I cook a lot of different types of dumplings: Chinese money bags, Jamaican fried dumpling, piroshki, plain suet dumplings - they're all very popular here in the Junior household. But there's one dumpling that stands head and shoulders above the rest - gyoza or Japanese dumplings. Served as a starter, with a dipping sauce of rice vinegar, soy sauce and chili oil, they're the bee's knees. I'm cooking them tomorrow night.
Here's my recipe (makes about 16 dumplings)
For the stuffing:
6 oz springs onions
10 oz pak choi
8 cloves of garlic
2 oz Szechuan preserved vegetables
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine
2 tsps of sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch of Chinese five-spice powder
Finely chop the ingredients and stir fry in 1 tbsp of oil over a medium-high heat for 5 minutes until dry, allow to cool.
For the wrappers:
5 oz plain flour
4 fl oz hot water
Mix the flour and water to make a dough and kneed it until it's smooth. Cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for 15 minutes then kneed it again for about five minutes. Divided the dough into 16 pieces, form into rounds and roll out on a floured board. Put a spoon full of stuffing in each one, fold over into a semi-circle and pinch the edges together so each dumpling is tightly closed.
Heat 1 tbsp of oil over a high heat in a thick pan, add a batch of dumplings, reduce heat to low and cook for 2-3 minutes until the underside is browned. Add 4 fl oz of very hot water, cover and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Serve with a dipping sauce made from rice vinegar, soy sauce and chili oil.
(They're best eaten fresh but they freeze well and you can cook them from frozen - it just takes about 5 minutes longer.)