Sunday, March 30, 2014

(Belated, Again) Chinese New Year Meal #2: Big Wontons

Alex and I love dumplings and wontons enough that we use the word "dumple" as a verb.  It usually means that we are going out to eat dumplings, but every once in awhile we get ambitious and decide to make dumplings at home.  These big wontons were our last attempt at "dumple-ing".  I have been waiting for a little while to make these Big Wontons and the Little Wontons (both available on Serious Eats).  I was originally planning on making the little wontons, but I wasn't sure how thin our dumpling wrappers were so I didn't want to take the chance that they would be too thick.  But I'm pretty sure that they were plenty thin enough so we will go for the little wontons and make some wonton noodle soup next time.  Yum.  What I liked best about these wontons was the addition of the bok choy (or cabbage) and chives in the filling - I like nice meaty dumplings but sometimes it's nice to have a little more veg mixed in.  I took a quick look at my Andrea Nguyen Asian Dumplings cookbook and tried a few different folding methods.  The one that I had the most luck with this time was "nurses caps" (my "flower buds" were a little wonky).  Actually, both Alex and I commented on the fact that my dumplings were unusually well-formed this time.  None of them broke apart while cooking, nor was there any filling ooz-age out the sides.  I was pretty impressed with myself.  We made 50 dumplings and only ate 20 or so (and froze the rest).  I can't want to make some wonton noodle soup with some of the leftover Asian chicken stock we made for our Khao Tom Thai Rice Soup!  Even more yum.  I am also tempted to try pan-frying them, although the skins are thin enough that I am a little nervous to pan-fry.  But let's be honest, when has that ever stopped me in the past?  Wish me luck.

Recipe after the jump!

Big Wontons
Available at Serious Eats

1 pack wonton wrappers, about 50 wrappers
For the filling
1/3 pound of fatty ground pork
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 bunch chives, minced, about 2 cups
1/3 pound leafy greens, such as napa, bok choy, or spinach, minced (we used bok choy)
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/3 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon rice wine or vermouth
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 egg
Mix all the ingredients for the filling in a bowl. Using your hands or a wooden spoon, vigorously stir the mixture around in the bowl and let sit for 1 hour to allow the flavors to sink in and the meat to bind.

Fill each wonton wrapper with about a 1 teaspoon of the filling. Leftover filling may be frozen and put to use in more wontons, or stir-fried.

To boil wontons, bring a pot of water to boil and cook the wonton for 3 to 4 minutes, until the skins are just beginning to turn translucent. Serve in soup or with dipping sauce. To pan-fry wontons, boil the wontons for 2 minutes. Bring a heavy skillet to medium heat and add a tablespoon of oil. Pan-fry on one or two sides. Refrain from moving the wontons around in the pan, so as to give the surface of the wontons a chance to brown.

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