Pork and Shrimp Wontons with Spicy Chili Oil – The Slanted Door
Am I the only one that thinks wontons are sexy? Not the steamed, dry, plump (and delicious) potstickers, but the sloppily made, boiled ones, dripping in sauce. Like this for instance:
I could write an entire post on foods that are sexy, all the while avoiding the obvious ones like oysters and chocolate. I mean, why don’t we discuss artichokes as sexy. Clearly, they are. Poached eggs, extremely high sex appeal. Heirloom tomatoes… so hot.
But this conversation is for another day, onto my wontons.
Since I started this blog I’ve been dying to do a post on The Slanted Door. It’s by far my most beautiful cookbook. The pictures are heavenly and the story is wonderful. If you are even remotely interested in Asian flavors and cooking, you would be remiss to not include this cookbook in your collection. I’m reminded by the inscription in the front cover that this cookbook was a gift from my parents to my husband for Christmas in 2014. Since then, we’ve made a number of recipes, some a half dozen times, and I’ve read the cookbook front to back more than once.
Unusually, I have very little criticism for this cookbook aside from the fact that a fairly reasonable portion of it is dedicated to cocktails, which isn’t really my jam. Let me clarify- I love a good cocktail, but I’m really cheap as hell and have a pretty unsophisticated drink palette, so when I see ingredients like Benedictine, Luxardo maraschino liqueur and cachaca (wtf?)… I’m out. I will order these things when I’m at a trendy bar and keeping up with the Jones’ but my home bar is limited to the basics of vodka, rum and tequila. Really, I’m more of a beer and wine girl.
So aside from that, which is clearly a personal preference, I literally find no fault in this book. The recipes are just the right amount of complicated, where I won’t screw it up because I don’t have the skill or patience, but I’m challenged to use new ingredients like cassava root. This isn’t an Ottolenghi book though, you will be able to find almost every single ingredient in this cookbook at your neighborhood grocery store without trouble, with very few exceptions.
I chose to feature the wonton recipe for today, because it was one I’d had marked in this book for years and had yet to make. And also, sexy. But I’m going to throw a wet blanket on all that and say that this was a really fun recipe to make with my kids, mostly because actually putting the wontons together is kind of a pain and it’s nice to use unpaid labor whenever possible with these tasks (i.e. grating cheese, peeling garlic, shucking corn). If you personally have not mastered the art of putting small children to work in tasks that annoy you then hopefully I’ve given you something to strive for.
How did these wontons taste, Shawny? Well reader, I will answer with this simple statement: I have a very picky kid who does not eat seafood nor pork aside from bacon, and that damn kid asked for seconds! I do think that a lot of that stems from the fact that he was more bought in to the meal since he put in the work (which I’ve written about before) but also because it tasted amazing.
The flavor was deep but not overly robust or complicated. It was very easy to eat. There weren’t a bunch of flavors fighting against each other, it was just one delicious bite after another. I wonder though, aside from rice, what other sides do you all serve with wontons? I struggle with feeling that they are so rich and delicious, that I’d like something to break that up. Make something acidic to compliment the chili oil with the wontons?
Also, why the hell is spellcheck trying to tell me wontons are spelled incorrectly? Get your crap together, spellcheck.
EASE AND CONVENIENCE – 3.5 – The preparation of the filling and the boiling was a piece of cake. Actually filling the wonton wrappers… make your kids do… I mean, somewhat time consuming.
TASTE – 4.5 – This recipe was delicious. Anxious to hear if anyone has some great side dishes as it needs a compliment.
COOKBOOK – 5 – My most beautiful cookbook. Full of sexy foods. Need I say more?
These are delicious as is, but clearly the filling could be substituted for what you have available. This recipe is said to feed 10 with about 100 wontons. My experience would be 60 is a closer estimate.
6 oz ground pork
3 oz shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
3 T chopped water chestnuts
1/4 cup finely sliced green onions
1/4 cup fried shallots (see below)
1 cup sliced shallots (for fried shallots)
1 cup canola oil (for shallots)
1/4 t fish sauce
1 T cornstarch
salt and pepper
100 wonton skins – I only had enough filling for around 60. Maybe I overstuffed?
2 T canola oil
1/3 cup canola oil
2 T red pepper flakes
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 T rice vinegar
1/2 t sugar
To make fried shallots, thinly slice around 1 cup of shallots. In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup of canola oil to medium until shimmering and add shallots. Cook until a light brown, around 8 minutes. Remove shallots and let set on a paper towel to remove excess oil. Turn heat for oil pan up to high then add shallots back in, frying for 1 to 2 seconds before removing then letting cool on a paper towel.
For the filling, stir ingredients together.
To form wontons, hold wrapper in one hand and, using the other, scrape around 1/2 t of the filling with a small spoon into the wonton wrapper. Pinch the wrapper so the filling forms a ball and the extra dough forms a skirt. Keep the wontons covered as your continue so they don’t dry out.
Add 2 T of oil to a large pot of boiling, salted, water. Add about a dozen wontons at a time and let cook until they float to the top, around 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove and set aside to drain.
To make the chili oil, warm the oil in a skillet. Once shimmering, turn off and add the red pepper flakes. Let sit for a few minutes, strain, and then add soy sauce, vinegar and sugar to the bowl and stir until dissolved. Sprinkle the sauce over the wontons and serve warm.