Homemade wontons are so much more delectable than your average restaurant version. Serve this with a noodle soup for a complete meal.
(Click here for the recipe.)
* * * * *
We are a dumpling loving family. Well, Li’L Ginger still has a ways to go in her dumpling loving journey but she’ll get there. It’s in her Chinese genes.
There are 4 main ingredients for these homemade wontons: (1) Shrimp; (2) Chicken or Pork; (3) Chinese mushrooms; (4) Scallions aka green onions.
PLUS you’ll need wonton wrappers unless you know how to make them yourself (I have no idea how).
The rest of the ingredients hopefully are in your pantry: egg, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and pepper.
Throw everything into a food processor, fill up your wonton skin, boil wontons, eat and enjoy.
For the recipe, click here.
* * * * *
This is my first recipe post for 2016 and I cannot believe that I haven’t posted a single recipe since February 2013 (well, not counting the pickles post from last June) when I wrote about making Shrimp Mac ‘n Cheese.
Nearly three years ago!
In case you forgot why or wondered why I haven’t been cooking much (yes, it had to do with having two kids), read my posts on “When a Food Blogger Can’t Food Blog” and “Once Upon” for a quick catch-up.
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know that my mom is an amazing cook. She really spoiled my sisters and me growing up. Her shrimp and pork wontons are so amazing that I have never come upon a store-bought or restaurant dish that comes close to her wontons.
I have been trying to get the recipe off her for the longest time but as mom doesn’t do anything by scales nor cups nor teaspoons, it’s hard to get the exact recipe although I think this comes close. I think part of her secret is that she does everything by hand – no food processor or mixer.
So this is the LONG version because I have a lot to say about nearly every ingredient:
About the Meat: You can use pork or chicken. My mom always makes her wontons with pork and shrimp. I most definitely prefer pork but sometimes I’m not near a pork-selling store when the wonton craving kicks (because not all supermarkets in Dubai are licensed to sell pork).
For this recipe, I used chicken. And I almost always use dark meat which keeps the wonton filling from tasting dry and has more flavor than breast meat. In a pinch, I have used breast meat and didn’t enjoy it very much. That is my opinion but you can use breast meat if that is your preference or for health reasons.
A time saver would be to buy already ground up chicken meat but with chicken, I never know if it’s white or dark meat so I buy boneless, skinless thighs and ground them in my mini-chopper:
About the Shrimp: to save time, you can buy peeled, de-headed, and de-veined shrimp. I like to buy them head-on and I de-vein myself at home.
I like tasting the actual shrimp and biting into them for texture so I cut the shrimp into small pieces with my kitchen shears instead of running them through a food processor or chopping them too finely.
You can also slice the shrimp with a knife but I find that the kitchen shears are easier for me:
TIP: When I see nice fresh shrimp (not defrosted) at a good price, I buy a large quantity and when I get home, I immediately rinse them, de-vein them, then separate them into small bags of about 1 pound each for freezing. This way, when I need some shrimp for a recipe, it’s always at hand and ready to use (just run under cold tap water to defrost). I do keep the shells and the heads on the shrimp before freezing because I don’t know what I neve know what I will do with them yet.
If I don’t need the shrimp heads, like for this wonton recipe, I save them in a large ziplock bag and freeze them for future stock making. The shells I just discard as all the stock goodness is concentrated in the heads.
About Chinese Mushrooms: the dried ones that I have are quite large and thick so I only used 4 and had to soak them for 2 hours before they were soft enough to handle. I just pour boiling water onto the dried mushrooms and let them reconstitute. I then throw them into my mini-chopper until they were the size of diced.
About Scallions: I regret throwing these into the mini-chopper as they came out shredded and inconsistent sized. I prefer chopping them by hand which doesn’t take too long.
About the Seasonings: many restaurants use MSG or stock cubes in their dumpling filling to make it tastier. I don’t think either it is necessary and prefer not to use any MSG. I do sneak in one teaspoon of sugar but that’s totally optional.
About Using Sesame Oil: I’m not a big fan of sesame oil but I did find that a tiny bit added to the filling mades a huge difference in taste.
About the Size of the Filling: We like big dumplings with lots of filling. So when I’m eating out and get a skimpy dumpling, I feel cheated.
About the Wrappers: Wonton wrappers can be found in most supermarkets. In Dubai, I often buy mine from LuLu’s (Barsha) in the refridgerated section by the tofu. I prefer this brand from the U.S. over a locally made product:
About How to Fold the Wonton: Put some water into a small bowl and use the water to wet the edges of the wonton wrapper with your fingers. Put a teaspoon (or more as long as you don’t burst the wrapper) of the meat and shrimp mixture into the middle of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper over diagonally, pressing down on the edges to seal. Then pinch the two far corners together towards the middle.
About Accompaniments: Most of the time, we eat the dumplings just by themselves or with dipping sauce. Because honestly, I’m not often well prepared enough to make the full monty of wontons AND noodles AND soup from chicken/pork stock. For this recipe, I did make a quick soup by boiling a few pieces of bone-in chicken in water for the stock and then reconstituted thin egg noodles that I had in my pantry.
About Using a Food Processor: I tried using a food processor but I found it difficult to get consistent sized shrimp and before I knew it, I end up with shrimp paste and my perfect filling is ruined!
Of course it could just be my food processor. I have one of those all-in-ones (food processor, blender, juicer, spice grinder, etc) that does everything, but not everything well.
(So I’m in the market for a new and reliable food processor, maybe a Cuisinart or Kitchen Aid brand – any recommendations?)
* * * * *
Well, I’m obvious particular about a lot of things. If you are not, then just throw everything into the food processor, fill up your wonton skin, boil wontons and eat. Simple.
Chicken And Shrimp Wontons
- 4 dried Chinese mushrooms
- 8 ounces (225 grams) large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
- 8 ounces (225 grams) ground chicken or ground pork
- 1 bunch of green onions , diced
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil , optional
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar , optional
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 egg
- Wonton wrappers , about 20
Reconstitute the Chinese mushrooms with hot water for 2 hours. Then drain and squeeze out any excess water. Cut off and discard the stems. Finely dice the mushrooms.
Sprinkle a little bit of ground up sea salt onto the shrimp and let stand for 5-10 minutes. Cut the shrimp into small pieces (about 3/4 inch or 1 cm in size).
Finely dice the green onions.
Mix everything together until well combined.
Taste test the filling by microwaving (40 seconds) or boiling (3 minutes) a small piece (about a tablespoon). Adjust salt and pepper as necessary.
Refrigerate filling for at least 30 minutes for flavors to meld.
When ready to make the wontons, bring a pot of water to boil.
Put some water into a small bowl and use the water to wet the edges of the wonton wrapper with your fingers. Put a teaspoon of the meat and shrimp mixture into the middle of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper over diagonally, pressing down on the edges to seal. Then pinch the two far corners together towards the middle.
Boil the wontons for 4-5 minutes. Serve with dipping sauce or as an accompaniment to soup with noodles.
Makes about 20 dumplings.