While Wontons are traditionally boiled, Fried Wontons have become increasingly popular both in the West and in China. With a chip crisp wrapper and a small morsel of savory filling in each bite it's no surprise why, and they border on addicting.
Written in Chinese, the word Wonton (雲吞), literally means "to swallow clouds", a reference to the billowing cloud-like wrapper of a Wonton (particularly when they're boiled). This is why Wontons typically have a lot less filling that other dumplings such as Shaomai and Jiaozi, because you are meant to enjoy the wrapper more than the filling.
Nobody likes a soggy Fried Wonton, and there's a great trick to getting the wrapper ultra crisp. Instead of sealing the wrapper shut like an envelope with water, you leave the majority of the folded wrapper unsealed, using just a dab of water to pinch the ends together. This allows the oil to circulate, frying the wrapper from both the inside and outside.
For those that make a lot of Asian dumplings you might assume the filling will leak out, or that the wontons will end up being greasy, but having tried this both ways, I can tell you that the filling does not leak, and if anything, the open wrapper makes for a less greasy wonton. The reason is that since the wrapper isn't sealed the fat in the ground pork has a chance to render out and drain. Using this method will give you ear pleasingly crisp wontons that stay crisp long after you've fried them.
My last trick is to improve the texture of the shrimp by soaking them in an alkali solution (such as baking soda and water). It's certainly not necessary, but It gives the shrimp a snap, kind of like the texture when you bite into a good sausage. You can read more about this on my Wonton Soup post.
Served with a tangy, sweet and spicy sauce, these Fried Wontons are irresistibly good, and while 60 may sound like a lot, they'll disappear before you know it!
- (optional) Add 1 tablespoon of baking soda to 4 cups of ice water and stir to dissolve. Add the shrimp and soak in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Drain, rinse well and then pat dry with paper towels.
- Roughly chop the shrimp into 1/3-inch pieces. Add them to a bowl with the ground pork, scallions, oyster sauce, shaoxing, sesame oil, potato starch and white pepper.
- Put some gloves on and knead the mixture together until evenly combined.
- Prepare a bowl a small bowl of water to use to seal the wontons, and a tray lined with parchment paper to line up your wontons.
- Put a wrapper in the palm of your non-dominant hand (if you're right handed that's your left hand) and add a small spoonful of filling to the center of the wrapper.
- Fold the wonton wrapper in half diagonally so that it forms a triangle.
- Put your index finger below the bulge where the filling is and press down from the top of the wrapper with your thumb and middle finger.
- This should form an indentation in the middle of the wonton that makes two of the corners curve in toward each other.
- Bring those two corners together and use a little water to seal them together. Repeat until you run out of wrappers or filling.
- Add 1-inch of vegetable oil to a heavy bottomed pot and heat to 360 degrees F (180 C). Prepare a paper towel lined wire rack.
- Fry the wontons in batches turning them over once to ensure even frying until they are golden brown and crisp. Drain the fried wontons on the paper towels.
- Chop the green part of the scallions and sprinkle on top as garnish. Mix the Thai chili sauce and vinegar together to make a dipping sauce.