These delectable bite-sized treats are filled with a fragrant pork mixture that promises a burst of flavors with every bite. Topped with a luscious chili oil-based sauce, this dish combines the perfect balance of garlicky, tangy, savory, spicy, and subtly sweet elements. With my recipe you can indulge in the delightful experience of homemade spicy wontons that rival those served at Sichuan restaurants, all at a fraction of the cost.
What are wontons?
Wontons are a type of dumpling that scholars estimate originated from the Han Dynasty, a time before Christ. They may be made by filling small squares of dough with a mixture of minced meat, aromatics, and seasonings. Wontons come in over 24 different styles of shapes and fillings. If you love this recipe, you should also try my Wonton Soup!
Why This Works
With my recipe you can indulge in the delightful experience of homemade spicy wontons that rival those served at Sichuan restaurants, all at a fraction of the cost. These wontons exude authenticity, allowing you to savor the true flavors of Sichuan cuisine in the comfort of your own kitchen. To elevate their appeal, you have the freedom to adorn them with toasted sesame seeds, scallions, or cilantro, catering to your personal taste preferences. What sets my recipe apart is the inclusion of ground Sichuan pepper powder, reminiscent of the authentic flavors found on the bustling streets of China.
What are wonton wrappers?
Wontons are a delightful dish that offers both deliciousness and simplicity, particularly when utilizing pre-made wonton wrappers. Wonton wrappers are available in various styles, including spinach, Shanghai style, Hong Kong style, extra thin, and Shanghai style large wontons. In a traditional wonton dish that comes with a sauce and not soup, we typically use the Shanghai Style wonton wrapper. These wrappers are known for their white color, ultra-thin and square shape. They are ideal for steaming or boiling.
Wrappers are readily available and come at an affordable price at Chinese grocery retailers. They typically cost around $2.99 USD for a pack containing 50 pieces. While I appreciate the value of homemade meals, there are certain ingredients that may not justify the time required to make them from scratch. Opting for the convenience of pre-made ones allows for a more efficient preparation process without compromising on taste. Additionally, they are ultra thin and uniform which could be difficult to achieve at home.
It’s important to keep in mind that some Chinese grocery stores may offer frozen wonton skins. Whenever possible, it is advisable to purchase fresh ones. Thawed wonton skins have a higher likelihood of cracking due to the water content freezing. When wrapping the wontons, ensure that the package of skins remains sealed with plastic wrap to prevent the skin from drying out. Once the skins become dry, their edges are prone to cracking when shaped. Thus, maintaining the moisture of the wonton skins during the wrapping process is essential to achieve optimal results.
What is the best way to cook wontons?
Depending on the type of wrapper purchased, they may be can be boiled, steamed, or fried depending on the desired texture. Fresh wontons have a quick cooking time, typically around 3 minutes, so boiling them in water is recommended. The Shanghai Style Wrapper that we are using in this recipe is ideal for steaming and boiling only.
Can I make wontons in advance?
To achieve the optimal texture, the wontons should be wrapped and cooked to order. This method ensures that the wonton skin remains delightfully bouncy and slippery. It’s important to note that the longer uncooked wontons are stored in the refrigerator, the more soggy they will become. Soggy wontons will break when boiled and their flavor will leak into the water resulting in a bland taste. While it is technically possible to freeze wontons, in my experience, this can lead to overcooked skins. I recommend refraining from preparing them in advance to maintain their desired texture and taste.
What is toasted sesame oil?
Toasted sesame oil is made from pressing roasted sesame seeds. The seeds are toasted before being pressed to create the oil, giving it a deeper intense flavor. It has a lower smoke point than regular sesame oil making it more appropriate to use as a finishing oil. In other words, it should not be used for deep-frying. However, one notable exception is the use of toasted sesame oil in Taiwanese 3 Cup Chicken (Taiwanese Basil Chicken).
What is chili oil?
Chili oil is prepared by infusing soybean oil with Sichuan (Szechuan) red chili peppers. This results in a fiery heat known as ‘mala.’ This heat produces a unique tingling or numbing sensation on the tongue. Chili oil is easily identifiable by its vibrant red-orange color, which adds a visually appealing touch to dishes.
