PREPARE YOUR FILLING (for minced meat fillings)
- Chop herbs and Asian ingredients as per the recipe and add to a large mixing bowl.
- Measure sauces and spices and add to the mixing bowl. Add the minced/ground meat.
- Blend all the ingredients, using your hand and blend in one direction so as to not break up the meat fibres.
- Add the corn flour last and blend in. It is added to help make the filling ‘sticky’. Transfer the filling into 4 or 5 small bowls
- Place the bowl of filling, uncovered in the refrigerator for an hour or so. This will make the filling texture more firm and easier to work with.
MEANWHILE, GET YOUR WORK SPACE READY
- Set up a small bowl of cold water (about 200-300 ml). This water is for wetting the edge of the wrappers to seal them.
- Trays/baking sheets on which to place the wontons.
- Spreading knife with a flexible blade or a teaspoon.
- A small towel – so that you can wipe your fingertips as they get flour on them from the wrappers.
- When making dumplings alone, divide the made filling into smaller bowls and refrigerate uncovered. Take out one bowl of the filling at a time to make the wontons.
- Wrappers – do not lay/spread them out but keep them in the opened package. Take out a few wrappers at a time (so they don’t dry out). Cover the opened package with a damp tea towel.
HOW TO COOK WONTONS
- Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil, then gently and slowly slide the wontons from the baking sheet into the pot of boiling water, taking care not to cause the hot water to splash. Or you can place the wontons on a large mesh spoon and lower them into the boiling water. Be sure that there is plenty of room in the pot for the wontons to float about.
- When they rise to the surface and the water is boiling again, they will be ready in another minute or so.
- Take one out and cut it open to check if you’re not sure. (You should be able to see the bumpy surface of the filling against the wrapper).
- Use a slotted or mesh spoon to transfer them from the boiling water (holding it above the boiling water for a few seconds to drain). Optional step: then dip it into a bowl of cold water for just a second (to make the wrapper firmer so it doesn’t become ‘gooey’) then place them into each individual bowls if serving with soup or a large platter if serving with dipping sauces.
SERVING WONTONS WITH SOUP
- In advance, prepare some vegetables by chopping them into bite-sized pieces and blanch them in boiling water for about a minute or until they are as soft as you like them. Besides the Asian vegetables (bok choy, Chinese cabbage or snow peas), you can add any vegetable you like.
- Heat some soup stock in a sauce pan: bring to boil, then lower heat and cover to keep it warm as you proceed to the next steps.
- Optional: pre-cook some egg noodles. Follow the instructions on the package and drain. Add a few drops of oil to the noodles to keep them from sticking to each other and place them into the individual soup bowls.
- When the wontons are ready, as per the instructions above, you can add them to individual soup bowls.As you remove them from the boiling water with the mesh spoon, there is an optional step in which you can momentarily dip them in bowl of cold water with the mesh spoon before placing them into the soup bowls. This step with the cold water keeps the wrapper firm so that they don’t become too soggy.
- Add the wontons to the bowl that already has the noodles (8 -10 for a meal, 3-4 for an entree)
- Immediately add the hot soup stock to the soup bowl.
- Garnish with sprigs of coriander/cilantro, bean sprouts or finely chopped chili.
SERVING WONTONS ON PLATTER
- Transfer the wontons from the pot to a platter. It’s okay to have a little bit of water on the platter as it will prevent the wontons from sticking to the platter.
- Drizzle with a dipping sauce or sprinkle with chili oil or the spicy chili sauce.
- Garnish with Asian herbs such as coriander leaves and serve immediately.
Use ROUND wrappers (they are thicker). The round wrappers are labeled “gyoza, gowgee, potstickers, or jiaozi” wrappers. Just remember ROUND. I will refer to them as gyoza.
- Follow the instructions above “HOW TO COOK WONTON” and then drain the boiled gyozas on a cake rack place over a baking tray.
- Heat a non-stick fry pan and add a drizzle of grape seed oil. When the oil is nearly smoking, add the gyozas and jiggle them a bit as you place them on the fry pan so they don’t stick.
- Fry them until they are golden brown (flip them to check). When crisped, transfer to a platter or small plates.
- Serve with dipping sauce and garnishes of your choice.
- Another method of cooking: Some recipes describe a method using a non-stick pan, filling it with water, then adding the gyozas, bringing to boil, then adding oil to crisp the bottom (you can find it via google or YouTube). I don’t do it that way because I can cook a larger quantity using my method as I’m usually cooking dumplings for a crowd.
HOW TO FREEZE WONTON/GYOZA:
- Choose small trays that will fit into your freezer.
- Line the tray with parchment paper/baking paper.
- Place the wontons on the trays so they are not touching each other and place the tray into the freezer. There is no need to cover them.
- When they are frozen solid, gently remove and place into plastic containers or bags.
- Label with a use-by date for two months from current date.
- Do not leave them in the freezer uncovered for more than 10 hours or the wrapper will crack. Once they’re frozen, then bag ’em up.
HOW TO COOK FROZEN WONTON/GYOZA
- There is no need to thaw frozen wontons or gyozas as they can go straight from the freezer into the boiling water.
- When the water boils again, add about ½ cup cold water.
- When the water boils a second time, remove the wontons/gyoza immediately and drain.
- Proceed to serve as described in the above instructions.
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