucent.
We waved at Jiji and Baba over skype as we showed them our festive meal. I believe they were quite impressed to know the girls helped make dinner.
My older one sighed, and said, “Mama, this was my favorite dinner!”