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Although there aren’t many recipes for holiday bento treats from Japan (unless you count fried chicken and cake!), you can adapt western style ideas to Japanese cooking methods, like with these festive gyozas. They’re filled with caramelised onion, turkey and sage and onion stuffing, and are just right for getting in the festive spirit.
To make this bento, you’ll also need to make star shaped onigiri, topped with star shaped ham and cheese, pigs in blankets (chipolata sausages wrapped in streaky bacon and baked in the oven) and stuffing balls, and get rocket leaves (erm… to look like holly…) tomatoes, and cranberry sauce for a dip. A dipping container and food picks (penguin and star shapes were used here for the Christmas bento theme) are useful too. You can also fill a foil-lined side dish container, as here, with glazed biscuits, minced pies, and your favourite fruit and nut mix.
Recipe for festive gyozas
Small box sage and onion stuffing
2 medium onions
1 tsp sugar
150g raw turkey breast
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp soy sauce
26 gyoza skins
Mix up your sage and onion stuffing – you need to keep 70g of it for the gyozas and the rest can be made into stuffing balls.
Finely chop your onions, then cook on a very low heat with the butter and sugar until they go a golden brown. This could take an hour or more, but you don’t have to stand over it and stir it the whole time, thankfully!
Shred the turkey breast with a knife so you end up with meat that’s finely cut but has a bit more texture than mince (and is leaner).
Once you’ve done that, mix the caramelised onion, the raw turkey breast, 70g of stuffing and the salt and soy sauce together.
Fill your gyozas by placing a small amount in the middle of a dumpling skin, wetting the edges and folding it in half, pleating the edges. It’s easier to do this with a gyoza press.
Once you’ve done that, heat some oil in a pan and add six gyozas. Pour water into the pan until it reaches a third of the way up the sides of the gyozas, then cover and cook until the water has evaporated. Once that’s done, remove the lid and fry until the bases are crispy.
You can freeze these gyozas and cook them from raw.
This recipe originally appeared in 501 Bento Box Lunches, published by Graffito Books.