Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Wontons for the new year

I love wontons as a child, and still do. They are very versatile - delicious fried, steamed or in a soup, on their own or served with noodles. They are much more expensive in the UK and I don't always find very good ones that are not laden with MSG or made with good quality prawns and meat. The solution, as always, is to make my own! They are a bit labour intensive but it's lovely sitting around the kitchen table making them with Andy or some friends, while chatting, listening to music or laughing at various 'failed attempts'. The wontons can also be frozen so it is worth making a large batch.

Wonton wrappers can be bought quite easily from Asian food stores usually from the frozen section or freshly made ones in the fridge section. The filling can consist of prawns only, pork only, or a combination of both. I like to use both pork and prawns for a good mix of textures and flavours.

Ingredients:
(Makes about 40)

A pack of frozen or fresh wonton wrappers (usually has between 30-40 in each pack)
200g minced pork
100g raw prawns, chopped (do not use cooked prawns as they will become tough and overcooked with the raw pork)
Two stalks of spring onions, finely chopped
2 tsp light soy sauce
A dash of white pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp cornflour

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until well blended. Take one wonton skin and place a small amount in the centre. Do not overfill otherwise the wrapper may split or become difficult to seal. Have a small bowl or saucer of water at hand. Moisten the edges with some water, fold the wrapper over in half to make a triangular parcel and press the edges to seal.

Pork and prawn wontons

Fill a pan or wok with enough oil to cover the wontons. Heat the oil until hot (stick the blunt end of a wooden skewer into the oil; if tiny bubbles appear and float to the top, the oil is ready) and fry the wontons until golden. If you use less oil that does not quite cover the wontons, turn them halfway through for even cooking and colour. Drain on kitchen paper towels and serve immediately with some sweet chilli sauce or black vinegar.

Fried wontons

There were clearly too many wontons for the two of us in one batch so I made the rest to be frozen for use later. Apart from little triangles, which are more amenable to shallow frying, you can also make wontons in the shape of little purses or parcels.

Pork and prawn wontonsPork and prawn wontons

The process is similar to triangles. Place a small amount of filling in the centre of the wonton wrapper, moisten the edges with water, gather the four corners and twist/pinch the edges together to seal. Wontons in this shape can be deep fried (if you're not fussed about using a lot of oil to cover them sufficiently) or cooked in a soup. Heat some chicken or vegetable stock and cook the wontons for about 5 minutes, until they float. Stir the stock lightly in the first minute to make sure the wontons don't stick together. Ladle the wontons and soup into bowls and sprinkle with chopped spring onions, a drizzle of sesame oil and a dash of white pepper before serving. You can also add noodles and vegetables into the boiling stock for a quick and delicious wonton noodle soup.

Tip for freezing wontons: place them on a metal tray (which speeds up the freezing process a little) or freezer safe plate, making sure there is space between each wonton, and place them in the freezer for a few hours. Once they are frozen, they can be put together into freezer bags and will not stick together as a clump. I love having a frozen stash of wontons ready for whenever the craving hits or as an additional dish if an extra person turns up for dinner. The frozen wontons can be dropped straight into hot stock or oil, just increase the cooking time for frozen wontons.

2007 marked the beginning of my foray into food blogging and I am looking forward to more fresh ideas, delicious recipes and good dining in 2008. May it be the same for you. Happy new year!

6 comments:

Little Corner of Mine said...

Lovely wontons!

Happy New Year to you too!

Kevin said...

Great looking wontons. I really like the idea of prawns in wontons.

Happy New Year!

Nilmandra said...

Thanks for the good wishes!

Kevin: I like the idea of prawns in anything!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Yum they look beautiful! I had a fun time making these with the kids at Cooking Camp this summer. We even put nutella or fruit in some of them for dessert ones! But the steamed shrimp/pork purses were my favorite to make and eat!

Welcome to The Foodie Blogroll and Happy new Year!

Pixie said...

Yum, fab looking wontons!

Nilmandra said...

Thanks, Jenn. I've never heard of or tasted wontons with sweet filling! Happy new year to you too, and thanks for adding me to the blogroll!

Pixie: And they taste yummy too! :)

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