Gyoza (Japanese Dumplings)
I have always liked dumplings—those little dough-wrapped morsels filled with stuffing consists of ground pork, seafood and vegetables—but my appreciation for dumplings deepens and intensifies only in the past few years due to my many trips to Beijing.
Beijing—the culinary capital of Chinese food—is the cradle of some of the best dumplings on earth. Dumplings are much celebrated, if not the building block of northern-style Chinese cooking. In Beijing and the neighboring city of Tianjin, I savored dumplings of varied shapes, forms, with fillings so diverse, complicated, and sometimes bizarre, but never once disappoint in flavor and originality. I eventually become a dumpling buff; I cook and eat everything from the ubiquitous Cantonese dumplings such as har gow and sui mai, Chinese pot stickers and jiaozi, to Japanese gyoza.
Gyoza, the Japanese equivalent of jiaozi, were introduced to Japan after World World II by Japanese soldiers returning form China, according to my friend Andrea Nguyen, who has just recently published her new cookbook “Asian Dumplings.” Gyoza is an essential part of Japanese cuisine: an everyday food consumed as much as sushi or ramen by Japanese people.
My gyoza recipe is adapted from the “Asian Dumplings” cookbook—a tastefully-done and insightful cookbook choked full of mouthwatering dumplings and gorgeous food photography. When it comes to the word “dumplings,” I have always related it to Chinese dumplings, but the cookbook defines it as “savory and sweet dishes that are made from dough balls or small parcels of food encased in pastry, dough, batter, or leaves.” The book even offers a cucur badak recipe, a Malaysian snack filled with shredded coconut and spices. If you love dumplings or wish to learn more about them, get yourself a copy of this cookbook. I salivate and get hungry every time I flip through the pages of this book.
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