My Wonton Childhood (and a Recipe)

>> Monday, June 2, 2014

 
I didn’t much prefer to linger around the kitchen when I was a child, like other children I enjoyed watching tv or exploring the neighborhood with friends. Since my parents were exceptional cooks, they were always experimenting on recipes, testing different methods and of course, they wanted to pass all this knowledge on to the next generation, aka through me. There were lots of instances when my parents would tell me about how certain ingredients would enhance one another and how others would detract from the whole. At that time I never knew how important all their information would be, but I definitely do now and am trying my best to make up for lost time.

One of the first things I remember thoroughly enjoying in the kitchen which started getting me interested was when I started helping my parents make wontons. Not actually mixing the ingredients for the filling, but instead assembling each of the wontons themselves. I found it to be a personal challenge, making each wonton relatively the same

 
size and shape. How many wontons can I make? How much filling would I need to prevent them from bursting out the sides or so they’re not lumpy? These were all questions I tried to answer in my 8 year old brain. I think my parents secretly knew that was part of my personality and that’s how they got me hooked.

Now after all these years, every time I make wontons I still think of those moments and am glad that I eventually developed the love of food that almost resembles my parents. They’re still the star in my eyes and will always be, but at least I’m a couple steps closer than my childhood self.

So I share my wonton recipe with you today in hopes that it too helps you form memories of your own. Please let me know what you think and enjoy!

Ingredients:

1/2 lb ground pork
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp sugar
5 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp pepper
1/2 can crab meat, drained
3 large dried fungus, reconstituted and thinly sliced
1 package square wonton wrappers (you can use the circular ones but I prefer square)
Constarch
12 shrimp, cut in to small chunks (optional)


Preparation:

In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine ground pork, salt, sugar, sesame oil and pepper. Blend until all ingredients are fully incorporated. I like to do this by hand as not to over mix the pork which can make it tough.

Add in the crab meat and fungus and mix until evenly distributed and set aside.

Take the wonton wrappers out of the package, place on plate and cover with a damp cloth to prevent them from drying out while forming the wontons.

Using a different plate, sprinkle some cornstarch on top to prevent the wontons from sticking to the plate and each other.

Peel off one of the wonton wrappers, hold it in the palm of your hand and using a small spoon, scoop out roughly 1 tsp of pork and place it in the middle of the wrapper (add in a small chunk of shrimp if using).

Turn the wrapper until it looks like a diamond, match the bottom corner to the top and fold the wrapper in half. Scrunch the right and left sides in until it meets the middle. Pinch it together and place on large plate. Repeat with the next wonton wrapper.

Cooking Method:

When the wontons are ready, heat up a pot of water until boiling, add in the number of wontons desired. Cook until the float to the top (roughly 5 mins).

Remove them and place them in a bowl.

You can either serve them as is, deep fry them, pan fry them or in a chicken broth.

For the broth method, open up a can of chicken broth (or boil some of your own with chicken bones, which would roughly take 4-5 hours). Add 2 cups of water to the chicken broth, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Add the broth to the cooked wontons and top with green onions, cilantro and any other accompaniments you’d like including baby bok choy or Chinese greens.

Enjoy!

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