Chili Pepper Wontons

Wontons are a popular dumpling common in Chinese cuisine. In Cantonese, the word wonton can be  translated to mean “swallowing clouds.” These bite-sized savory dumplings are conveniently wrapped up in elegant little packages, bursting with complex flavors. Deciding what to fill them with leaves us with endless possibilities. My dad and I watched some wonton pot stickers prepared on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and our mouths immediately began to water. We had to attempt making them – either that or travel to the Blue Koi Restaurant in Kansas City, MO where they were featured.

My dad, who is a true meat lover, has been experimenting with grinding meats with the KitchenAid attachment; We decided this would be a perfect dish to showcase his new hobby. Of course, you don’t have to go to the trouble of grinding your own meat. You can purchase it from your butcher or grocery store. A food processor also works well for this purpose.

For our recipe, we used a combination of ground chicken, pork and shrimp. Generally, the meat stuffing in wontons incorporates pork. You may certainly substitute the pork with lamb, veal, mushrooms or any combination of protein that suites your tastes. The chili garlic sauce, along with fresh cilantro and green onions impart a bright component to these tasty wontons. If we can make them, so can you!

imageA combination of ground pork, chicken, and shrimp

Ingredients

Filling
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground chicken
1/2 pound ground shrimp
2 tbsp light soy sauce 2 tbsp mirin or sake (or any sweet white wine)
1 tsp sesame seed oil (it has a very powerful flavor)
1 tsp ground white pepper
Handful of green onions, roughly chopped

Wontons
One 12 oz package of wonton wraps. Nasoya All Natural Wonton Wraps are perfect and can be found in almost every grocery store.

wontonpackage

Instructions

For the filling, combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.

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Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup light soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp garlic chili sauce (more or less)
2 drops sesame seed oil
1 tsp white pepper
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp garlic, minced
Handful cilantro, roughly chopped
Handful green onions, roughly chopped

Instructions

While the meats are marinating, prepare the dipping sauce by combining all of the ingredients into a bowl and whisk thoroughly.

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Finished dipping sauce

To form each dumpling, spoon approximately 1 tbsp of meat stuffing onto the center of a wonton wrapper.

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Draw your finger moistened with water along the edges of the wonton wrapper. This will allow the dumpling edges to adhere to one another.

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Fold one corner of the wrapper over the opposite corner to form a triangle. Press the edges together to seal.

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Holding the wrapper with both hands, curl the corners inward and seal them together pressing firmly. Moisten lightly with water to form a tight seal.

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I could definitely use more practice shaping my wontons.  Try not to get discouraged if this is your first attempt. They will still taste fantastic!

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Steaming Wontons

Wontons can be steamed, pan-fried, or even deep-fried.  I prefer them to be steamed first and then pan-fried with a little sesame oil so they turn slightly crispy, yet remain soft and tender to the bite.

Steaming Add about 1/2 cup of water to a non-stick skillet (enough to fill the pan about 1/4-inch).

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Over medium-high heat, bring the water to a steady boil.

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Once the water starts to boil, add the dumplings.

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Cover and reduce the heat to a medium boil.

image Cook covered for 5-7 minutes until the water has evaporated.

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The wontons are delightful when served steamed.

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Pan-Frying Wontons

You can go one step further if you prefer them slightly crisped.  (It’s best to brown them after they have been steamed in order to avoid a hot oil mess. Adding water directly to hot oil will cause it to splatter. Therefore, it’s safer to steam the wontons with water first and then crisp them with oil.)

After you have steamed the wontons by following the above steps, heat 1-2 tsp of sesame oil (or vegetable oil) in the same non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.

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When the pan is very hot, place the wontons in a single layer, flat side down.

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Flip to brown the other side.

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Let the wontons cook until they are golden brown on each side, about 1-2 minutes.

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Serve with the delicious spicy dipping sauce and enjoy!

Yield: 6 servings

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Note: You can shape the raw wontons and then freeze them for weeks. Defrost them 30 minutes prior to cooking.

We enjoyed making these “swallowing clouds” so much that we were literally gobbling them up as they came off the stove. We think this might make a great party food for a crowd that likes to be in the kitchen. Pair the dumplings with a favorite beer or a crisp white wine like Sauvignon Blanc.

6 responses to “Chili Pepper Wontons

  1. I just wanted to take a moment and say fantastic recipe. Though we haven’t been to Blue Koi to try theirs I would bet that you are quite close. I made these for a bunch of family and friends and my Chinese Grandma was stunned with just how good your recipe is 🙂

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  2. Really? That is so fantastic and what I love to hear! The fact that your grandma enjoyed them is the biggest compliment. Hope you had as much fun making them as I did 🙂 thank you!!

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  3. Just wanted to let you know that I live in Overland Park, KS and my husband and I are a good 10-minute driving distance to Blue Koi (in Leawood, KS). We LOVE their spicy chili wontons and it is our go-to appetizers every time we go! I was craving for these suckers last week and decided to go on line and search for the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives segment but couldn’t find it so I stumbled upon this gem that you have 🙂 We tried the dipping sauce per your instructions and just wanted to let you know that I had to double the water to 1 cup, and the sugar to 2 Tbsp. Let me tell yah, with the adjustments, it came very, very, very close to the one that they serve in Blue Koi! Thank you very much again for the recipe!!!

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    • Thanks so much Maria! These are so fun to make and so tasty. I do agree that the dipping sauce is too salty and adding more water and sugar is a perfect solution. I’m definitely doing that next time. Thank you for that suggestion!

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  4. Thanks for this recipe! I saw the D-D & D episode earlier this year and wanted to try these because they looked easy. I found your recipe and wanted to let you know I modified it into a delicious soup! Unfortunately I couldn’t use it as posted because my husband absolutely can’t have garlic and we eat gluten free and I don’t think rice paper works as wonton skins.
    Anyway, instead of putting the meat mixture into wonton skins, I leave them as meatballs. I double the meat mixture, use a chicken stock base, and boil the meatballs in about 4 batches, in the stock, in a tall stock pot. When the meatballs are pre-cooked (barely 2 minutes per batch – just until they float), I return them to the stock and then add on top of them, a pound of fresh, sliced crimini mushrooms, sliced Shangai bock choy (5-7 plants), a small Chinese cabbage, sliced, and finally a cup of sliced snow pea pods. I let it all cook down and the flavours marry. Besides gluten free, we eat low carb and this is really flavourful and satisfying.

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