13 September 2010

I'm in the mood for WONTONS

A new reason to play with your food: origami wontons!

Seriously. I've been craving them. I did a ton of research on some classic Chinese cuisine last week and wontons have been haunting my dreams (ok, I'm not THAT far gone...not yet).

Everyone who's ever had Chinese food has seen, smelled or tasted a wonton. The most popular way to eat these delicious, airy dumplings is in broth with chopped scallions floating amongst them. Wonton Soup is something I could eat every day and never, ever get tired of it. Those puffy little pillows of delectable delights floating around in golden broth. Mmm, reminds me of lazy clouds drifting across and evening sky. Conveniently enough (at least for this metaphor) the literal translation of the Cantonese for "wonton" means "swallowing clouds". And who hasn't had fried wontons? A crispy little bowl usually sat before you when you sit down at your favorite Chinese restaurant, they're Asian equivalent of chips and salsa. Crispy, greasy, and marvelous with duck sauce or spicy mustard, these little guys also pack a nice crunch when tossed in the wonton soup. Think of them as crispy clouds. Fried wontons are an American-Chinese creation but they're still delicious.

Traditional fillings for wontons are pork, shrimp or oysters but any meat will do. Just know if you put hamburger in those wrappers, you can't call it "authentic Chinese cuisine". Couture labels, however, matter not in the food world. It's the flavor that counts.

Every region in China has it's own version of the wonton which differs slightly from it's neighbors. Hong Kong wontons developed after World War II as a street food and was served from carts and only later found their way into restaurants. Wikipedia has a pretty good overview of the humble wonton if you're interested.

Wontons are also boiled and enjoyed sans soup or, in Chinese-American cuisine, fried with crab and cream cheese filling (also known as crab rangoon...yum).

You know, I've got a bit of pork filling left over from the dumplings. Mayhaps I'll pick up some wonton wrappers tonight and use the rest of that pork for some wonton soup! Until then, here's some delicious links to get you started on your own wonton adventure. Linkage away!

Wonton Soup
Crab Rangoon
Wonton Recipes
Recipes using Wonton Wrappers

Now excuse me while I go dream of crab rangoon and cloud swallowing.

PS: As always, if ANY of these recipes sounds (or taste) a little less than authentic to you, please let me know. I'd LOVE to try them all out but that would require a windfall in finances so I could stay home all day cooking and eating. Until that blissful day occurs, I'm open to corrections from you dear souls who have been to China, cook and/or eat authentic Chinese food often, or who know a heaping helping more than I do (and I dare say, that's a bunch of you). If you try any of these recipes, please let me know how they turned out!


Jennifer Shirk said...

Oooh, yum! I haven't made those pork dumplings yet.

My kidlet brought home an origami craft and I couldn't help her with it. I was all thumbs! LOL

Tamika: said...

Now I'm totally hungry:) It's been ages since I had Chinese food~ time to make up for lost time!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Oh, how I love wontons! Love, love, love them! Now I need to make my hubby take me out for a wonton dinner!! :-)

Brian Miller said...

sweet. we love is a must anytime we get days it does seem it is all crab rangoon...but back in the day we used to get pork or we might just make our own...

Lin said...

You are making me hungry, Jen!! How about you make them and I'll eat 'em???!

Erin Kuhns said...

I love the idea of origami wontons! But I'll bet the picture makes it look easier than it really is. Mine would likely end up looking like squashed bugs against a windshield.

Kittie Howard said...

Great post, Jen. I adore wontons/wonton soup. Thing is, I've had it without those little scallions and it just didn't taste the same. Such is the delicacy of Asian foods. The photo of origami wontons is fabulous! Didn't know fried wontons were an American invention, sorta like chop suey, I suppose.

Jennifer said...

Friend wontons are the best, and I just showed my friend Chelsea the origami-shaped Wontons and she flipped out.
We wanna make little froggy-wontons now hahaha.