A Taste of Home: Making Wonton and Finding Your Family

Wonton - Ping Pong 06The moment I saw this episode of Ping Pong: The Animation, I just knew I had to share this amazing recipe with everyone who reads my little recipe blog… Not only is episode 6 my favorite of this little sports series that stole so many hearts in the spring 2014 anime season, but it also features one of my favorite meals: homemade wonton!

In anime, wonton isn’t frequently seen, so I was pretty excited when I saw it in Ping Pong. (If you’ve seen it anywhere else, please tell me! I’d love to know!) This is a dish that I always ask my mom to make for me when I visit my parents. Maybe it just reminds me of home and the warmth of family, but I absolutely love making and eating these succulent and meaty homemade wontons.

About the recipe:

Wonton - Ping Pong 04Mixing up the filling for wonton isn’t too hard, but folding each and every one of these little bundles of deliciousness takes time and practice to get just right. In this recipe, I’ll provide three ways to fold wonton – one is my family’s usual method, the other is the method shown in Ping Pong, and the third is a non-traditional, fool proof method that’s quick and easy.

Please note that there are lots of different ways to fold wonton, and everyone seems to have their opinion on the “right way”, so what’s shown here is just start. I only have a gif. for the first method, but I hope to eventually get one made for the other two eventually.

Also, please note that this recipe won’t really be about how to make the soup part of your wonton noodle soup. This recipe is just for the wonton! If you want to know how I make the broth, maybe I’ll go into it in a little more detail in another post.

About the ingredients:

Ground pork is the meat of choice in this recipe (along with a bit of chopped up shrimp!). If the ground pork from your local grocery store tends to be a bit fatty, you might want to just buy a lean piece of pork (such as tenderloin or pork chop) and grind it yourself using a food processor.

Dried shiitake mushrooms give a nice bit of chew and a whole lot of flavor to this recipe. Make sure you use dried ones rather than fresh ones since the dried mushrooms have a much more concentrated flavor. Soak in boiled water for 1 – 2 hours (or even over night) before chopping. Remove the stems if you can before soaking to help quicken the softening Folding wonton - Ping Pong 06process. The stems tend to be a bit tough, so omit them from this recipe.

Wonton skins are widely available in many Asian grocery stores. It’s basically an egg noodle rolled into a thin, flat square wrapper. They’re often found in the noodle section of the store, but can also be found in the frozen food section.

I really recommend finding an Asian brand (no, Nasoya does not count!), preferably something locally or small-batch made, if possible. I used a commercial American brand of wonton wrappers once (and, never again afterwards!) and it was really not very good when compared to the more traditionally made stuff. The wonton was harder to fold, the wrapper was a lot thicker, and it had a pretty bland taste. Of course, if that’s all you can get, then go for it! It’ll still taste yummy, and maybe I’m just being really picky… 😀

As for how many skins you’ll need for this recipe, it’s hard to really say since it all depends on how much of the filling you put into each wonton and how thick your skins are. But, usually I use 2 packages (if they’re stacked ~1 – 1.5 inches high, or around 7oz each) or 1 package (if it’s a big stack ~2.5 or 3 inches thick, or about 14 – 16 oz). Also, in my experience, this recipe usually makes somewhere around 50 – 60 wontons, so you’ll need at least that many skins.

Wonton skins are pretty strong and can put up with a lot of stress, but do be aware that that doesn’t mean you can just stuff tons of filling in there without it breaking apart when you cook it. Also, you’ll need a little bit of water to help the wonton skins adhere properly, so keep a small bowl on hand while you fold.

WontonUncooked

WontonCooked

The recipe:

Homemade Wonton

Makes about 4 servings, or about 50 – 60 wontons

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb lean ground pork
  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
  • 12 shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 green onions, minced
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp Chinese soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame seed oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 packages of wonton skins

Directions:

For the filling:

  1. Soak dried shiitake mushrooms in boiled water until soft, about 1 – 2 hours, or overnight. When soft, drain and squeeze to remove excess water. Remove any stems that remain. Chop coarsely.
  2. Mix remaining filling ingredients in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.

Wonton Filling

Folding the wonton:

Method 1:

  1. Place one wonton skin in the palm of your hand with a corner pointing towards you. Add approximately 2 tsp of the filling (maybe less, maybe more – depending on the size of your wonton skin) to the corner of the wrapper.
  2. Roll the wrapper around the filling until it reaches just beyond the halfway point, and 2 flaps form from the adjacent corners. Turn over and wet the 2 flaps. Place one flap on top of the other. Press together to adhere.

WontonSmaller02

Method 2:

  1. Arrange the wonton wrapper on a flat surface. Place 1 – 2 tsp of filling in the center of the wonton wrapper. Arrange the filling in a short line (rather than a circular blob) that goes from side to side.
  2. Wet the edges of the wrapper, and fold in half, either diagonally so that a triangle forms, or crosswise so that a rectangle forms. Press to adhere the edges to seal the filling into the center of the wonton.
  3. Wet the two long corners of the wrapper and drag the edges towards each other, creasing the wonton in half. Join the two corners/edges and place one over the other to form the rounded, boat-like shape seen in Ping Pong: The Animation. Press to adhere.

Method 3:

  1. Place 1 – 2 tsp of the filling into the center of a wonton wrapper. Wet the edges and fold in half either diagonally to form a triangle, or crosswise to form a rectangle. Press to adhere.

To cook:

  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Place a few wonton at a time into boiling water (the amount will depend on the size of your pot, but I usually do about 1/4 of the wonton at a time), stirring gently at first to make sure they do not stick to the bottom of the pot or to each other.
  2. Boil until the wonton floats to the surface and a chopstick inserted into the wonton meets some resistance, about 8 – 12 minutes (will depend on how many wonton you cook at a time).
  3. When cooked through, remove from water using a slotted spoon, and set aside until you are ready to eat. Continue cooking the rest of the wonton as directed. As the water level in the pot is reduced and the water becomes starchy, add more hot water.

Serve with thin egg noodles (or thin rice noodles), your choice of Asian vegetables (such as bok choy, blanched bean sprouts, enoki mushrooms, napa cabbage, or gai lan/Chinese broccoli), and homemade broth (seasoned with shallots and ginger).

Top with coarsely chopped cilantro, minced green onion, and sesame seed oil.

Apply soy sauce and hot sauce as desired.

Enjoy!

Source: My mother!

Uncooked wonton - Ping Pong 06

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