Tuesday, January 05, 2010

wonton wrappers, demystified

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!


veganefcliz said...

I have discovered them fairly recently too and I love them. I was wondering though, are they same as gyoza wrappers? I have seen recipes which ask for both, and have seen them both at the supermarket.

Kathryn said...

I abandon wonton recipies because I can never find any without egg in them....any brands you recommend?

dasha said...

Wonton wrappers are very convenient. I used round ones for New Year Eve dumplings with mushed potatoes & fried onions filling and just yesterday I used square ones. Just for fun :) though I prefer round wrappers:

Thank you for filling ideas! I also like mushrooms (white or portabella) fried with onions and processed with hand blender (or food processed) to a chunky mass.

yeaaahtoast said...

Mmmm! I've been making my own gyoza for a long time, I love the ritual of it and the fact that I know exactly what is in them.
Going to try the kale and garlic tonight, I love sprouts so I go for minced mung bean sprouts, grated carrot, grated ginger, and sauteed shitake pieces.

Dairy Free Betty said...

I just made egg rolls wrappers filled with apples yesterday, they aren't that good baked but maybe I will try steaming them!!

Thanks for all the great ideas, I still have a bunch left!

6p00d83452b83e69e2 said...

All the wonton and eggroll wrappers I've seen have eggs and/or egg whites in them.

Have you found some that don't?

Tks, Mark

urban vegan said...

I buy eggless wonton wrappers in Philly in an Asian market in Chinatown. In fact, that's all I ever bought so I never knew that some had eggs in them!

buffalodick said...

Very versatile! Looked and sounded good on a cold winter's day!

Susan G said...

I have a folding dumpling maker that makes half moons with scalloped edges. So cute!

All the supermarket versions have eggs - I have only seen egg-free in the Asian market

Sun C Raye said...

I would love to try this with pumpkin or butternut squash. It sounds yummy!

Tess said...

I've been dying to do something with wonton wrappers, thank you for this post! I'm going to make some dumplings this weekend!

Amey said...

awesome post! for YEARS we only had non-vegan wonton wrappers here in Santa Cruz, I don't know why! It probably doesn't help that we don't have any asian markets here. But, at last, i found some, and they have been hanging out in my freezer waiting for inspiration... What fun! I feel so happy to be part of the club at last. :)

Amey said...

ps, other vegan wrapper searchers... I found mine at Whole Foods.

Jess of Veg Out! said...

I LOVE wontons & dumplings, but I can NEVER find any wonton wrappers near me without egg in them. I'm always hopeful & always looking, but alas - no luck yet!

urban vegan said...

For all of you who don't have access to vegan wonton wrappers, I found this recipe online so you can make your own:


Virginie Péan said...

Wontons are the food I've never made but always want to give a try. I like your chocolate idea.

bookjunky said...

This looks yummy. What a great idea and one even my husband will eat.

I'd try making a curried potato & pea filling for a samosa type thing.

Elizabeth said...

I ate wontons all the time until I became vegan and so could no longer buy them. The ones here only list the ingredients in Chinese so I have no idea what they contain. Thanks for posting that recipe--I will try it soon!

Gary said...

This post inspired me to try wrappers, even though it was a different type of wrapper - Vietnamese salad roll wrappers. Nonetheless, I filled them with some Morningstar Farms chicken strips and peas cooked with ginger, garlic, Braggs, sesame seeds, and peanut oil. Delicious and fun. Tomorrow night for dinner we're having ... wrappers, with some your filling suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Made my first wontons this weekend, delicious! I made mine with sauteed garlic, onion, mushrooms, with little bits of pickled carrot and diakon. Thanks for the nudge needed to try it.

mamapasta said...

French wonton are square ones, but it is easy to find and I like to cook those things

Siri said...

I have never tried my hand on wonton wrappers yet, but your post has inspired me to do so. Thanks for filling idea..am gonna try them soon..


Boston bankruptcy attorney said...

Awesome! Thanks for sharing the secret. Looks pretty easy to make, I love these things!

Jackie said...

Thanks for the great info. I love wontons. We dont have the wrappers here but I am sure I could use egg-less samoosa pastry.

Making your Roasted Red Pepper and Onion Frittata today. Every recipe I have tried, and I have tried many out of your book, has been sooo tasty and simple enough that even I didn't mess them up :)

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VeganVersion said...

Hello- I am also in Philly and have difficulty finding vegan wonton wrappers. Could you share the name/location where you buy your eggless wonton wrappers? Thanks!

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Sam at Broke and Chic said...

Thanks for this post. I am trying to work out a recipe for butternut squash and sage ravioli made with wonton wrappers and this is invaluable. Awesome!

Grace Carrin said...

Do you know the name of the store?