I love gyoza. Little savoury parcels of just … goodness. Which if done right are both juicy and crispy (assuming you’re eating fried ones, that is). (And I generally am. I’m kind of the belief that there’s not much that can’t be improved by frying.)

There’s a Japanese place I often go to, and I’m always entirely predictable in what I have. Spicy chicken teriyaki don, and chicken gyoza. I kind of hate myself for not venturing off into the uncharted territories of the menu, but equally it’s a place I go to when I want to grab something quickly and not think too hard, so I don’t think it’s too much of a crime to stick to what I know.

Anyway, as is my wont, I thought I’d try to make some of my own. There was a first utterly disastrous attempt of which we shall not speak, in which I somehow managed to convince myself that rice paper wrappers for Vietnamese summer rolls would be adequate dumpling wrappers. Spoiler: they weren’t.

Incidentally, I enjoyed this ‘so near, yet so far’ packaging in the Chinese supermarket when I was on my errand to buy actual dumpling skins.

I’ve got the filling mastered, though. It’s a combination of pork mince, prawns (I use raw ones, chopped finely), coriander, sesame oil and rice wine, with a tiny pinch of sugar.  I just combine it all with my hands, then add a heaped teaspoon to each dumpling skin. 300g pork and 150g prawns, plus the other ingredients to taste (I’m a bit slapdash about these things) was plenty to fill around twenty dumpling skins.

I found the best way to seal them was just to run a moistened fingertip around half the inside edge and then fold it up to form a half-moon and pinch it tightly closed. Then, in theory, you can choose whether to boil or steam them. Or at least, that was what I heard claimed. But boiling was … not a great idea. Some split, they stuck together, and so on and so forth. The taste was good, but they weren’t the most presentable.

Steaming worked much, much better. I gave them around ten minutes. They held their shape, and still had a little bite. And then I finished them off in the frying pan, because as we’ve established, fried = better.

I had noble intentions about having a couple, then maybe taking them to work to share out, or keep and eat over a day or two. Instead I ate 18 in one sitting. For dipping, I used chilli paste, and soy sauce combined with lime juice. But I’m telling myself that that’s a good thing, because it meant they tasted good.


(Incidentally, that weird soft focus effect is, I think, steam on the lens. I wasn’t getting all Greta Garbo and putting Vaseline on an attempt to make them prettier.)


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