As you can tell if you look at my previous post, I have been on an Asian food kick lately. Maybe it is because I have my fresh scallions growing beautifully next to my kitchen window and they just go so good with Asian dishes! So I am inspired to make the most out of them and so far that is exactly what I’ve done.
Wontons, for instance , the oh-so-delish’ Asian dumplings, are an excellent way to use up those scallions, since they add extra tastiness to the vegetarian filling. They are very simple to make, although they do take time, specially if you decide to make the wonton wrappers from scratch, like I did. I mean, you could always buy the wrappers from the grocery store (I have used them in the past and the result was about the same), no big deal here, but just check the ingredients carefully, as they often contain eggs, as well as preservatives, so if you are a vegan, or you don’t eat eggs, or if you just prefer an all natural and fresh alternative, then homemade is the way to go.
What you can do to save time is make the wrappers one day ahead, store them in an airtight container in the fridge, so the next day you’ll just need to prepare the filling and steam them up (or fry them, if you prefer).
Also note that the recipe for the wrappers that I used makes about double of the amount of wrappers we need for our filling, so unless you decide to double the filling and prepare all of them at once, you will probably have a little more than a dozen wrappers left, which you can store for later or use in other recipes (I used mine to make Samosas the next day, yum!).
A cool thing about this post is that you get three recipes in one, yay! So perhaps if you get a little creative you can use them separately to make other dishes. You are welcome!
Vegetarian Steamed Wontons With a Chili Garlic Soy Sauce
Ingredients For the wrappers (recipe from here) (makes about 30, 4” in diameter round wrappers):
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
½ cup warm water
Cornstarch, for rolling and storing*
Ingredients For the filling:
2 Tbsp. sesame oil (I used unrefined)
3 cups green cabbage, cut very thinly
1 cup shredded carrot
1¼ cup shiitake mushrooms, finely cut
1 Tbs. fresh ginger root, minced
¼ cup scallions, chopped
¼ tsp. salt.
Ingredients For the sauce:
2 Tbsp. tamari soy sauce (you can use regular soy sauce)
½ Tbsp. white rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
¼ tsp. chili garlic sauce (use less if you don’t like spicy) (I got mine at the Asian section of my local grocery store)
A dash of pepper
½ Tbsp. chopped scallions (optional, but looks nice)
For the wrappers:
1. In a medium bowl, mix the flour and the salt. Make a well in the middle and ad the warm water.
2. Mix with your hands to combine all the ingredients and form a uniform dough. Add a little more water if it feels too dry, but it shouldn’t be sticky.
3. Knead the dough until smooth, for about 10 minutes. Form a ball with the dough and let it rest, covered with a towel for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.
4. Sprinkle some cornstarch on your kitchen counter or the surface you are going to use to roll the dough.
5. Take the dough and divide it by half. Place one of the halves on your floured surface and set the other half aside, covered with the towel.
6. With a rolling pin, roll your dough, until very thin (almost like a paper sheet) all around.
7. Using a round 4” cookie cutter or the rim of a glass, cut out the dough to get about 15 round wrappers. Dust both sides of each round with a little cornstarch to prevent them from sticking to each other. This is specially important if you plan to store them for later.
8. Take the other half of the dough and repeat the same steps.
Set your wrappers aside to prepare the filling.
For the filling:
1. In a wok or big frying pan, heat the sesame oil and add all the ingredients of the filling, except for the scallions.
2. Cook the vegetables on medium heat, covered, until soft, about 5-8 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat, add the scallions and stir. Allow to cool slightly, before filling up the wrappers.
Filling the wrappers:
1. Take some water in a glass and place it next to your working area.
2. Take a wrapper and place it on a flat surface (like a plate or cutting board). With your fingers or a pastry brush, take a little water and gently dampen around the edge of the wrapper.
3. Take a spoon of the filling and place it in the middle of the wrapper and close the edges together. At his point, you can shape your wonton however you like.
4. Repeat the same process, until you finish up the filling.
Using a steamer, steam your wontons, covered, for about 10-15 minutes, until the wrappers appear somewhat translucent.
While they get steamed, prepare the sauce.
For the sauce:
Mix all the ingredients together and serve in a saucer bowl.
Serve your wontons straight out of the steamer, while they are still warm, along with the dipping sauce.