I never knew it could be so fun to stuff and fold Chinese wontons until Christina, Suzy and I had our wonton making date.
Suzy came a few hours early to make a batch of homemade chicken stock, which she planned on serving with the wontons. She arrived ready to go, a huge stock pot in one hand and an overstuffed grocery bag in the other. She marched right into my kitchen, unloading not just her stuff but some guilt as well, apologizing for taking over my kitchen every week. She even threatened to stop our regular Tuesday gig. I quickly interrupted her purge, reminding her that we’d be cooking every week regardless of her kitchen renovation like we’ve done for years. Plus, I reminded her, these cooking dates benefit me as much as her. What better way in my busy life to get dinner on the table than to spend a blast of a time with a friend?
So, she settled comfortably in and started her chicken soup, throwing veggies, herbs and chicken into her pot to boil and simmer. Her original intention was to leave and let the soup slow cook while I worked. But as she settled in, a magazine in hand, she decided to hang out and wait while I worked. It was fantastic for me since she soon dropped her magazine and began helping me make pizza and soup for our pre-wonton making lunch. Plus, I really like when people make themselves at home in my kitchen.
Christina arrived a tad late but we greeted her with a cup of a hearty squash soup, which Kathe and I made the day before and a delicious flatbread Zucchini and parmesan cheese pizza. This was designed to provide energy to twist and seal her 60 wontons and some of mine too. Since there’s no room in my small kitchen for three bowls, trays and grown-ups, we spread out into my dining room.
I got teased a bit for my wonton folding ability (or lack there-of), requesting that Christina demonstrate several times in slow motion. As Christina’s wontons remained upright neatly lined on her baking tray, mine just lay down, relaxed and ready to take a nap. Suzy, who laughed that she usually isn’t that coordinated with crimping other foods like empanadas, proudly got the hang of it, cranking out a good bunch herself. As usual, I set out to make double everyone else since it’s not that much more work and I’ve got a wonton loving bunch in my house. I made two fillings, a pork and chicken. The only difference: scallions were added to the chicken.
Here’s the recipe, guided by an expert Chinese cook, my pal Christina. Enjoy!
1 pound ground chicken (or pork)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
A few pinches of salt
Several splashes of soy sauce
Several splashes of sesame oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
Handful of chopped scallions
Package of wonton wrappers (60)
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together. Stuff, twist and fold the wontons: place a teaspoon of filling into the wrapper, facing point side down. Moisten the edges and fold over the filling into a triangle. Twist on corner under the other and seal. Repeat. Lay on parchment paper lined baking sheet until hardened, freeze until hard and then transfer to freezer bags. Boil in water (or chicken stock) for about 7 minutes. Serve in homemade chicken soup with chopped chives and steamed spinach.