In the Aylwin household we are not very complicated in our daily food routine but we do enjoy a variety of worldwide cuisines every week. We have always enjoyed teaching our children about different cultures and culinary styles of many different nations. Whether it is a simple dish of Bavarian style meatballs on Monday, or French Beef Burgundy (Boeuf Bourguignon) on Tuesday, or possibly some andouille potato crepes of French origin on Wednesday, we try to include many cuisines in our diet.
We love Dominican style coconut tres leches (creme brulee) for dessert on occasion and it’s not uncommon for us to whip up some old time favorites like bananas foster or cherries jubilee, as well. But one of my favorite little dishes is pork wontons. For those of us who love to make everything ourselves from scratch, wontons are simple and delicious. The history of the simple wonton goes back as far as medieval times and most food historians confirm that wontons and most wheat based products such as bread, noodles, etc., originated in northern China.
And while some Italians would disagree, stories have it that Marco Polo arrived in China in the early 13th century to discover lots of little stuffed noodle dishes (including wontons) and was so impressed that he brought a few of the recipes back to Italy. Have you ever heard that pizza was originally discovered in China? It remains a very good possibility.
History finds wonton like recipes among early Jewish and Russian cuisines, as well. It is well documented that leftover parts of stews and soups often made their way into stuffed noodles and dumplings as a way of stretching out another meal for another day. And it is this chef’s opinion that this frugality should be a part of every family’sdinner routine.
And so wontons are a great little way to use parts and pieces from another meal or just a great little appetizer to munch on while watching a football game or entertaining friends. And the great part? They are simple to make.
• 1 egg
• 1/3 cup water
• 2 cups all purpose flour
• 1/2 tsp salt
Beat egg in medium bowl. Mix salt and flour in separate bowl and form a well in the middle slowly add water and egg until completely incorporated, drop dough onto lightly floured surface and knead to an elastic consistency. Cut dough into 2 separate balls and cover with a damp cloth for at least 15 minutes. Cut balls into 4 equal pieces. Roll pieces into10 inch squares and cut each squre into 9 (3 1/2 inch) squares.
• Minced cooked pork (or lamb)
• Minced fresh ginger
• Fine chop scallion
• Dash of hoisin sauce
• Dash of soy sauce
• Touch of fresh garlic
Combine these ingredients and set a small amount in middle of each 3 1/2 inch square. With your finger rub a little water around all 4 sides of the wonton and fold corner to corner. At this point you can either boil in a pan of lightly salted water for a soft dumpling or fry in vegetable oil for a delectable crispy effect. Serve with a shredded broccoli slaw or carrot shred. Sprinkle a touch of rice wine vinegar and sugar over some shredded romaine if you would like, as well. Bon Appetit!!!
If you would like to skip the making of the wonton wrapper just visit Vivi at the Asian Depot on the east trail in Naples. If you haven’t visited her store yet, Wow! Are you in for a treat!
Chef Bob Aylwin is the Owner/Operator of “Premier Catering”, you can reach him at (239) 200-8407.