Recipe: Wontons for the Dummies
Whenever I am in a hurry or I really don't feel like cooking anything too subtle, I know I can always rely on my wontons stash. Easy to cook and delicious to eat, wontons are also easy to make! This is probably one of the best comforting food during Winter days with a recipe you can reinvent all the time!
Now the fact that wontons are Chinese means you will need to visit your asian store to get some supply. Do not fear, they will last really long and can be used in many other recipes (...that I will share!). I am positive you can even find most ingredients at your local supermarket. Check the list below to see what you might be missing. You won't need much equipment besides a bowl and your hands...Shall we start?
A few packs of wontons skins (they come frozen, round and square)
500 gr of ground pork
1- 2 Scallions
A pinch of ginger powder
5-6 dried Chinese Mushrooms
2 tablespoons of Shaoxing Cooking Wine
1 - 2 tablespoons of Sesame Oil
2-3 tablespoons of Soy Sauce
Pepper & Salt
Some water or stock
Optional: some prawns
Traditionally, wontons are dumplings filled with meat and sometimes veggies served in a chicken soup seasoned with sesame oil, pepper and a few scallions. But as explained previously, today we like to get creative. This recipe will thus provide you with a good base and from there you can adapt it to your taste.
The first thing to do is to take your wonton skins out of the freezer and let them defrost. In the meantime, rehydrate your Chinese mushrooms in warm water and rinse them from time to time.
Once step 1 is completed, take your food processor and throw in your scallions and mushroom and reduce them to tiny pieces. (If you decide to add prawns, shred them too)
In a mixing bowl add the ground pork, the mushroom/scallion mixture, and all liquid and powdery ingredients. Stir well until all ingredients are combined in an homogenous paste.
Prepare a little bowl with lukewarm water and your cornstarch, mix well until no clot remains then pour the liquid in your bowl. Stir well again. At this point, the result should look like this:
Note 1: Ground meat can absorb a lot of water and its texture will change depending on the amount you add. If you want a texture a bit lumpy then limit the amount of water you pour in the meat, if on the contrary, you would like a smooth texture then add more water to the mixture. Do not hesitate to mix with your hands to get an even better result and to feel the texture.
Note 2: If this is your first attempt at making dumplings, I suggest you quickly wrap one, cook it and taste it so you can still adapt the seasoning.
Once the filling of your dumplings of done, it is time to fold. There are many techniques, from the easiest to the most complicated. I don't know how handy you are but I learned only two ways to fold dumplings from my Chinese aunt and mother-in-law: with square and round wontons skins. Hereunder I will show you the easy method with square skins and maybe next time, the one you can see above :)
It starts with a teaspoon of filling placed on the skin, usually close to a border.
Then fold the skin over the filling so it takes the form of a cylinder.
Flip the cylinder horizontally then wet both extremities with a little bit of water and bind them together as shown on picture 3.
You should get the result from picture 4. Then repeat as many times as necessary :)
Now that you have made your wontons, it is time to put them in the freezer. My advice will be to first put them neatly in a box until they harden a bit then place them in a bag. This should prevent the wontons from sticking together. It's not really a problem if they do, it is simply easier to grab the right amount if they're not glued together.
To cook them, heat some water in a pan and once it is boiling, throw the wontons in for 5 minutes. They should be floating once they are cooked. You can enjoy them as they are or accompanied by some plum vinegar. I also like to mix some soy sauce and sesame sauce and to dip them in...
Finally, if you have a rest of soup or stock you can easily make a wonton soup! The possibilities are endless so enjoy...