Recipe for Kids: Japanese Dumplings
Restaurateur Reika Alexander shares a kid-friendly recipe for gyoza.
Reika Alexander’s first love was music. But after completing her studies at the Tokyo College of Music and Middlesex University in England, she opted to switch to a career with that would provide a more stable paycheck.
After working with her brother in his EN restaurant in Japan, she headed to New York to see what was cooking, literally, in the world of Japanese food in the Big Apple. Identifying a need for a traditional izakayaserving authentic, home-cooked Japanese food, she opened EN Japanese Brasserie in 2004 in New York. Foodies love the famous, homemade tofu and the inventive tasting menus, washing it all down with an incredible selection of sochu, a distilled Japanese liquor.
But when the successful restaurateur gets to cook in her own kitchen with her four-year-old son, August, they love to make super easy, delicious gyoza (Japanese dumplings). Her recipe is a twist on the original. “I like to add the shiso (Japanese basil) because it makes the dumplings more Japanese than Chinese," she says. Reika may have left her musical roots behind, but these dumplings will still make your tastebuds sing.
5 cabbage leaves
15 shiso leaves
½ lb. minced pork
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp cooking sake
1 tbsp vegetable oil
½ tsp. salt
25 gyoza wrappers
½ c. chicken stock
For the sauce:
Rayu (chili sauce)
Finely chop cabbage and shiso leaves. Sprinkle salt, then mix and massage the cabbage and shiso to pull out some of the moisture. Mix in pork, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil and cooking sake.
Add ½ tbsp. filling to center of gyoza skin. Fold over center to make a half circle, then wet the edges where skins meet to stick them together. Fold edges of half circle again to create a fan-like shape and seal with water.
Heat a large pan to medium high-heat and add vegetable oil.
Place gyoza in the pan. When bottoms brown, pour in enough chicken stock to cover the bottoms of the gyoza. When all the liquid evaportes, add 1 tbsp. sesame oil and cook with high heat until dumplings are crisp. Serve warm with sauce.