My first memory of wonton was my grandma’s homemade wonton in chicken soup. She would start the preparation of the soup early afternoon. While the pot is on simmering, she worked on the wonton. I can’t remember how she made the filling, but I clearly recall her making the wonton wrappers using only a long rolling pin. She could magically roll a round dough into a big flat and almost transparent layer. After hours of working in the kitchen, she served each of us a big bowl of hot chicken soup with homemade wontons, companied by shiitake mushrooms and some boiled vegetable leaves.
I came across another kind of wonton in my trip to Chengdu, Sichuan province in 2004, the wonton in spicy red oil (红油抄手 Hóng Yóu Chāo Shǒu). The wonton was in the same form, but served in red chilly oil. Different from the classic mild soupy version, the Sichuan style was definitely a mind-opening lesson on eating wonton back then. During that trip I not only discovered a new way of eating wonton, but also put my tolerance to spicy food to an ultimate test!
Later during my life in Hong Kong, wonton noodle (云吞面 Yún Tūn Miàn) was one of my frequents. At the beginning it was a must-try local dish, then an overtime late night snack, at the end a comfort food. The Canton style wonton has certain distinguishing features from what I used to have. The filling was with shrimps rather than meat. While the skin was made by mixing wheat flour with, rather than water, but eggs (traditionally it had to be the duck eggs. While nowadays more and more shops go for chicken eggs). So it had a yellowish color outside, with a hint of smell of alkaline.
I started to make my own wonton after moved to Italy. One reason being that despite the limited choice of Asian restaurants in Florence, it is quite handy to get all the ingredients for wonton preparation.
For the filling I usually choose the minced turkey meat, which is available in the supermarket. As for the skin, it is easy to find in local Asian grocery store. It comes in a pack with 45 wrappers inside under the Frozen Food section. I always store few packs in my freezer. So any time I decide to make wonton, I just take one pack out few hours in advance to defrost.
Another critical reason that made wonton a regular dish in the family is its similarity to the Italian tortelli. Rather than dressing with cheese, we’d love to drizzle some spicy sauce. It is very appetizing and especially favored by my husband.
– Minced chicken meat 300g
– Chopped scallion x 1
– Grated ginger 1 tsp
– Sichuan pepper powder x 1tsp
– Five spice powder x 1 tsp
– Soy sauce 5-6 tbsp
– Oyster sauce 1 tbsp
– Water 2-3 tbsp
– Sunflower oil 1.5 tbsp
– Salt (optional)
– Wonton wrappers 1 pack (around 45 pieces)
- Put all dry ingredients, soy sauce and oyster sauce together in a bowl and mix them evenly. Add a pinch of salt if t is not salty enough.
- Add in the water and stir the mixture in one direction until it absorbs all liquid and becomes sticky.
- Add in the sunflower oil and mix it.
Note: water is to give extra moisture to the meat, making it more juicy. While the oil added afterwards is to lock the water inside the meat.
- Take one wrapper at a time and fold the wonton according to the below tutorial.
HOW TO PRESERVE WONTON
The best way to preserve the wonton that you won’t immediately consume is to quick-freeze them.
– Lay the wonton on a plate (or on a piece of parchment paper). Leave some space between each.
– Put the plate into the freezer overnight (or at least 6 hours).
– Collect the frozen wonton and put them into a food preservation bag.
Wonton is a very effortless and much less time consuming dish to prepare, comparing to the Chinese ravioli 饺子 (Jiǎo Zi). If you are looking for Asian dumpling dish to cook at home but don’t have enough time to prepare the wrappers by yourself, wonton is a perfect option. Hope you will have fun in preparing this Chinese dish, and have a good time eating them!