Start heating some chicken broth on low.
Snap off a couple of knobs of ginger. Sniff the broken flesh. Peel and slice into coins. Toss them into the broth. Sniff your fingers. God, I love ginger.
Peel a head of garlic and break apart into cloves. Peel them and sliver them. Toss into pot. You may or may not want to sniff your fingers.
Turn the heat up to medium.
Go check your email while within scent range of the soup pot. When the fragrance of gingery chicken broth lures you back, return to kitchen.
Scrub and slice carrots. Ponder the appropriate thickness. Go for wafer-thin. Recite Monty Python lines to yourself. Somehow it seems appropriate that everything in the soup be delicate except the dumplings and Monty Python's sense of humor. Toss in carrot coins.
Get out the frozen gyoza and slip as many as you desire into the pot.
Remove half a dozen mini sweet peppers (red, yellow, and orange) from their resealable bag. Bless Costco, which makes fresh these available for so little money. They keep amazingly well, add color and flavor, and because they're close to seedless, they're cheaper per pound than big peppers. Slice into coins, removing any stray seeds. and toss them in.
Chop up three baby bok choy. Admire the curved moons of the stems. Cut the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Toss all into a colander and wash well. Shake off excess water while singing "Baby Got Bok (Choy)" in the style of Jonathan Coulton. (This is a good time to dance, too.) Toss the greens into the pot.
Taste the broth and marvel at its gingery goodness. Add Chinese chili paste and stir. If you're me, you've added a lot of chili paste. Shake in a little tamari.
Eat when the dumplings have bloomed into their full state of doneness. Serve in a big handled mug with a fork and spoon. Use the spoon to eat the veggies. Eat the dumplings by stabbing them with the fork and letting the scalding broth drain out, then nibbling the gyoza like a roasted marshmallow from a stick. Drink the broth, marvelling at its flavor and power to clear your sinuses.
If you don't have gyoza, you can use ramen for a completely different yet still tasty soup. Or rice. Also, you can add other veggies: cloud ears, for example. Baby corn. Broccoli sliced thin. Maybe a handful of corn kernels. Sugar snap peas.
Also, if you're sick, make the ginger-garlic-chicken broth and stir in some chili paste to clear your sinuses and fill you with warmth and pleasure. Drink by itself or with noodles.
Official Recipe: Ginger-Gyoza Soup
2 quarts chicken broth
2 knobs of fresh ginger, about 1x1 inch each, peeled and sliced thin (slivers if you're using a big bell pepper, coins for mini peppers)
1 head of garlic, peeled and cut into slivers
1 red bell pepper cut into matchsticks, or half a dozen mini sweet peppers sliced crossways into coins
2 carrots, scrubbed and sliced into matchsticks if you're using a big bell pepper, coins for mini peppers
3 baby bok choy or 1 regular-sized one, well-washed, stalks sliced thin and leaves chopped into squares
as many frozen gyoza as you want--I use 3 per person, usually
Chinese chili paste
Simmer the garlic and ginger in the chicken broth for 20 minutes. Add the gyoza, bell pepper, carrots, and bok choy and simmer for 10 minutes or until the qyoza are cooked through. Serve with tamari and chili paste so each person can season as desired.
Makes four servings.