Pan-fried dumplings with kale and garlic, with soy-ginger dipping sauce
How many times have you abandoned a recipe upon seeing the ingredients "wonton wrappers?" Although working with wonton wrappers may seem intimidating, once you learn to use them, they are actually the harried cook's best friend. Plus they are inexpensive and lend themselves beautifully to improvisation; you can fill them with whatever you have on hand or what's in season. Wonton wrappers come in a variety of shapes: squares, triangles and circles, and you can find them in most Asian grocery stores or in the ethnic aisles of larger supermarkets.
Be sure to seal the edges well using water as your "glue."
How to assemble a wonton dumpling:
1. Place the wrapper in the palm of your hand, Fill it with a scant teaspoon of your filling of choice [See below for ideas]. Do not overfill! Cover remaining wontons with a damp paper towel.
2. Brush the edges of the wonton with water.
3. Use your fingers to make a seal and pinch the dumpling closed. Make sure the seal is tight so your filling does not ooze out.
Dumplings simmered in broth.
Wonton architecture options:
1. Fold the wrappers in two to make half moon-shaped dumplings. This option is best for pan-frying; or
2. Fold the wrappers in two to make half moon-shaped dumplings, then pinch the ends together with water to form tortellini-like dumplings [pictured above], which you can steam or cook in broth; or
3. Scrunch all the ends together to form a pony-tail of sorts, with the wonton edges. Works best for steaming.
Wonton cooking options:
1. Simmer the dumplings gently in broth for 5-10 minutes. Be careful not to overcook, or the filling could ooze out; or
2. Steam for 5-10 minutes and serve with your favorite dipping sauce; or
3. Pan-fry in a small amount of oil for 5-10 minutes and serve with your favorite dipping sauce [This is, in my opinion, the tastiest option.]
10 Won ton filling ideas:
1. Spinach or kale sauteed with garlic and ginger
2. Pumpkin, toasted walnuts and sauteed onions
3. Ground beef style soy meat sauteed with onions and mushrooms
4. Shitake mushrooms, sauteed with shallots and a splash of sherry
5. Pressed and crumbled tofu, tossed with nutritional yeast, basil and lemon juice, seasoned with salt and pepper
6. Tempeh, steamed first and then warmed through with your favorite BBQ sauce
7. Potatoes, onions and vegan cheese. Shape into half moons for quickie pierogies! Pan fry with plenty of Earth Balance and onions
8. Seitan cooked with ginger, cilantro, garlic and edamame
9. Plain old vegan cheese cubes, peppered with your favorite fresh herbs
10. Dessert won tons: Chocolate-hazlenut spread and bananas. Seal the wontons with sugar water. Sprinkle with coarse sugar before pan frying in Earth Balance.
Please add your own filling ideas as comments. Enjoy!