There’s something about small, bite-sized, purse-shaped food that’s really quite appealing. To both the purse-carrying and not-carrying parties. It may be the element of surprise, that when biting into the crispy and browned exterior and then getting a little taste of something extra flavorful. And best of all, there’s absolutely no limit to the variety. There’s sweet and steamed, ala char shu bao or the pork buns of Momofuku fame. There’s baked and glazed pork puns, garlic chive and shrimp dumplings, sweet and fried bean cured pastries, crispy and floury taro balls…. and maybe the best part is, one could, potentially, eat them by the handful.
After all, there’s a reason recipes produce 75.
Amongst all this dumpling glory however, the best have always and will always be the gyoza my Japanese grandmother turned out. By the hundreds. They’re really quite perfect, a fresh and flavorful potsticker in a thin, crispy skin. Dipped in some ponzu, and at ten years old I could eat twenty over the course of a day. Really, I could.
But of course, any recipe from Nana comes with the added excitement of, you know, not really having a recipe. “Just pour in some sesame oil,” she said when I called over the phone. How much cornstarch, I asked. “A couple tablespoons, until it looks right.” Yea, sure Nana. Whatever you say.