Thursday, June 28, 2007

Wontons or Wantans - my kind of dumplings

One of my friends, YJ, recently moved to the same neighborhood and I had the privilege to learn some wonton-wrapping skills from her. She is one professional in wonton - so quick and precise in wrapping them. YJ insisted (and constantly reminded) I should not buy frozen wontons anymore (am I lucky?) since it's much much cheaper to make it at home, plus it's so easy (a breeze for her, but me?). Every time I go to her place and see her make wontons, I get a complimentary wonton lunch. Thanks, YJ. :)

A wonton is made with a thin square-ish pastry wrapper made of wheat flour, water, salt, and typically filled with savory minced meat. Though wonton (馄饨 pronounced húntun, in Mandarin) literally means "irregularly shaped dumpling", we made ours as regular-shaped "envelopes". Waiter, there is something in my DUMPLING, and this is it!

Wontons Dumplings
Starting from the fillings:
1. Vegetables
You can use Bok Choy, Bok Choy Sum or Chinese spinach- quickly blanch in boiling water, then drain away all excess water (make sure they are as dry as possible) and chop them very finely

Bok Choy or Bok Choy Sum can be a choice of vegetables to use. This is not fine enough -need to be chopped more finely. Chinese spinach can be another alternative. They need to be as finely chopped as this.

2. Chicken, Pork, or Prawns
Mince them finely with cleaver or food processor (Note: Do not mince the prawns in the food processor as it will introduce a lot of moisture). Add the finely chopped vegetables to the meat/prawns.

3. Seasonings
Add some sesame oil, dashes of pepper. If pork or chicken is used, you can use some (dashes of) Chinese cooking wine as part of seasonings. Mix all the ingredients (1)-(3) thoroughly.

4. Use thin wonton wraps and make "envelope" like these. Aren't they cute and dainty?

Does this remind you of traditional Chinese gold ingots (金元宝, pronounced jin yuan bao) ?

If I could only get as close to these when I see the real Chinese gold ingots, I will be rich!

5. If not to be used immediately, place them in aluminum foil and place in freezer to store(up to 2 weeks). When ready to eat, boil a pot of water or chicken broth, when water or broth come to a boil, add in wontons and wait for them to re-boil. Add in some more water/broth, and once wontons boil the second time, they are fully cooked(wrinkled) and ready to be eaten, in soup/broth.

The boiled dumplings or wontons look like "swallowing clouds", thus also the name 云吞 (pronounced, yun tun). They were scooped out just for you to see. Now, they should return to the broth and into my stomach. :P~~~

Side note: Chinese dumpling (饺子, pronounced jiao zi) should not be confused with wontons since the former has a thicker skin and usually eaten with a soy-vinegar dipping sauce. Wontons are usually served in broth.

Previous entries:
Waiter, there's something in my...bread
Waiter, there's something in my...easter basket

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