I started making wontons back in high school. My mom had come across a recipe for "Tex-Mex Wontons" and we made them for pretty much every party we hosted. In essence, it was taco meat folded into a wonton skin and fried. They were awesome.
After college, my friend Susannah showed me how she makes her famous dumplings. You may call them potstickers. Do you know the reason they call them that? If you steam a wonton skin, it becomes soft, pliable and kind of gummy. So, they will stick to a pot in a heartbeat unless you know what you're doing. So what do you do? You fry the bottoms of your dumplings in a thin layer of oil until they are crispy. Then, carefully (very, very carefully) add water to the pan and cover it quickly to steam. The fried bottom keeps the dumpling from sticking to your pot. Skip this step and you have one stuck-to-the-pot fiasco.
So, ever since Susannah taught me this technique, I've been making my own. They are ridiculously easy and so darn tasty.
Tonight's batch started with about a pound of ground pork. I grated ginger and garlic over the meat, added chopped green onion and chopped water chestnuts. Then I added just a little soy sauce for flavor and mixed it all up with my hands.
Then, I placed about 2 teaspoons of meat into the center of my wonton wrapper, wet the edges with water and just twisted them up.
Like I said, heat a thin layer of oil in a skillet with a good fitting lid. Fry the bottoms of the dumplings until they are browned and easily lift from the skillet. Next, add about 1/4 cup of water. I shield myself with the lid as I add the water to prevent spatter and then cover it quickly. Let steam a couple of minutes and that's all she wrote.
I like to mix up a dipping sauce of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and some sliced green onion. Simple and delicious.
Tonight, I served the dumplings with a vegetable fried rice, using peas, carrots, green beans, onions and scrambled egg.
This is a great way to spice up dinner at home and you can make big batches and freeze these little babies for another day. And, just like stir-fry or fried rice, you can make your dumpling filling with pretty much whatever you have available: ground pork, turkey, chicken. Ginger & garlic, green onion, carrot, bean sprouts, you name it. Don't let this simple dish not make its way into your home. So very easy and something interesting on the plate. Enjoy!