Almost every culture around the world has some sort of dumpling in their culinary line-up. In Italy they’re called ravioli or tortellini, in Poland they’re pierogi, and in China they are wontons. Wontons can be prepared in a number of ways – steamed, fried, in soup, or as pot stickers, which are fried and then steamed. The fillings can also be comprised of various ingredients – meat, seafood, veggies, or a combination. My recipe is merely a suggestion of what you can do with these versatile delights – try some variations of your own, or explore the internet for other ideas!
You can make a whole meal out of wontons, or use them as an appetizer, or an after school snack for your kids. (Or yourself!) They freeze beautifully, so they are something you can always have on hand.
Homemade Wontons Recipe (substitutions at the bottom)
1 package Square Wonton wrappers (1 pack usually makes 48)
1 # Ground Pork
1 # Raw Shrimp (defrosted, peeled and deveined), minced
2 cloves Fresh Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Fresh Ginger, grated or finely chopped
3 each Scallions, chopped small – include the white and green parts
¼ C Fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
2 Tbsp Hoisin Sauce
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until very well combined. I usually put on a pair of gloves and use my hands, but you could also use the paddle attachment on a stand mixer.
- Open your package of wonton wrappers and lay out 12 (or whatever you’re comfortable with) on a clean, dry surface. Using your fingers and a little water, wet all 4 sides of each wrapper.
- Place about a half a tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper.
- Squeeze together two opposite corners of the wrapper, then fold in the other two corners, squeezing tightly, to make a square packet. (**Our video will be super helpful for the folding as it’s hard to describe in words – and there are a number of ways to fold them! We will be making these live on Facebook, on Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 4:30pm and the video will be posted afterward on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, as well as posted here.)
- Set aside on a sheet pan or cutting board, making sure wontons don’t touch each other.
- Dry off your work surface and repeat until all the wonton wrappers and the filling are used up. (If you have extra filling, freeze it for next time – or just sautés it and eat with rice!)
At this point, you can cook or freeze the wontons. If you are freezing them, keep them on a flat surface and place in the freezer overnight, or until they are frozen solid. Then place in an airtight container and keep in the freezer for up to a month – if they last that long!
Using a bamboo steamer, fill a wok with water to the level where the steamer will sit in it (about 2”.) Place the bottom rack of the steamer in the wok, and place a piece of parchment paper on the bamboo. (Make sure you don’t forget the parchment – otherwise they will stick!) Place up to 8 wontons on the parchment, not touching, and either fill another rack, or put the cover on. (I like to do a few wontons, and then steam some broccoli on the other rack.) Turn on medium high or high heat, and steam for 10-15 minutes. (If you are using frozen wontons, do not defrost. Put them in the steamer frozen, but cook a little longer.) Serve with soy sauce, hoisin or oyster sauce. They are also lovely with a side of rice, and some steamed vegetables.
Simple Wonton Soup
Make a broth using water and Better Than Bouillon Chicken base (or other flavor that you like). Add chopped peppers, grated carrots, dried mushrooms , onion, or other vegetables as desired. After bringing the broth to a boil, simmer until the vegetables are cooked through. Add fresh or frozen wontons. When they start floating, in a very few minutes, they are done and ready to serve. I recommend cooking only what you want to eat at one sitting, as they get very soggy and start falling apart if you try to reheat. (You can keep reheating the broth, and just add new wontons each time.)
Heat up about a quart of oil in a wok or other deepish pan. When the oil is super hot, drop in the wontons (fresh or frozen) one by one, very carefully, so as not to splatter yourself. When they are golden brown and floating, remove and drain on a cooling rack with paper towels underneath to soak up the oil. Serve with soy, hoisin, oyster sauce, or duck sauce.
*Round wonton wrappers are also available, but not usually as easy to find. If you’re using round ones, you still need to seal the edges with water, but you can make different shapes.
*Using some kind of ground meat adds a little fat (ie flavor!) and also some substance so I don’t recommend leaving this out, although you certainly can make these without the meat. You can substitute ground chicken, turkey or beef if you don’t like pork.
*Instead of shrimp, you can use cooked crab or lobster, or raw sea scallops. The shrimp I use are the 16-20 (16-20 per pound) shrimp from the freezer section. You could also substitute small Maine/Canadian shrimp.If you don’t like shellfish, or can’t eat it – cut it out entirely and add another pound of ground meat.
*In place of the Hoisin and soy sauce, you can use a little fish sauce or oyster sauce. I like the hoisin because it adds a little sweetness to the recipe.
*Do you hate cilantro? Try fresh parsley or a little fresh mint. Or just leave it out.
*Try adding some finely minced red or yellow bell pepper, or grated carrot. (This is a great way to get your kids to eat a little extra vegetable matter!)