When I was 23, I spent a year in Japan teaching English. It was one of the best years of my life.
One of the biggest challenges for me was adapting to Japanese cuisine – or more accurately, adapting to the Japanese grocery store. I don’t read Japanese, which was part of the problem. And so much of what was on the grocery store shelves was unfamiliar to me.
With the help of friends, a little trial and error – and the delicious, comforting, life-sustaining gyoza (Japanese potsticker) – I survived in fine fashion. I ate many, many meals consisting only of gyoza dipped in sweet chili sauce. Balanced meal? No. Delicious comfort food? Absolutely.
After I got back, so I started making my own gyoza at home. They’re a little bit putzy, so I don’t make them often. But whenever I do, it totally takes me back to my little kitchen in Japan. Food really does have a way of evoking memories, bringing us back to a time and a place.
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Gyoza (Japanese Potstickers) Recipe
Yield: 24 gyoza
Freeze any extra potsticker filling for up to two months.
24 wonton wrappers
1 pound ground pork
1 small piece of ginger, peeled and minced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
2 scallions, chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (optional)
Oil, for frying
To prepare potsticker filling, mix ground pork, ginger, garlic, salt, scallions, soy sauce (and optional sesame oil) in a bowl. Set aside.
Place about one teaspoon of potsticker filling in the middle of a wonton wrapper. Rub the outer edge of the wonton wrapper with a bit of water. Fold the wrapper over and press down on the edges to seal.
To cook potstickers, heat about two tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan. Cook over medium-high heat until one side of the potsticker browns. Turn and repeat to brown the other side. Next, pour about 1/3 cup of water into the pan and immediately place a lid over the pan. Reduce heat to medium and cook for approximately 8 minutes. Check the center of the potstickers to test for doneness. If the potstickers are not fully cooked, add a bit more water and steam for a few more minutes.
Serve potstickers with sweet chili sauce, a soy sauce/rice vinegar/sesame oil blend, or your favorite dipping sauce.