Wednesday, February 19, 2014

the valley of amazement and a recipe for pork wontons

To celebrate Amy Tan's latest book, The Valley of Amazement, I prepared some homemade Chinese food for the book group. The book is a non-stop read, spanning three generations of women whose lives and stories of love and loss intertwine from China to San Francisco and back. I prepared  my own version of cashew chicken, marinated thigh meat tossed with thinly sliced baby zucchini and onion, beef chow fun made with pappardelle and thinly sliced bok choy, and of course a hit at every party, crispy pork wontons.  You might think 48 pieces is more than enough, but guess what, ever bite disappears!

Pork Wonton Recipe:

1 lb fresh ground pork
1/3 cup chopped green onion
5-6 oz of water chestnuts, drained
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. corn starch
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic chili paste
½ tsp fish sauce
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp. minced garlic
1 egg, beaten
Vegetable oil
1 package wonton skins

In a small food processor, blend water chestnuts  and green onion till rough paste. In a mixing bowl, add all the other ingredients except the egg and oil.  Add the green onion mixture and mix well.  Cook a small piece of the meat mixture in the microwave to taste for seasoning—and add if needed.

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper or foil—spray with non-stick spray.  Lay out a wonton wrapper, moisten 2 sides with beaten egg, add tsp of pork filling, fold over, seal well and pull points of wonton up into a little U.  Place on cookie sheet and repeat.  Recipe will make 45-50 wontons.  You can cook them immediately or the wontons can be covered with foil and frozen on cookie sheets till ready to use.  Fry in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot in oil heated to 350 degrees till golden brown and serve with favorite sauces (hot mustard, sweet and sour sauce, garlic chili sauce, etc.)

To stack cookie sheets in a small freezer, use a couple of small bowls as risers.
 Frozen wontons go from the freezer directly into the fryer with no problem.