The wonton has to be one of the most versatile food ever to be created. First of all, the stuffing, which is traditionally seasoned minced pork, can also be a combination of shrimp and pork, ala Cantonese style shrimp wontons. Or have leeks added, which is a popular Northern Chinese style. Then there is the cooking method. The traditional way is to boil and serve in a soup, such as the regular wonton soup. But it can also be deep-fried and served with dipping sauce. And then there’s the Sichuan style, where the wontons are boiled, drained and then serve in a spicy chili oil black vinaigrette sauce. These are called Sichuan Red Oil Wontons.
Sichuan Red Oil Wontons are more popularly known as Red Oil Chao Shou (紅油抄手). When literally translated, Chao Shou means ‘crossed hands’ or ‘arms folded’. The name may have originated from its similarity to the way people might fold their arms across their chests during the cold weather in Sichuan, which is exactly how the two lower corners of the wonton are folded after it’s been shaped into a triangle, crossed over the meat filled mid section.
This tantalizing little appetizer is appealing anytime, especially during cold weather. One bite of the savory wonton accompanied by the heat of the chili oil is enough to warm the very cockles of your heart.
Sichuan spicy chili oil
Spicy black vinaigrette sauce
20 wonton wrappers
cornstarch solution (to wrap wontons: mix 1 tablespoon of water with 2 tablespoons cornstarch)
A wide surface stockpot
2-3 cups water (to boil wontons)
Sichuan Spicy Chili Oil:
1/2 cup oil
2 tablespoons dried red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
1 stalk scallion, cut into 2-inch lengths
1 shallot, sliced
1. In a bowl, mix chili flakes, Sichuan peppercorns, scallions and shallots.
2. Heat up oil in a wok to smoking point. When the oil is ready, carefully pour the hot oil over mixed ingredients in step 1.
3. Let it sit for 2 hours or overnight.
4. Drain the oil into a storage container. Discard strained ingredients. Sichuan Spicy chili oil is ready to use.
Spicy Black Vinaigrette Sauce:
1/3-1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons regular black vinegar, Chinkiang, or balsamic (I prefer regular)
2-3 tablespoons Sichuan spicy chili oil (or store bought chili oil)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2-1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn powder (may use less depending on your heat tolerance)
2 tablespoons fried garlic (or 2 clove garlic, minced)
1 stalk scallion, finely chopped
a handful cilantro leaves, chopped
In a bowl, mixed all the Sauce ingredients and let it sit for 15 minutes.
8 oz ground pork
2 stalks scallions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 dash of white pepper
Mix all the ingredients thoroughly.
To Make Hand Crossed Wontons:
Please click on the gallery above (picture 2) to learn how to fold the wontons.
1. Place about a teaspoon of wonton fillings in the center of the wonton wrapper.
2. Place the wrapper with 4 corners facing up, down, left and right.
3. Lift the bottom corner and make a 1 1/2 turn fold over the wonton filling, with bottom corner tucked under the filling.
4. Use both left and right thumb, lightly pressed down both left and right corners of the wrapper between the filling.
5. Lightly brush some cornstarch solution from left to right corners.
6. Fold wonton in a crossed hands fashion (over lapping at 45 degrees), left corner to the center, and then right to center.
7. Press firmly to seal wonton.
To Cook wontons:
Bring water to boil. Carefully drop the wontons, and as soon as the wontons started boiling, give it a quick stir to prevent sticking. Boil wontons for 3-5 minutes, or until the wontons float to the top of the pot and thoroughly cooked. If boiling water appears too starchy, wontons will not float and get cooked. If necessary, add some water and continue boiling until wontons are done. Dish up, toss them in the Spicy Black Vinaigrette dipping sauce, and ready to serve.
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