Sunday, May 23, 2010

Gyoza Party

A lovely young lady knocked on my door tonight while I was making gyoza. She was actually looking for a party in another building, but I told her she would be welcome to come back and have gyoza if the other place turned out to be less exciting. She did not return, of course, but the brief encounter reminded me that gyoza is a great party food, because the making is as much fun as the eating.
I point out briefly here that this is also a way to buy a bulk amount of hamburger and make a combination of things that can be prepared and frozen for later enjoyment. I got two pounds of ground beef and used half for gyoza and half to make mini meatloafs, of which I will describe later.
Gyoza is originally Chinese, but I learned it in Japan. You will probably learn much more than I can tell you by checking out the official gyoza Web site at Nevertheless, we are now international enough to be able to make it almost anywhere, using prepared wonton/gyoza wraps. Almost anything can go into the middle. I loved a place in Tokyo's Jiyugaoka, in Setagaya-ward, famous for stuffing gyoza with all kinds of good stuff, from garlic to cheese, and preparing it as soup, steamed and fried, or deep-fried. Yum.
For a nice party food, it's easy to make about 60 gyozas (which are basically like ravioli, and I am fairly certain Marco Polo and friends must have brought the idea back from China, added tomato sauce and turned it Italian. I added a cup of finely chopped garlic, a cup of finely chopped mushrooms, a stick of finely chopped celery (you can use Chinese or Napa cabbasge or bok choy, of course), a couple of thumbs of finely chopped ginger, six or eight finely chopped scallions, for a typical mix. Add a tablespoon of corn starch, two tablespoons of sesame oil, two tablespoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon of five-star hoisin sauce, and a splash of sake. Moosh it all together by hand so all the ingredients are well blended.
Separate the wonton skins and spoon a blob of the mixture onto the center. wet half of the outer edge of the skin with water, fold together, then pinch tightly.
To cook, add a tablespoon of sesame oil and enough water to cover the bottom of a small fry pan. Add about 10 or 12 of the gyoza with a little space between each, cover and bring to a boil. Uncover, reduce the heat a bit, and allow the gyoza to brown on one side. Turn, brown again and they are ready to eat or put in a container to freeze for later enjoyment.
Serve with a combination of layu (chili oil), white vinegar and soy sauce.
Of course this goes great with beer or sake or Chinese plum wine. It is also a good appetizer to go with stir-fried anything, some egg-drop soup and a fortune cookie!