No, I don’t mean that kind of cheater, although if you are cheating in your relationship there is no reason why you can’t cheat making wontons also – you may even have less guilt about using bought wonton wrappers and not making them from scratch? I will say that I feel absolutely no guilt about buying the wonton dough – if I didn’t buy it already cut into perfect little thin squares, I would only make these wonderful morsels of heaven on rare occasions.
I also happen to find the perfect brand and now I happily make these any time there is a request! They still require a little bit of time (especially if you are making them solo) so I usually like to make them on the weekend when I can invite more hands to take part and we just eat them as they cook.
This leads to all sorts of great “kitchen time” and in my world there is nothing better than cooking, eating, talking, laughing and of course, drinking with family and friends even if we all are a little squished into my crappy kitchen. So, to make a long story longer, we made pork wontons for dinner this Saturday evening. I had my daughter’s nimble fingers wrapping alongside me and we turned out about 80 wontons in no time! We ate them up like savages in the kitchen. I was civilized enough however and give everyone their own little bowl of dipping sauce and plate and nothing much was said save some oohs and aahs. I served this with edamame beans (soy beans) in their pods. I steamed them and mixed with a little extra virgin olive oil and coarse kosher salt. My friend Lisa grows them in her garden in the summer but I bought these frozen in their pods and they tasted really good. You could of course serve the wontons with a crispy salad or some stir-fry vegetables and rice.
You will need: 1 lb ground pork, 6 scallions, 3 big cloves garlic, 1 tbs freshly grated ginger, 1 tbs soy sauce, 2 tbs mirin (this is a sweetened sake you can find in the Asian section of your supermarket) or rice wine, 2 tsp sesame oil, 1/2 to 1 tsp white sugar (fine crystals), 50 to 60 wonton wrappers (mine were 3″ sq), vegetable oil for frying.
Put pork in big bowl. Slice scallions very thinly, chop garlic finely, grate ginger and set aside.
In a little bowl add soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil and sugar and mix together. Put chopped vegetables into pork, along with the liquid and mix very well (I use my hands – most effective). You can do this ahead of time – up to 6 hours or so.. Now you are ready to put the filling into the wonton wrapper – I put as many as I can on a board (6 to 9) in nice even rows.
Get a little bowl of water and set it beside your board. Dip a finger into the water and wet the borders of each wonton. Take a little spoon and place a small amount of pork onto the center of the wrapper (about 1 full tsp) and fold one corner directly over the opposite corner (you will have a triangle).
Press down very lightly and then take the other corners and fold into the middle. It is like a little envelope. I know that round wonton wrappers are folded differently (you just put the meat in the center and close the edges together so it becomes a 1/2 round shape and then you sort of fold and pinch it together) but for the squares I find this method works very well.
It is all a question of experimentation until you find a method that gets those little dough skins together securely. I like to get all the wontons made before the frying gets underway. It just gets too hectic otherwise. I place all the wontons on big lightly floured plates until they are all ready to be cooked.
Now it is time to cook them: I generally fry them but here are both methods below.
Frying: Get a big pan and turn to medium/high heat. When the pan is hot add vegetable oil – enough to cover the bottom of your pan (2 tbs).
Let the oil get hot (it will sort of shimmer) and add wontons in a single layer. DO NOT crowd your pan or your impatience will lead to soggy wontons! Cook until golden and quickly turn over. The whole process will take about 4 to 5 minutes per batch. Put on plate and watch them disappear. If you have to keep them warm, put in oven at 180* uncovered.
Boiling: Put on a big pot (6-8 qt) and fill with cold water and about 2 tsp salt. Cover and let the water come to a rolling boil. Add wontons in batches (whatever fits comfortably only) and let them gently boil (turn heat down to about medium) until they float to the surface. This process takes about the same amount of time as the frying method.
Dipping sauce: I make a very simple sauce and here it is – 6 tbs soy sauce, 3 tbs mirin, 2 chopped scallions, 1 tsp sesame oil.
Combine all ingredients and put in a couple of different bowls (or all hands will be crowding around the only bowl!).
Alternatively you could just dip in soy sauce alone or mirin alone (salty or sweet)