Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Won Ton, A Little Treasure

When I was living in Taiwan, there was this fabulous dumpling shop just down the street from my apartment.  The windows would always be wet with condensation from steaming or boiling the various dumplings they made.  Outside, on the sidewalk, there was an elderly woman with a gigantic washtub of pork filling, wrapping dumplings while sitting on a rickety stool.   She was always there as long as the shop was open.  It is a scene I've always remembered from Taiwan. 


The filling for my won tons are the same as that I use for kuo tien (or potstickers).  When in the mood for a savory breakfast, I will boil a few wontons for the girls and add a little chicken stock.  Or for lunch or an appetizer, I'll boil a few and make a Szechuan chili sauce to go with them.  They freeze well, so I always make a large batch and keep in the freezer for whenever there's a need or want.  


2 lbs ground pork (I used Berkshire Kurobuta)
1" piece of ginger, grated on a microplane
3 scallions, chopped finely
3 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 cup water


Mix everything together well.  Cover and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours, or even overnight.  When ready to wrap, mix the filling again and add a little more water if the mixture seems to have dried up a bit.  The water helps the filling to be tender, rather than becoming a hard ball when cooked.  
I used thin Rose Brand Won Ton Wrappers.  Apply a little water with your fingertip to the top half of the shell.  Place a small ball of filling, fold in half diagonally, and then overlap the two corners and press together with another dab of water. 
To cook, boil the won tons for 5-7 minutes.  I usually boil them until they float to the top and then for another minute more.  
For Szechuan chili sauce, I combine soy sauce, white vinegar, sugar and red chili oil.  Mix together in a small bowl, lay won tons on top, sprinkle with a little chopped scallion.

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