Test Kitchen tips: Wontons 101
Bite-sized dumplings wrapped in paper-thin dough, wontons make a perfect snack, appetizer or entree, and the filling options are almost endless. And if you've never made them before, wontons can be surprisingly easy to assemble, once you get the hang of it. And, like a tamale party, they make a fun group project.
Continue reading below for a quick step-by-step on assembling your own wontons, and check out the recipes we've included below. Enjoy!
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Photos: Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times.
1. FILL: Place filling in the center of a wonton skin, then moisten the edges.
2. SEAL: Fold into a triangle, then press the edges to seal.
3. FOLD: Bring the point of the triangle to the long edge.
4. FINISH: Moisten the two ends, bring together and press to seal.
Total time: About 1 hour, 30 minutes, plus 4 hours chilling time
Servings: Makes about 36 wontons
Note: Adapted from "My Grandmother's Chinese Kitchen" by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo. Light soy, Chinese red rice vinegar and Chinese white rice wine are available at Asian markets. Serve with vinegar dip, if desired.
3/4 pound lean ground pork
1/4 pound shrimp (about 8 large shrimp), shelled,
deveined and finely diced
1 1/2 cups finely sliced scallions (about 3 bunches)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon grated ginger
4 fresh water chestnuts, peeled and finely diced or 1/4 cup finely diced jicama
1 tablespoon Chinese white rice wine or gin
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon plus 2
teaspoons salt, divided
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon light (not low-sodium) soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce
Pinch white pepper
1 package wonton skins
3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
1. In a large, wide bowl, mix together the pork, shrimp, scallions, garlic, ginger, water chestnuts or jicama, Chinese white rice wine or gin, egg whites, 1 teaspoon salt, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce and white pepper until thoroughly blended. Use your hands if necessary. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 4 hours, or cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. To make wontons, work with one wonton skin at a time, keeping the remainder under a damp towel. Keep a bowl of water at hand to wet the edges of the skins. Dust a baking sheet with the cornstarch and set aside. Place about 2 teaspoons of filling in the center of a wonton skin, wet the edges, fold in half into a triangle and seal the edges. Fold the point of the triangle to the long edge. Moisten the remaining two triangle points and bring them together to form a packet, pressing to seal. Place on the baking sheet. Repeat until all the filling is used.
3. Place 15 cups water, the peanut oil and the remaining salt in a large pot, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the won tons, stir and cook for about 8 minutes, until the won tons are translucent and the filling can be seen through the skin. Turn off heat, run cold water into pot and drain. Serve immediately.
Each wonton: 46 calories; 3 grams protein; 6 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 1 gram fat; 0 saturated fat; 9 mg. cholesterol; 299 mg. sodium.
Total time: 3 minutes
Servings: Makes 1/2 cup
Note: From "My Grandmother's Chinese Kitchen." Light soy sauce does not refer to low-sodium soy. Light soy, Chinese red rice vinegar and Chinese white rice wine are available at Asian markets, including 99 Ranch markets.
2 tablespoons Chinese red rice vinegar or red wine
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese white rice wine or gin
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon sugar
In a bowl, combine the vinegar, soy sauce, rice wine or gin, ginger and sugar and serve.
Each teaspoon: 5 calories; 0 protein; 0 carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 0 fat; 0 cholesterol; 168 mg. sodium.
Chives stir-fried with bean sprouts (Ching chau sub choi)
Total time: 10 minutes, plus 1 hour drying time
Servings: 4 to 6
Note: Adapted from "My Grandmother's Chinese Kitchen"
3/4 pound bean sprouts
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 1/2 cups chives, washed, dried, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. One hour before you'd like to stir-fry, bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the bean sprouts and stir for 10 seconds. Turn off the heat, run cold water into the pot and drain. Boil and drain the sprouts a second time, then lay the sprouts out on a board to dry, loosening them with chopsticks occasionally to help the drying.
2. Heat a wok over high heat for 1 minute. Add peanut oil and coat the wok, using a spatula. When a wisp of white smoke appears, add the ginger and stir. When the ginger turns light brown, add the chives and fry, stirring well, for about 30 seconds or until the chives turn bright green. Add the bean sprouts, stir well, and cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat, add the salt and toss well to season. Transfer to a heated dish and serve immediately.
Each of 6 servings: 61 calories; 2 grams protein; 4 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 5 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 198 mg. sodium.