Happy New Year!
What dish did you have on New Year’s Eve that might be special to you and your family? For us, it was a simple choice – an all time family favorite – Japanese Gyoza (餃子).
Japan, the land of the rising sun, was also the land of our rising family. Beautiful 妻 (wife) and I were married in Japan and we spent nearly a decade together there. Our children hold on to memories of Japanese festivals and customs. Perhaps our fondest memory of Japan is our dear friend Reiko. She shared with us the mysteries and magic of Japanese cuisine.
I would be at work. Beautiful wife would call. “Reiko’s here. She’s making gyoza.” Five minutes flat – I was home. Children gathered round. Grace was prayed. Chopsticks (お箸) would dart to the gyoza-filled plate. Five minutes flat – 40 gyoza gone. “Reiko, are there any more?” – – Yes, we loved this treat.
Skilled and wondrous wife watched Reiko prepare the gyoza. She made mental notes. She practiced. In time, the understudy mastered the art. Then, she passed the skill on to her daughters.
Now, every New Year’s Eve, and on special days in between, Japanese gyoza makes its way to the dining table at Serendipity Farmhouse and to tables in the homes of Daughters #1 and #2.
In case you might ask, yes, and even I your humble chronicler of SFH customs and lore, have learned:
How to make Japanese Gyoza
There will be a follow-on post that will give more background and detail concerning these cheery little dumplings called ‘gyoza’. There is a long history and a host of options associated with this delicacy. The recipe given here is just the beginning of a whole myriad of east Asian dumpling adventures.
Serving Size: 4+ servings
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 pack of gyoza (wonton) wrappers (40-50+ depending on brand)
- 3 green onions or chives
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Canola oil
Ingredients: Dipping Sauce
- Soy sauce (reduced sodium)
- Sesame oil
Directions: Although this recipe only requires one nimble chef, having a dedicated and hungry spouse nearby will speed preparation and cleanup. Frying gyoza requires close attention and a second pair of hands ensure that burning, splitting, splattering, and other unhappy outcomes can be avoided.
Step 1 – Slice green onions (chives): Slice as thinly as possible. Large bits from the white portion of green onions should be chopped fine. Set aside for mixing.
Step 2 – Chop garlic: Finely chop garlic clove. Set aside for mixing.
Step 3 – Prepare spices: Mix salt and pepper. Set aside for mixing.
Step 4 – Mix ingredients: Thoroughly mix onions, garlic, and spices. Set aside for filling.
Step 5 – Prepare filling area: In open working area, place a sheet of waxed paper or a medium sized baking pan. Add water to a small bowl to be used to seal filled wrappers. Place mixed ingredients nearby.
Step 6: – Fill wrappers: On waxed paper or baking pan, lay out as many gyoza wrappers as will fit. Place a small ball of gyoza filling on each wrapper. Clean ground beef fat from hands. Wet finger tip in water bowl and place water around edge of gyoza wrapper. Form the wrapper into a semi-circular shape and join edges, sealing them tightly. Ensure that there are no air bubbles in sealed wrapper. (See pictures for details.)
Step 7: – Fry gyoza: In skillet add just enough canola oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Bring pan to approximately 325°. Fill pan with filled gyoza shells and fry until slightly brown on first side. Use tongs to flip to second side and fry. (It is best to keep heat low and cover pan at this point because the oil tends to splatter and can cause burns.) When both sides are evenly browned, place on a plate with paper towels to absorb excess oil.
Step 8: – Prepare dipping sauce: There are many exotic types of dipping sauce, but make it easy on yourself while keeping it delicious. Fill small bowls to about one third with soy sauce. If desired, add several drops of sesame oil.