Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wontons with Red Chili Oil (红油抄手)

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This is a classic Szchuan dish made vegan. Traditionally, this dish has two components -- small one-bite wontons and red chili oil. It is almost always served as an appetizer or snack. Since mine is meant to be enjoyed as the main dish, my wontons are overstuffed and the size of regular wontons that you're likely to find in wonton noddle soup. Mine is certainly not the traditional take, but I think it captures the spirit of the dish.

You'll need:
  • 1 recipe of wontons, below
  • 4 cups of bok choy, blanched for 3 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons chili oil
  • 2 tablespoons chili sauce (Sriracha is fine)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
For the wontons, you'll need:
  • 1 package of wonton wrappers (I used the medium thickness kind because I like the chewiness of the thicker wrapper and I need something that will hold all the stuffing. Traditionally, you would use the thinner wrapper)
  • 16 ounces vegetarian ham or firm unflavored bean curd, minced
  • 1/2 cup minced (about 1 stalk) celery (I prefer Chinese celery, but it can be hard to find. Regular would do just fine in a pinch.)
  • 5 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes and minced
  • 1 scallion, minced (both green and white parts)
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten together with a little water (if you want to keep this vegan, substitute egg with a slurry of 2 tablespoons water and 2 teaspoons starch -- flour, potato, corn, tapioca, or something similar)
Combine chili oil, chili sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar. Mix well and set aside.

Combine minced vegetarian ham, celery, ginger, shiitake mushrooms, scallion, sesame oil, ground white pepper and salt. Mix well.

Place filling mixture in the center of the wonton wrapper.
Wet two adjacent edges with egg wash or starch slurry. Fold wet edges onto dry edges to form a triangle. Pinch shut.
Wet one acute angle and fold onto the opposite angle, like the wonton is hugging itself. Pinch shut.
Boil wontons in a large pot of water for 3 to 5 minutes. Place cooked wontons on top of bed of blanched bok choy. Drizzle with red chili sauce mix. Serve.

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