There are three little words that my husband has said to me throughout our marriage: “Is something burning?” I admit that I am an absent-minded cook, with pots boiling, oven baking and mixer whirring all at the same time, and in the fray, there have been more than a few casualties. But I am evolving. There is more zen, less panic.
And yet, there are some delicious dishes that were born of serendipity, happy accidents by distracted cooks. This week’s recipe is Japanese Yaki Gyoza or potstickers. Originally from China, potstickers came about when a busy cook left the filled dumplings over the flame too long and the bottoms stuck to the pot, hence their name potstickers. Yaki gyoza is slightly different from Chinese potstickers. Their skins, or wrappers, are a little thinner and not so doughy. The filling has more meat and less cabbage.
The Japanese cook gyoza three ways: boiled (sui gyoza), deep-fried (age gyoza) and pan-fried then steamed (yaki gyoza). But a true potsticker sticks to the bottom of a pan and only yaki gyoza does this.
I can leave the yaki gyoza on the flame and go about doing something else in the kitchen without fear of burning them. They’re supposed to develop a nice golden crust on the bottom! Then, a little water is added, the pot is covered and the tops of the yaki gyoza steam until soft and tender.
Making your own takes a little time, but you can make it a group effort and it becomes a fun task. Here are this week’s articles:
Japanese Yaki Gyoza Recipe (plus dipping sauce)
The correct way to cook these dumplings, also known as potstickers, is to pan-fry until the bottoms develop a slight crust and then steam them until the tops are tender. Their name comes from how they stick to the pot.
Gyoza Skins or Wrappers Recipe
Gyoza skins are similar to a rolled pasta like ravioli or won ton wrappers, only they are cut into circles instead of squares.
Your Japanese food word of the week: Nanika moeteru? (nah-nee-kah moh-eh-teh-roo?) “Is something burning?”
~ Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha
~Luck is like a rice dumpling flying into your mouth. ~ A Japanese proverb
And, if you have some time, please stop by our Japanese Food forum!
I’d love to hear from you.
BellaOnline.com Japanese Food site editor