Make won ton from scratch, serve it up 'ono
By Joan Namkoong
Special to The Advertiser
Tonight, we're making won tons from scratch — easier than it sounds, just takes a few willing hands. Get everyone together and then enjoy them several different ways.
First, put together the filling. If you want to "grind' the pork the authentic way, mince it with two rapidly wielded Chinese cleavers until it's smooth and fluffy.
WON TON FILLING
• 1 pound fresh ground island pork
• 1 pound shrimp, shelled, deveined and coarsely chopped
• 1/2 cup chopped water chestnuts, about half of an 8-ounce can
• 1/3 cup minced green onion, about 3 medium
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons finely minced ginger
• 2 tablespoons cornstarch
• 3 tablespoons water
Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix together well.
Makes about 2 1/2 pounds.
Per won ton: 50 calories, 2 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 125 mg sodium, 5 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 4 g protein
FILLING THE WON TONS
For the filling recipe, you will need about 60 won ton wrappers (buy these commercially, preferably at a Chinese fresh-noodle shop). To shape the won ton, hold the wrapper like a diamond, one point pointing at you, instead of a square. Moisten two adjoining edges of the diamond with water or a beaten egg. Place about 1 tablespoon of filling on one half of the diamond. Fold the other half of the diamond over and pinch to seal the edges.
You'll now have a triangle; moisten one of the two points on the long side of the triangle. Bring the two points together and press firmly to join.
Place the won tons on a baking sheet; cover and refrigerate until ready to cook. To freeze won tons, arrange them evenly on a baking sheet and put into the freezer. When they are frozen, about 30 to 45 minutes, transfer them to a plastic bag, seal and return to the freezer. When you are ready to cook the won tons, remove them from the freezer and thaw slightly or cook frozen in boiling water.
To cook won ton, bring a large, wide pot of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, add the won ton. Cook them in batches, depending on the size of your pot. They will sink to the bottom; give them a gentle stir so they do not stick to the pot. As the won ton cook, they will float to the surface. Once they reach the surface, let them cook another minute or so before removing them from the water.
You can also fry won tons for homemade "pot stickers" — heat peanut oil in wok, arrange pot stickers in oil, cook until browned, add a half cup or so of water, cover and allow to steam until filling is cooked through.
TO SERVE WON TON
Serve won ton in a good broth — chicken, pork or one made with ham bones. Embellish it with slices of fresh ginger, a few green onions and a drizzle of sesame oil.
TO GARNISH WON TON SOUP
• Fresh, washed, raw spinach leaves (the hot broth will cook them)
• Fresh bok choy, kai choy, watercress or carrots sliced and blanched briefly in boiling water
• Slices of char siu (barbecued pork)
• Chopped green onion
• Fresh cilantro leaves
• Cooked soy beans
• Slices of fresh mushrooms such as ali'i, maitake, hon shimeiji or pepeiau (briefly cook the mushrooms by immersing them in your broth; remove with a strainer)
• Bamboo shoots, cut into julienne strips or slices
• Whole cooked shrimp
Table condiments are a must. Try:
• Hot Chinese mustard
• Soy sauce
• Chili sauce like sambal or Sriracha
• Pickled ginger
• A drizzle of sesame oil
• One of the key ingredients in won ton and Asian cooking in general is fresh ginger. It's one of Hawai'i's finest crops, highly regarded for its pungency and quality. To learn more about ginger, how to peel, cut, grate and mince it, go to www.shareyourtable.com for a video.
• All shrimp is frozen unless you are buying Hawai'i-grown shrimp from a shrimp farm. Your supermarket may have trays of what appear to be fresh shrimp, but they've just thawed them for you.
• When you're making won ton, the size of the shrimp doesn't matter, since you're going to chop it. Small shrimp are fine, though they may require a little more time to prepare than larger shrimp. Larger shrimp tend to be costlier; use them when you're going to prepare them whole. To save time, buy shrimp that are already peeled and deveined.