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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Won Tons

There are certain things that I just like to have on hand in the freezer for quick meals. I freeze my chocolate chip muffins for breakfast in the mornings. When I make tacos, I make four times as much taco meat as I need so that I can freeze the leftovers for nachos. When I make waffles, I make a triple batch and freeze the remainders for a quick toaster breakfast. When I make meatballs, I make extras to freeze to use as a quick meat for spaghetti. And I like to freeze won tons to make a quick, delicious soup.

On the day that I make the won tons, I fry up some pot stickers. I find that pot stickers don't cook up very well from frozen homemade won tons, so I try to get my pot sticker fill that one day. I individually freeze the remaining dumplings for future use.

Here are the ingredients you need. There's not much to these things. I like the round won ton wrappers, but sometimes I can't find them (like this time). When this happens, I use a large round cookie cutter to make them round. You can form won tons out of square wrappers, I just don't personally care for that "hat" shape.

So, here we have wrappers, soy sauce, ground pork, onion, cabbage, ginger, carrot, and onion. I like my filling to be pretty homogeneous, so I shred everything finely using a box grater. You can use a food processor shredder, but I often end up with large shreds that way. The filling will be added to the wrappers in teaspoon size increments... that means you need the filling ingredients to be in small pieces. Using the box grater does have one drawback, though. It tends to make the vegetables release water, so you'll need to press a little of that excess water out.

Oh, I almost forgot; you need an egg, too. Add the soy sauce and mix thoroughly!

You'll need a small bowl of water to dip your finger in so that you can wet the edge of the wrappers. This provides the "glue" to stick the edges together to form the little dumplings. Place about one teaspoon in the middle of each wrapper. Wet the edge of one half of the wrapper. Using both hands, fold the wrapper over, pressing the air out at the same time. To form the little dumpling shape that I like, once the edges are sealed, keeping your fingers at 2 o'clock and 10 o'clock, gently press the dumpling onto a parchment lined sheet. This motion flattens the bottom and also helps to form the ruffled edges on the dumplings.

Won Ton Filling
Yield: enough to fill about 50-60 wrappers

1/2 lb ground pork
1/3 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup shredded onion
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 TBS grated ginger
1 egg
1/4 cup soy sauce

Mix all ingredients together. Spoon about a teaspoon into the middle of each won ton wrapper. Wet half of the wrapper edge with water. Fold over, pressing all of the air out as you do so. Press down on the dumpling at 10 and 2 o'clock when placing on a parchment lined sheet to form the dumpling shape. Either cook as pot stickers (can be held on pan in the refrigerator for a couple of hours) or freeze for 24 hours on sheet before transferring to zip-top bags for long term freezer storage.

Preparing Pot Stickers

To cook pot stickers, heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat with a light skim of oil in the bottom. Wait until the oil is hot and then add the won tons. Do not over crowd the pan or they might stick together into a ghastly mess. Fry the won tons, turning every couple of minutes to get a nice brown crust on each side. Once all the sides are crisped up, place the lid on the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low or low and let them steam for another 3-5 minutes. I like to serve with a dipping sauce I make using soy sauce, honey, rice wine, green onions, and ginger. Yummy!

Preparing Won Ton Soup
Serves 2

In a small sauce pan, pour one can of chicken broth, add a splash of soy sauce, throw in a tablespoon or so of fresh cut green onions (the green tops), and a 1/4 inch slice of ginger. The ginger should be removed before serving or someone will be in for a spicy surprise!! Bring this mixture to a boil and add 8-10 frozen won tons. Bring back to a boil, reduce heat, and boil gently for 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy! If you want more soup, just use more broth and adjust accordingly.

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