Sunday, April 4, 2010

Playing With My Food - Wonton Week

(Oringally posted Mar. 6, 2010)

I was doing my weekly shopping and stumbled across wonton wrappers. I hadn't used wrappers in ages and I used to love making eggrolls. Sometimes I get a bulldog stubbornness when I am 'inspired', so I decided this was the week for wontons.

Looking around at the choice of ingredients, though, I wasn't impressed with my eggroll or springroll options on that day, so I got the wonton wrappers, because I wanted them, and went home to improvise.

I came up with two very nice recipes that I know I will use over again. They were crispy, tasty, and economical. They were also very different in flavor (and heritage) which made me doubly happy, in the end.

Using wonton wrappers is easy, if you just prepare well and are ready to take some time. I don't fold them. Instead, I use one on the bottom and cover the filling with another one to make somewhat larger, square packets. I like the size and ease of doing it this way. When finished, they look like large ravioli.

The basic method I used is to create a filling, then lay out single wonton wrappers on wax paper or other clean surface. Carefully brush all 4 edges of each wrapper with cool water. Place 1 generous tablespoon of filling in the center of the wontons. Lay another wonton wrapper on top of the filling and carefully pinch the edges all around, to form a square packet. Cover prepared packets with a damp cloth until ready to fry. They may be wrapped and frozen for future use at this step. Finally, choose your cooking method (bake, fry or boil), cook, and serve hot with your favorite sauce or toppings.

First, I made some Beef and Spinach Empanadas. The recipe is in my recipe box if you wish to view it. They were really good with sour cream and picante sauce. They fried quickly and were crisp and delicate, yet filling and full of flavor.

The second recipe I made was Baked Chicken Rangoon. This one is also in my recipe box. I love rangoon at restaurants and decided to give it a shot. These were baked and I was worried they might come out bland or tough, but I brushed them with oil and oiled the pan well, and they came out superbly. I had these with some homemade chili oil and I was in heaven.

So, if you're looking to jazz up your menus, yet stay economical, I suggest you have a look at my recipes. I hope you like them, or that they inspire you to try something new and different with wonton wrappers.

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