When I was growing up in Taiwan, dumplings were the epitome of family bonding in the kitchen. Every time the Lunar New Year rolled around, I’d gather in the kitchen with my mom and grandmother, mixing filling and wrapping little nuggets around the dining table. (Dumplings are an auspicious food at the annual New Year’s feasts.)
But dumplings also make delicious and nutritious snacks any time of the year. Wontons, the thin-skinned and triangular-shaped variety, are simple enough for even the littlest of fingers to wrap. As we enter the winter season, this hands on recipe is perfect for an indoor afternoon of messy family fun–the best kind of all.
- 1 pack thawed wonton wrappers, available in Chinatown or specialty grocery stores
- 1/2 lb fatty ground pork
- 1/3 lb minced leafy greens, like bok choy or spinach
- 3 stalks of chopped scallion or chives
- 1 tsp minced ginger, optional
- 1/3 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper, preferably white
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp rice wine
- 1 egg
- chicken broth soup, to taste
Place everything but the wrappers and chicken broth in a large bowl. Have the kids mush up the filling with their bare hands—the more vigorous the better. (Just be sure they wash their hands properly after touching the raw meat.)
Set out a small dish with water. Use a spoon or your fingers to pat approximately one teaspoon of filling in the middle of each wonton wrapper. Dip a finger in the water and wet the edges of the wrapper, so the dough becomes a little sticky but not too soft. Fold the wrapper into a triangle and press down firmly on the edges—make sure the seal is tight so the wontons stay intact while cooking.
To get that classic wonton look, you’ll have to take the two bottom corners of the wonton and press them tightly together. But for less nimble fingers, wontons left in the triangle shape taste just as good! Set the wontons on a dry plate in a single layer to avoid sticking. To prevent drying, cover with plastic wrap.
Bring a pot of chicken broth soup to a boil. Drop the wontons in and bring back to a boil until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. If you’re not sure about doneness, remove one wonton to check the color of the meat; overcooked wontons will fall apart.
–Christine Wei is the Associate Editor of New York Family. When she’s not busy editing articles, you can bet that she’s inhaling more calories than she should. She can be reached at cwei [at] manhattanmedia [dot] com.