Saturday, December 18, 2010

Wontons a.k.a. Chinese Krepelach - Meat

I've been posting sweet things up until now. But my eldest daughter asked me about making Won-Tons. So, we fired up the old browser and checked out some options. I always thought making the skins would be difficult. Turns out, not so much. It's really just an easy pasta dough. The trick is the rolling out. And of course making a good filling.

2 cups flour
1 egg
pinch of salt
1/4 -1/2 cup water

3/4 lbs (350g) ground beef
3 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger root
2 green onions
4 tbsp soy sauce

A clear chicken broth is best, I think.

So, as a I said, the dough was pretty simple. We actually used whole wheat flour and it came out just fine. Put all the flour in a bowl and make a well. Mix the egg, salt and 1/4 cup water together and pour into the well. Mix everything together, you may need to add a bit more water for it to stick together but you don't want the dough to be sticky. Knead until it starts getting soft and pliable. Then like any pasta dough you need to let it sit for about 45-60 minutes. Supposedly this is to let the gluten relax, since getting mixed seems to stress it out. Granted, it's gonna get thrown in a pot of boiling water, which might stress it out again.

Anyway, while it's chilling you can make the filling. We went for some classic flavors, but you can probably do all sorts of fun stuff. In our case, we finely chopped the garlic and ginger then mixed it in to the ground beef, followed by the soy sauce. I didn't do the green onions until right before we put the filling in the wrappers and that was a rough cut.
Once the dough had rested it was time to roll it out and learn the trick of proper Won-Tonning. Don't use regular flour when rolling it out. That makes the dough hard and chewy. You need to use corn starch.
Roll it out as thin as you can manage. My daughter got it almost translucent.

We split the dough in half before doing this, to make it more manageable. Then cut it into squares, roughly 2-3 inches on a side. Let's just say, we weren't very exact.

Or very square, for that matter. It doesn't change how it tastes though. Now it's time to start putting it all together. Make sure your soup is boiling and make balls of the ground beef after adding the chopped green onions, about an inch across.

Then fold it up. I was pretty bad at this, but my son and daughter had it down. Just fold it over and press closed, then twist the sides back around.
Then it's as easy as tossing it into the soup. It really can't overcook since the broth keeps it moist.
That said if you do leave it too long in the broth the skin does tend to get a bit mushy, so my recommendation is to toss them in about 15-20  before you want to serve the soup, when it's a good rolling boil.

Needless to say it is very tasty and they all got eaten up very quickly. Turned out much easier and quicker than I thought. The dough takes about 15 minutes to mix and knead, then about 45 minutes to relax. The ground beef takes about 5 minutes to put together. Making a couple dozen Won-Tons took maybe 15 with two of us working. So, about 30 minutes actual prep time.
Next week we'll try deep frying them!

Shavua Tov!

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