Gyoza and the Art of Pleating

13 Jan

I love gyoza (potstickers), especially my mom’s. I’ve made them at home, but of course, they don’t taste the same. We were making them together tonight, and I mentioned how much better her gyoza looked.

An unfolded gyoza, and two finished gyoza. My mother's expert pleating job is on the right.

She assured me that she had a few years of practice on me, and then told me how she learned to make gyoza. My mom grew up in Tokyo, and one of her neighbors was married to a woman who had come back from Manchuria. There was a lot of neighborly socializing: they had kids about the same age as my mom’s cousins, and when my mom’s aunt needed U.S. dollars for her stay in France (this was shortly after World War II, when access to foreign currency was severely limited), the husband was able to get some through his connections. My mom was over at their house, and the wife taught her how to pleat gyoza wrappers for the first time. She didn’t make gyoza again for a long time — not until she got older and moved to the Midwest, and had to start making her own gyoza — but she remembered the technique.

Bon appetit!

So, SOK readers, here’s a call for comments: what family stories have you learned cooking with your parents (or even better, grandparents)?

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