Tag Archives: Asian food


I love going out for sushi.  One of the little-known best parts of going for sushi, in my opinion, is the not-sushi.  It’s the gyoza.  Also known as potstickers, or dumplings.  Mmmm, little pockets of heaven.  Pork, veggies, and a bit of Asian mystery all bundled up in a tiny little package just for me.  Dip them in ponzu sauce for a salty, tangy finish and oh man, happy happy me!

These are very easy to make.  Don’t be intimidated by what looks like hours of work.  While there is a little more prep work than just throwing something in a pan, these babies come together pretty quickly and it’s sooooo worth the extra effort!  They are easy enough to make that you can get the kids (or even the dinner guests!) to help with the assembly.  And the really nice thing is this recipe yields a ton of them.  This batch will easily make 60+ dumplings.  I made about 40 and then used the rest of the filling for Asian style meatballs for another day.  Don’t want to eat that many at once?  No problem.  They freeze beautifully for an easy meal or snack later on.

While most of the time in restaurants gyoza is offered as an appetizer, I really enjoy it as a main dish.  A pile of stir-fried veggies and rice alongside and you’re in business!

Gyoza.  Who says it's just an appetizer?  These were main dish quality.

Gyoza. Who says it’s just an appetizer? These were main dish quality.


1 pound ground pork
1 shredded carrot
1 inch ginger, minced
8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. soy sauce
3-4 green onions, chopped
1-2 packages round gyoza wrappers (find in the refrigerated section in most produce departments at the grocery store)

Mix all ingredients (except wrappers) in a large bowl.  In the center of each wrapper place a teaspoon of the pork mixture.  I usually work in batches, laying out 9 or 10 skins (put out a little bowl filled with water for dipping fingers), filling, and then crimping all of them.  This is also a fun task for little (or big) helpers.

Making gyoza.  Be sure not to overfill, this is about the maximum amount you want to put in there if you want to be able to seal them up.

Making gyoza. Be sure not to overfill, this is about the maximum amount you want to put in there if you want to be able to seal them up.

Moisten the edge all around with a bit of water and bring the two edges up to meet in the center.  Pressing outward to remove the air, seal the edges, crimping with fingertips.  Place on wax paper on a baking sheet or board.

Gyoza, all crimped up and ready to cook (or to freeze).

Gyoza, all crimped up and ready to cook (or to freeze).

Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Drizzle a bit of canola or peanut oil in the pan and let it heat (I use about a tablespoon of oil for each batch).  Swirl oil around to coat the bottom of the pan.  In small batches, add the gyoza (I can do about 10-12 at a time in my skillet).  Let them sizzle and cook until brown on the bottom.  Add 1/3 cup of water to the pan and cover.  Let cook about 3-4 minutes, until water is evaporated.  Remove dumplings and repeat as needed with additional batches.  Serve hot with ponzu dipping sauce (see below for recipe).

Leave space between the dumplings so they cook evenly and don't stick together as they steam.

Leave space between the dumplings so they cook evenly and don’t stick together as they steam.

This batch made 40+ gyoza (1 package of skins), which for the three of us equals two meals.  So I cooked half, froze half, and still had some filling left which I rolled into meatballs for another meal.  Or if you have more wrappers, just make more gyoza and freeze what you don’t want to eat that day.

To freeze gyoza, leave on the cookie sheet, stick the whole thing in the freezer.  Let them freeze about an hour, and then you can pile them in ziplock freezer bags.

Frozen gyoza.  Freeze first on a cookie sheet, then pile into bags for easy storage.

Frozen gyoza. Freeze first on a cookie sheet, then pile into bags for easy storage.

To cook, simply take out what you need and follow the directions above.  No need to thaw first, simply put the frozen gyoza in the hot oil and cook as usual!

Ponzu Dipping Sauce

1 tbsp. chopped green onions
3 tbsp. fresh lemon or lime juice
2 tbsp. mirin
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic chile sauce
1/4 tsp. fish sauce

Combine all ingredients.

