I met Diana of Appetite for China at a networking event for BlogHer a few months ago. These events are always a little awkward, especially for me because I get a little quiet at these kinds of things when I don’t know anybody. Kramer thankfully went with me, and he is much better at talking and meeting people than I am. We ended up sitting next to Diana, and seeing as how there weren’t that many food bloggers there, we, of course, hit it off right away. Kramer and I loved her blog and were really impressed with her awesome new cookbook, The Chinese Takeout Cookbook, which has tons of easy to make at home Chinese recipes. Diana also teaches cooking classes all over the city, so if you have the opportunity, go take one! Anyway, since our resolution for 2013 was to make more videos for this blog, I thought it might be fun to team up with another blogger to do a video together. Who better to start with than Diana? We reached out to her and hoped she would say yes, and thankfully, she did! Diana was great to work with and I had never made wontons before, so I was just excited to get to learn a new culinary skill. She had Kramer and me wrapping wontons like pros in no time at all, and if our uncoordinated asses can do it, then you can, too! These wontons were incredibly delicious – after shooting the video, we polished off almost all of them in no time at all.
The pork filling for these wontons is simple, straightforward, and just really, really good. You only need a few ingredients that you just mix together and add to the wonton wrappers. The key to making these is to be sure not to overfill as you go, which is easy to do after you know how tasty the filling is. There are a few ways to fold the wontons, but my favorite way was the “boat” method, as shown in the video. They are so tiny and cute, and once you master the technique, you’re going to want to stand in your kitchen and fold wontons all day, or at least that’s how I felt. It’s fun to try something new, especially when you get some one on one instruction from someone who really knows what they’re doing. Diana is actually doing a class on wontons and dumplings soon, on May 9th, so get out of the house and go take the class if you can! You know that you want to become masters like Kramer and I did.
Now, while the filling is tasty, the sauce is the shining star of this dish. If you like spicy, then Sichuan pepper is for you. Believe it or not, the peppercorns were illegal in the United States until 2005, as they can sometimes carry a bacteria that kills citrus plants, although they were never actually dangerous for human consumption. Thankfully, the dark ages are over and you can find Sichuan pepper in most grocery stores or any specialty market. The pepper is incredibly spicy, but you can adjust the heat level to your liking, so just add a small amount for a bit of a peppery zing, or a lot of lip-numbing goodness. If you know me, then you can imagine that I go for the lip-numbing amount of Sichuan pepper. The sauce has some sugar in it for sweetness, which helps to offset some of the heat, and who doesn’t love a sweet and spicy combination? While the sauce is great for the wontons, you can add it to noodles or vegetables or whatever else you like. Make these for your friends and family; you’ll love watching the look on their face as they enjoy traditional Chinese fare in the comfort of your own home. Anyway, I hope that you like the video! Check out Diana’s blog, make some wontons, and eat!
- ½ pound ground pork
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- ½ package wonton skins
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili oil
- 2 teaspoons Chinese black vinegar or good-quality balsamic vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper
- In a large bowl, combine the pork, egg, sesame oil, salt, and pepper and mix until everything is well-incorporated. The filling should be sticky and slightly wet.
- Place a wonton wrapper on your work surface. Keep the extra wrappers nearby to use as you go. Place one heaping teaspoon of filling in the center of the wrapper (but don't overfill it or you won't be able to wrap it).
- Use your finger to spread a thin layer of water along the left, bottom, and right sides of the wrapper around the filling (see the video for how to do this if you are unsure). Start by folding the wrapper in half to form a rectangle, then seal the wrapper all around the filling, gently pushing out any air bubbles. Dab a little bit of water with your finger on the bottom right corner of the rectangle, then pinch both bottom corners and bring the corners around to the middle and seal the dry corner on top of the wet corner so that they stick together. You will have a little puff of filling surrounded by the sealed wonton. Again, the video shows you how to do this.
- Place the finished wonton on a plate. Keep the finished wontons covered with a barely damp towel while you repeat the process with the remaining wontons.
- Now, make the sauce. In a medium bowl, mix together the garlic, soy sauce, sugar, chili oil, black vinegar, and Sichuan pepper. Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Put in the wontons (you can add them all at once) and boil for 3 to 4 minutes, until the wontons float to the top. Remove them with a slotted spoon and transfer to a serving dish. Drizzle the chili sauce over the wontons and sprinkle the sliced scallions on top. Enjoy hot.
- *These will also freeze well in an airtight container for up to three months. To cook them, simply drop the frozen wontons into your boiling water and cook for 5-6 minutes, remove from the water, then drizzle with the sauce.