What is shaoxing cooking wine?
Shaoxing wine (Shao-hsing, Shaohsing wine) is a type of Chinese rice wine that is made by fermenting glutinous rice, water, and wheat. It contains a very small percentage of alcohol that evaporates when exposed to heat, so its primary function is to add flavor. The taste and aroma of Shaoxing wine is similar to that of sherry. I find it to be a great ingredient to use with chicken or pork, as it helps to purify any unpleasant flavors of the protein while also adding a fragrant aroma to the dish.
What is soy sauce?
Soy sauce is a widely used condiment in Asian cuisine, available in various types. In this recipe, you will need light or premium soy sauce for the filling. Sweet soy sauce is required for the sauce component. When a recipe mentions soy sauce, it generally refers to light or premium soy sauce, which are essentially interchangeable. These types of soy sauce have a lighter color and more delicate flavor compared to alternatives like dark soy sauce or tamari. Sweet soy sauce is specially brewed from selected soybeans and wheat flour. it is made with sugar and corn syrup for a sweet taste which makes it great for seasoning rice and stir-fried noodles. It is primarily used as a dipping sauce for dim sum dishes such as rice rolls and dumplings.
What is white pepper?
White pepper is derived from the same plant as black pepper, but is harvested at a different stage and has a beige appearance. It is often used in Chinese, Vietnamese, and French cuisine, and can be purchased finely ground into a powder or as whole peppercorns. White pepper has a milder and less complex flavor compared to black pepper, with a slightly earthy and musty taste. It is commonly used as a seasoning in dishes such as soups, stews, and marinades. Unlike black pepper, white pepper does not visibly speckle the food, making it a good choice for dishes that require a smooth appearance.
For Chinese dishes, always opt for finely ground white pepper powder. It is widely available in Asian grocery stores and can also be purchased online. It is important to note that white pepper should be used sparingly, as its flavor can easily overpower other ingredients if used in excess. I use white pepper in many recipes such as: Taiwanese Braised Pork Over Rice (Lou Rou Fan), Pork Belly Buns (Guabao), and Pork Buns with Black Pepper.
- 2 Sauce Pans
- 2 Knives or 1 Food Processor
Sauce (1 cup)
- 2 large cloves garlic peeled, grated
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/4 cup sweet soy sauce
- 5 tbsp homemade chilli oil
Wontons (40-50 pieces)
- 1 package Hong Kong style wonton wrappers
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 tsp ginger grated
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp Shaoxing cooking wine
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp finely ground white pepper
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp ground Sichuan pepper powder optional
- Sauce | In a bowl mix the garlic, sugar, sesame oil, sweet soy sauce. Then add in the chili oil and set aside.
- Filling | Fill a pot 3/4 full with water and set it over the stove on high heat.Add the ground pork in a bowl along with the ginger, soy sauce, cooking wine, sesame oil, white pepper, and sea salt. Mix until evenly distributed.
- Wontons | Place a wonton wrapper in front of you. Spoon 1-2 teaspoons of the filling in the middle of the wrapper. Moisten all four edges of the wrapper with a little water. Fold the bottom half of the wrapper up to meet the top half, creating a triangle. Press gently around the edges to seal. Dab the bottom edge of the wonton with a little water, then bring the sharp corners together, overlapping them. Pinch and press to seal. Repeat this process for as many wontons as you will be serving.
- Assemble | Place the wontons in the boiling water, but make sure to cook no more than 10 at a time. Immediately stir gently to prevent sticking. Cook for 3 mins, then transfer them to each serving bowl. Drizzle with the chili oil sauce and ground Sichuan pepper powder.If you've tried this recipe, please let me know what you think in the comments below! Your feedback is greatly appreciated and it helps me improve my recipes for future cooking adventures. And if you enjoyed it, don't forget to give it a thumbs up or share it with your friends! You can help my channel by tagging @vocabularyoffood in your cooks. ۶(◠ 。◠)۶