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Red Curry Shrimp Dumplings with Cucumber Peanut Slaw

I could eat dumplings for every meal.  Just about every cuisine in the world includes some sort of dumpling, which means endless variety!  These were a little outside the norm.  The red curry filling adds a tiny bit of Thai, while the steamed exterior is more Japanese.  Wherever they hail from, they are absolutely genius.  These are cooked just like potstickers, seared for a crispy bottom and then steamed to finish.  We loved these and managed to devour the entire batch between the three of us.

To go with an unusual dumpling, why not make an unusual slaw?  This cucumber/napa slaw is light and fresh, with a zingy, barely-there dressing.  Perfectly cool in contrast to the spicy salty dumplings.  And good left over the next day too.

Red Curry Shrimp Dumplings

Red Curry Shrimp Dumplings

Red Curry Shrimp Dumplings
(adapted from theperfectpantry.com)

3/4 pound shrimp (21-25 or 26-30), defrosted if frozen, peeled and deveined
2 scallions, roughly chopped
2 tsp grated ginger root (I use a microplane)
4 tsp Thai red curry paste
1 tsp fish sauce
1 pkg. wonton wrappers
Canola oil for cooking
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp chile garlic sauce (optional if you want a little more kick)

In a food processor add the shrimp, scallions, ginger, curry paste and fish sauce. Pulse several times until the ingredients come together and form a finely-chopped paste.

Set out a small bowl of water.

Working with just a few wonton wrappers at a time, place 1 teaspoon of the shrimp mixture in the center of each.

Do not overfill or it will not seal well.

Do not overfill or it will not seal well.

Wet your finger and run it around the edge of the wonton wrapper. Then, pull all corners to the center, and pinch to seal the dumpling. Repeat with remaining wontons and filling.

Little yummy presents ready to cook!

Little yummy presents ready to cook!

In a large nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Place the dumplings flat side down in the pan, and cook for 1 minute until the bottoms are brown.

Pour in 1/2 cup water. Immediately cover the pan. Cook until the water is almost evaporated, approximately 3 minutes. Then, uncover, and cook until the remaining water evaporates.

Meanwhile, stir together the soy sauce, sesame oil, lime and chile sauce in a small bowl to make the dipping sauce.

Serve the dumplings hot, with dipping sauce.  The original recipe says it makes 24, but we ended up with 30-40.  Just depends on how generous you are with the filling I suppose.

Cucumber Peanut Slaw

Cucumber Peanut Slaw

Cucumber Peanut Slaw
(from healthyseasonalrecipes.com)

1 small head Napa Cabbage, finely sliced
3-4 small cucumbers (1 ½ pounds), julienne cut
1/2 cup chopped roasted, salted peanuts
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup peanut oil or canola oil
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Dried red pepper flakes to taste (optional)

Combine cabbage, cucumber, peanuts and cilantro.  In a small bowl whisk together oil, lime juice, sugar, salt, garlic powder and red pepper flakes.  Pour over slaw and toss to combine.

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Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin-Peanut Sauce

Can you center a whole dinner around sauce?  Oh, yeah.  Especially if it’s this incredible peanut sauce.  In fact, the lettuce wraps are really more of a garnish in my opinion (although they were very yummy).  I could eat this sauce with a spoon.

If you had told me a few years ago that I’d be liking tofu I would have called you crazy.  I was never a huge fan.  After a couple very bad recipe failures early in my cooking experiments, I went many years without touching the stuff.  But my recent foray into vegetarian cooking has led me to venture into tofu territory again and oddly enough, I find myself developing a genuine like for it.

I’m definitely getting my money’s worth out of my Cooking Light subscription lately.  I think this is the third or fourth dish I’ve made out of the most recent issue.  I’m loving the fresh, seasonal dinners and this one was no exception.

This is the first recipe I’ve made with the tofu crumbled, and I found the consistency appealing, very similar to scrambled eggs in texture, but taking on the flavor of all the yummy ingredients mixed with it.  These were delicious and a huge hit with the kids too!

Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin-Peanut Sauce. As you can see, I’m a serial over-filler when it comes to lettuce wraps and tacos. Have extra napkins ready.

Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin-Peanut Sauce
(from Cooking Light)

Sauce ingredients:
1 tsp canola oil
1 tbsp minced shallot
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
4 tsp hoisin sauce
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tbsp fresh lime juice

Filling ingredients:
1 (14 oz.) package extra-firm tofu, drained and crumbled
1 tbsp dark sesame oil
5 thinly sliced green onions (about 2/3 cup, divided)
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, divided
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp Sriracha (hot chile sauce)
1 cup matchstick-cut cucumbers
1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
2 cups cooked rice
8 (or more if they are small) Bibb lettuce leaves

To prepare tofu for filling, spread crumbled tofu in a single layer on several layers of paper towels.  Cover with additional paper towels.  Let stand 20 minutes, pressing down occasionally.

Meanwhile, to prepare sauce, heat a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add canola oil to pan, swirl to coat.  Add shallot and cook for 2 minutes.  Add water, peanut butter, hoisin sauce and crushed red pepper and stir with a whisk.  Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute.  Remove from heat and stir in lime juice.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add sesame oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add 1/3 cup green onions, saute one minute.  Add tofu, saute for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add 2 tbsp.cilantro, soy sauce, ginger, sugar and Sriracha.  Saute one minute.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cucumbers, carrots and remaining green onions.

Spoon 1/4 cup rice into each lettuce leaf.  Top with about 1/2 cup tofu mixture.  Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with sauce.

Serves 4.


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Some foods are just tailor made for eating with friends.  That’s how I feel about potstickers.  One recipe makes a ton of them, and they are just a fun conversation piece.  So for this dinner, I invited a couple of friends on which I love to test my food experiments.  I don’t know if they would tell me if they didn’t like something, but as my friend Becky told me, “maybe not, but I wouldn’t eat so much of it if it wasn’t good.”

Just about every type of cuisine in the world has some sort of dumpling.  I guess people were just born knowing if you put yummy filling in some sort of dough and cook it, it will be delicious.  My favorite dumpling food is the Chinese potsticker.  They are called potstickers because when you cook them, they stick to the pot at the end, resulting in the perfect texture of crispy and chewy and tender.

I’ve made these with many different fillings, pork, shrimp and vegetable.  The last time I made a veggie version, the veggies shrunk up quite a bit as they cooked, resulting in some pretty wimpy filling.  So this time, I made some changes. A simple adjustment, cooking the filling first, then making the potstickers, solved that problem.  This was by far my best batch of vegetarian potstickers.  And the ponzu dipping sauce was fabulous. I served these with some simple sides of rice and sauteed snowpeas & peppers.

One note on big batches.  If you don’t have a crowd to feed, go ahead and make the whole batch of potstickers.  Lay them out on a cookie sheet (uncooked) and freeze.  Once they are frozen, dump them all in a freezer bag and stow in your freezer.  Take out as many as you want to eat as needed.  Don’t thaw them.  They go straight from the freezer to the frying pan for a meal in minutes.

Vegetable Potstickers

Vegetable Potstickers

1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms
1/2 pound crimini (baby bella) mushrooms
1 large carrot, shredding
1-2 cups Napa cabbage, chopped
1 tsp. minced ginger
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. olive oil
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 tsp. sesame oil
1-2 tsp. soy sauce
Salt & pepper to taste
2 pkg. Gyoza wrappers (they are the small round ones, usually found in the produce section)

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper.  Cook and stir for 1 minute.  Add mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes, until they’ve shrunk down a bit.  Add carrot and cabbage.  Cook and stir for 2-3 minutes more.  Remove from heat.  Lay out gyoza wrappers on wax paper.  Put about 1 tsp. of filling in the center of the wrapper.

Making potstickers.

Moisten edge with water and fold over, pressing outward to remove all air from around the filling and making sure the edge is sealed all the way around.

Heat a drizzle of oil in a large skillet over med high heat.  In small batches add potstickers.  Sear on one side until brown, then flip them over.

Cooking potstickers

Add 1/4 cup water and cover pan.  When the sizzling dies down and water evaporates in a couple of minutes they are done.  Remove from pan and drain on paper towels if needed.  Dip in ponzu sauce (below) and enjoy!  This recipe makes about 60 potstickers.

Ponzu Dipping Sauce

1 tbsp. chopped green onions
3 tbsp. fresh lemon or lime juice
2 tbsp. mirin
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic chile sauce
1/4 tsp. fish sauce

Combine all ingredients.

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