Here in the infinite kitchen I don’t always make Italian dishes. For example, yesterday I was longing for won ton dumplings, but lately when I buy them from a restaurant there is something in there that gives me heart palpitations and keeps me up all night, so I decided to make my own. “How hard could it be,” I thought to myself, “when I can buy won ton wrappers already made?” Well folks, it’s not hard, but it IS time consuming filling fifty won tons, folding them, and pressing them around all sides with a fork. However, once that was done, I saw that I could freeze some, eat some and even give some away and the whole batch cost me about ten dollars. Asian people know how to stretch their ingredients!
I made up my filling recipe, but I went on a You Tube video to see how to saute them and steam them and I found a video of some young people videoing their granny making home made dumplings. She heated up some oil in a skillet and added the supposedly just made dumplings, but they loudly clattered into the pan. The young people videoing their granny got hysterical laughing. “Well,” they said,”I guess you can see that frozen dumplings work also.”
I promptly froze half my batch of dumplings and then followed their cooking directions for the ones I planned to eat for dinner. Sooo good. I do believe Marco Polo brought home the noodle from China because won ton noodles are as light and airy as lasagna noodles and my next thing will be to use them to make lasagna. Watch for that one.
1 lb ground organic turkey (reduced fat but not all white meat)
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
3 stalks of the slimmest inner celery heart including leaves, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or pressed
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped or 1/2 tsp dried ginger
1 tbsp basil, finely chopped (that’s the only fresh herb I ever have)
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 pkg of won ton wrappers
1 to 2 tbsp cooking oil for sauteing
1 tsp fresh ginger
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
First, get out your ingredients and assemble them on your counter. On your chopping board, chop the onion, press the garlic, chop the celery and the basil. Make the dipping sauce by placing all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and stirring them together. Set the sauce aside.
In a large bowl place the ground turkey and all the other ingredients except for the won ton wrapprs and the dipping sauce ingredients. Mix up the filling with your hands, as if you are making a meat loaf, until it is well mixed . The filling will be moist, but not runny.
Set up a counter area with long pieces of waxed paper, enough paper to allow for twenty wrappers at a time. I like to use the assembly line approach. Fill a small dish with water and keep it handy. Also have a salad fork ready for pressing around the dumplings. I know that the chinese don’t press with a fork, but I could not pinch my dumplings the way they do without the filling falling out, so I decided to use the same method I use for making ravioli. Sorry chinese grannies everywhere, but my Italian granny did it this way for ravioli and it works for me.Take a rounded teaspoon of filling and place it in the center of the won ton in a straight line. Dip your finger in water and brush the water all around the edges of the wonton. Fold it in a triangle and pinch it closed.
Place it back on the counter and press around all the edges with a fork. You can even dip the fork in water before pressing all the edges closed. Sometimes a bit of filling might escape. Just wipe it away with the edge of your finger and wipe your hands on a paper towel before continuing on to the next won ton to be filled. Place your won tons on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and put them in the freezer. When they are frozen, place them in a freezer plastic bag until ready to use them.
How to cook fresh dumplings:
Heat the oil in a 8 to 10 inch non-stick skillet on medium high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add 8 to 10 dumplings to the skillet. Lay them flat in a single layer. Saute them for two minutes. Flip them over and brown the other side which browns much faster – like 1/2 a minute.
Pour in one cup of water, add 1 tsp of sesame oil, bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to simmer and clap a top on the skillet. Steam the dumplings for 5 to 7 minutes. Take off the heat, place dumplings in a soup dish and serve with dipping sauce on the side. Heavenly!!