Sunday, February 8, 2009

Japanese Pork Dumplings (Gyooza)

I have become known as the "Dumpling Lady" at school because the Asian Cultural Society, of which I am the faculty advisor, has successfully sold dumplings at school events for years. I've also auctioned off my cooking services for our Parents' Association and have taught people how to make Asian appetizers. Here's the recipe that I give them.

Japanese Dumplings (Gyooza)

1 1/2 cups Napa cabbage, chopped finely
3 Scallions, finely chopped
3 Dried black or shiitake mushrooms soaked in hot water til softened and minced
1 tsp. Ginger root grated
1/2 lb Ground pork (and shrimp—3 parts pork to 1 part shrimp is a good ratio)
[use beef instead for Korean style dumplings]
1 tbs. Rice wine (sake or Chinese cooking wine)
1 tbs. Soy Sauce
1 tbs Sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Gyoza wrappers
Bowl of water for sealing wrappers
Oil for pan-frying

Set water to boil for cabbage.

Put pork in bowl, with shrimp, mushrooms, scallion, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly until thickened.

Add finely chopped cabbage to boiling water and boil for about two minutes. Drain in a colander and immerse in ice water to cool the cabbage down. Squeeze the cabbage dry in a kitchen towel or salad spinner, and add to meat mixture.

If you want to cook all the filling in advance or use leftover meat that's already been cooked, that's perfectly all right. The texture will be a little different -- the filling that is not pre-cooked will hold together like a meatloaf whereas the cooked meat will be looser -- but it will still be delicious.

Place less than 1 tbs. of filling in the center of a circular wrapper (gyoza skin). Brush or use finger to dampen the perimeter of the wrapper with a little water (this will help seal the wrapper; you can also use egg white). Fold in half and seal, starting on the inside, close to the filling, and pressing air bubbles out as you seal. You can pleat edges so that it’s attractive, but that is optional.

Heat a ten inch skillet to medium/medium-high and put about 2 tbs. oil (or a light film of oil in the pan). Put gyooza in skillet (about 20 can fit in a ten inch pan), and fry til golden brown (about 1 minute). You can turn the gyoza if you like it crispy on multiple sides. Add approx. 1/4 cup of water, cover and cook until water has evaporated.

Uncover pan, add about 1 tbs. of oil down the side of the pan (so it will heat on its way down) and fry for another minute to recrisp bottom.

Serve with general dipping sauce.

NOTE: These dumplings can be deep fried, steamed, or simmered in a soup.

Fried Dumplings with Sweet and Sour Sauce

Dumplings in Quick Wonton Soup Broth