In this week's Martin & Sylvia: Saturdays! story, “The Let Go Approach” Martin has a particularly magical gift for his sister. It is so magical that he wants to give it to her in a magical way.
This week's recipe is another magical gift in a magical package: Japanese dumplings, called gyoza.
Gyoza are typically filled with warm pork, cabbage, and spices, then wrapped up in a prettily folded won ton wrapper. While I fold my gyoza like I wrap presents — in a simple way — if you're inspired to make them fancier there are many tutorials online that will show you how.
However you decide to present them, gyoza make a warm lunch on a chilly day — a magical little package, indeed!
2 teaspoons salt, divided
½ pound ground pork
1 tablespoon minced ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 package store-bought wonton wrappers
First, shred the cabbage very finely. While you can do this by hand, a food processor will work better in this instance. Dump the shredded cabbage into a large bowl, and sprinkle one teaspoon of salt on top. Toss it together well with your clean hands, then let the cabbage sit for about 20 minutes.
Next, pour the cabbage into the center of a large, clean dishtowel. Gather up the edges of the towel and twist it around the cabbage to wring out as much liquid as possible. When the cabbage is as dry as you can get it, put it back into the bowl.
Mix in the pork, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, pepper, and remaining teaspoon of salt. Again, use your clean hands to knead it together.
Now it's time to get your wrapping station ready. Set out a cutting board, a small bowl of water, a dry towel, a bake sheet covered in parchment, and your packet of pre-made wonton wrappers. Put three or four of the wrappers onto to cutting board, being sure to cover the rest so that they don't dry out.
Dampen your finger in the bowl of water and run it around the edges of the wrappers. Put about ½ tablespoon of your prepared cabbage filling into each wrapper, and press the edges closed diagonally, removing as much air as possible as you do. (You should be looking at triangle shapes when you're finished.)
Place the completed won tons on your prepared bake sheet. Use the towel to dry the cutting board, then continue with the remaining wrappers until you run out of pork.
If you want to freeze your gyoza for later use, pop the whole bake sheet into the freezer for about 30 minutes to let them freeze flat, then transfer to an airtight container.
To cook them, prepare a large pot of boiling, salted water, and boil the gyoza in batches for 8-10 minutes per batch. Remove the wontons directly from the water to a hot nonstick or seasoned cast iron skillet. Let them crisp up for about 3 minutes per side, resisting the urge to fidget with them as that will make them fall apart.
Serve hot with a few dashes of soy sauce or hot sauce.
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred-year-old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two preschoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion — showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun — in her Sparkle Kitchen posts.