arts and crafts

an original little miss haiku:

porky succulence
carefully wrapped and pleated
made the princess proud

From the Princess:

I love dumplings. People all over the world have discovered that little balls of doughs fried, steamed, boiled or baked and often times stuffed with savory and/or sweet fillings are the best. idea. ever. Over the years, I have encountered dumplings of all shapes and sizes but I can say that I have never met a dumpling that I did not like. I will eat dumplings until I bust – especially if they’re filled with shrimp and shaped to look like goldfish.

My passion for dumplings began in the small island nation of Japan, a nation home to a populace whose gastronomical capacity for tiny edibles is unrivaled. The most popular Japanese dumpling, the gyoza, is most often served alongside a steaming bowl of ramen noodles. But why fill up valuable dumpling space with noodles? Why not enjoy the dumpling as the crown jewel, the headliner of the meal? Well, first, it’s kind of a pain to make – seeing as each one of those suckers must be made by hand and thus the “time to construct vs time to consume” ratio is not very good. Second…there is no second!! Teach your friends, have a dumpling making party! Revel in how beautiful and orderly they look as you make rows and rows of dumplings!

At our house, Princess Mom would make platefuls of gyoza on special occasions or if she hadn’t seen me in a long time and felt a maternal need to make me happy. Gyoza, dipping sauce, and rice. The rice was really just there because, well, every meal had rice.

To make Princess Mom’s Japanese Gyoza

Combine and mix well with hands:

1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 small head of green cabbage, finely chopped
1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
1 cup chopped garlic chives
5-6 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 tbsp sesame oil
1-2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp potato starch

Note: Rehydrate dried shiitake mushrooms in warm water, when they soften, squeeze excess water out of them and finely chop.

Spoon out a tbsp of the pork filling into the center of a round gyoza wrapper. Dip your finger in water and moisten the edges of the wrapper and carefully fold – pleating one side only. The water will help stick the dumpling wrapper together. They should look like above – Little Miss did a good job!

Heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in a large deep frying pan. When oil is hot, start placing gyoza into the pan and fill the bottom of the pan with them – cram as many as you can without crushing them (they can be touching each other). Fry until the bottoms are browned, then with a lid ready in one hand, throw about 1/3-1/2 cup of water into the pan (the gyoza should be sitting in about 1/4 in of water) and immediately cover (it will be very steamy – oil and water no mixey). Wait about 5-10 min until all of the water is absorbed and dumplings are steamed. Take lid off and cook for another 1-2 min until bottoms are crispy again – dump them out into a big platter and gorge.

Dipping sauce can be made by mixing 2 parts soy sauce with one part rice vinegar and a drop or two of chili oil to taste!

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