Wontons are a very popular dish all throughout China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Beijing, and Shanghai, as well as the rest of the world where people enjoy eating Chinese and Asian foods. They have been around since the Tang Dynasty, which ruled China from the 7th through the 10th centuries. At this time, they were primarily eaten by the emperor and the empress. It wasn’t until much later when wontons gained widespread popularity with the people of China and other Asian countries. The most popular way to eat wontons is in soup, although they are eaten in a variety of other ways in all parts of Asia as well. One of the main reasons for their popularity is because they are the cheapest way to eat a filling meal, especially when they are served with noodles and/or in a broth, as part of a soup.
Wontons and dumplings are very similar, but they also have their own specific characteristics as well. Wontons are made from a thin dough that is usually filled with a combination of pork and other ingredients, often times mixing different meats and vegetables together. The word wonton has different meanings in both Mandarin and Cantonese. The Mandarin word for wonton is “huntun” and means “chaos” because of the way the dough is wrapped and scrunches everything together. In the Cantonese language, wonton means “swallowing the cloud” because of the shape of the wonton and how it floats in the soup broth. Wontons can be fried or steamed, served in a soup or eaten by themselves. Dumplings are made with a thicker dough and are usually only filled with one type of meat or only vegetables, and they are most often steamed.
So whether you are eating a little chaos with your meal or prefer to be ” swallowing the clouds’, both ways are very tasty and delicious. As with any dish that is very popular in many regions of the world, there are always many variations of how to make them. There is never only one right way to make them and there are always endless possibilities and variations.
As usual, I had some leftovers that needed to be used, so I turned them into wontons. I learned to be very creative with leftovers many moons ago, because as is so often the case, I usually only have a small amount, which is too little to eat on their own, and I hate for things to go to waste, so I find other, creative ways of using them. I served my wontons alongside my scallops and vegetable stir-fry, Scallops and Vegetable Stir-Fry with a Spicy Citrus Sauce to make a delicious dinner with a lot of tasty Asian influences.
I had some leftover spinach and sausage (dried salami) mixture with rice and lentils that I combined with more spinach, garlic, onions and ginger to make my wonton filling.
I sauteed the vegetables and sausage together in olive oil until everything was cooked, then I added the rice and lentils.
Once the filling was made, I added about 1 TBSP of filling to the center of the uncooked wonton wrappers.
Once the filling is in place, dip your finger into some water and just run it along the edges of the wonton wrapper. Then bring all four corners together and pinch them together tightly, to make a little “purse”. Make sure to pinch the ends tightly to ensure a tight seal.
I like my wontons deep fried, so I placed them in the deep fryer for about 3 minutes, or until they were golden brown and light and crispy. They had the perfect crunch. I apologize for my deep fryer’s condition. It is old and is very well used, but it still gets the job done.