It really helps me when I have a bad day or I am upset about something. Chopping vegetables is one of my meditation methods.
When I was a young child, helping my mother and grandma in the kitchen was mandatory. My mom started to let me use “old person’s kitchen knife” when I was 4. I always wanted to sound like them. They make this passionate, happy and fun sound of their knives hitting wooden cutting board with 100 miles per hour speed.
When I have a rough day at work, I tend to choose a dish requires a lot of chopping. Gyoza (dumpling) is one of them. I have a fond memory of helping my mom to prepare and wrap gyoza. You chop Chinese chives, garlic, ginger, napa cabbage and onion. You chop them all as finely as you possibly can. How fun does it sound? I feel like I am getting high, just thinking about it. I guess I am a creature who is easy to be pleased.
This is my amusement and is also delicious. You have umami from soy sauce, pork and veggies and sweetness from pork and other ingredients.
1. Mix REALLY well ground pork (or mix of ground pork and ground beef), chopped Chinese chives, garlic, ginger, napa cabbage, onion, soy sauce, salt (lots), pepper, potato starch (needs to be potato starch, not corn starch), sesame oil. Use your hand. It gets messy, but no utensils or tools, just your hand.
2. Wrap 1 with very thin gyoza wrappers (you can buy them at Asian grocery stores).
3. Place them in oiled and heated skillet.
3a. Cook over high heat for 1 minute or so
3b. Reduce heat to medium and add little bit of water (not too much) and put the lid over skillet. Leave it for 2-3 min
3d. Remove the lid and increase heat to medium high and add oil.
Only thing I would like to mention is that it is SUPER important not to move around gyozas in the skillet. Just leave them as they are until they are done. Oh, that smell while cooking! This Japanese soul food’s glorious aroma takes me right back to where I grew up. My mom teaching me how to wrap dumplings and my small hands trying to mimic what she does.
Now, pull out your well-sharpened knife and start chopping. You will know exactly what I am talking about as soon as you finish chopping first clove of garlic.