How can I talk about Chinese food without mentioning my mom? I can’t. Almost everything is centered around food in our household and I really can’t complain. My mother is an amazing cook and there are some tricks I will never inherit from her.
My mother is one of those natural talents who can potentially ruin dining out for you. At least she did for me. I’ll elaborate – people often ask me where to get the best dumplings and I usually struggle to give an honest answer. Don’t get me wrong, there are loads of places that make great food and dumplings, but my mom makes the best ones.
We both like adding vegetables and shrimp instead of just pork. It makes a sweeter and lighter dumpling. In this recipe, I’ve chosen the mighty wonton instead but the filling can certainly be used for a traditional dumpling.
These wontons are my take on my mother’s recipe and I think they’re pretty tasty, too. The filling is the star of the show so please treat these ingredients with love.
This might get a little messy but it’s all going to be worth it. I promise.
Pork and Shrimp Wontons
Half pound of ground pork
4-5 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and diced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 stalk scallion, chopped
1 kale leaf, finely chopped
3-4 shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
Handful of arame
½ tablespoon sugar
½ tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
Ground pepper and cayenne
Soak the arame in cold water for 5 minutes. Drain and chop into fine pieces.
In a large bowl, combine everything but the wonton paper. Make sure you mix thoroughly to ensure proper distribution when making the wontons. After that easy step for filling, you are ready to assemble. Tip: keep the wonton paper covered at all times because they dry out very easily.
Grab a large plate to hold your wontons and a small cup of water or beaten egg for sealing. Place about a teaspoon-size of filling in the center of the wonton paper. Dip your finger in water and wet the edges of the wonton paper. Fold over into a triangle and gently press along the edges to make sure it’s sealed properly.
If you’re feeling ambitious, and you should, take the bottom two points of the triangles and bring them together with a dab of water. You now have fancy wontons. Another shape I like is simply wrapping the wonton like a pouch so it’s round at the bottom and irregular on top. I appreciate differently shaped wontons like I appreciate an assortment of Christmas cookies.
When you’ve used up all the pork filling and ready to cook, there are two ways to cook these. First one is just cooking them in very hot water. In boiling water, add wontons and let it come to a boil. Add a cup of cold water and wait for the water to come to a boil again. Repeat this step twice more as this will allow the wonton to cook thoroughly. When serving, add a little bit of hot water back to the bowl so the wontons don’t stick together. Cooking them this way is also great to serve with soup and noodles.
The second method is simply frying them. Unlike traditional cooking methods, I don’t use any water to steam them but you can if you prefer. I like to just pan fry them over medium-low heat with a little oil. Once one side gets brown. I turn them over to the next until all sides are golden and crispy. This process takes about 15-20 minutes. It takes a little longer but makes the crispiest wontons and they are great to serve as appetizers.
If saving uncooked wontons for later, they must be kept frozen. Arrange them in a single layer and wrap with plastic. They may be stored in the freezer for up to two weeks.