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Crispy Golden Dumplings - Fried Wonton & Shui Jiao

Crispy Fried Wontons recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

On the fifth day of Chinese New Year, my true love gave to me, five golden dumplings...

Today is Dumpling Day 饺子 - the fifth day of the Spring Festival.  It is a day of prosperity and good fortune, symbolized with dumplings in the shapes of Chinese gold ingots and money bags.  The more you eat, the more well-off you are destined to be in the New Year.

The day also has a deeper meaning.  The round-shape of a dumpling signifies the reunion of a family.   But it is more than a representation, as daughters return home for the New Year to help their mother prepare the dumplings for the family to enjoy together.

How to wrap wontons by SeasonWithSpice.com

In Malaysia, we prepare the classic Cantonese style dumplings - Wontons and Shui Jiao.  Wonton, which means Swallowing Cloud 云吞, can either be deep-fried or boiled, and is generally in the shape of a ‘money bag’.  Shui Jiao, or Water Dumpling 水饺, is a crescent shape dumpling, typically boiled and served in a soup broth.

How to deep fry wonton dumplings by SeasonWithSpice.com

Since it’s Chinese New Year – a time of wealth over health - we can afford to deep-fry them all up for a crispy, delectable snack.

It begins with the Pavlovian sizzle when each little dumpling hits the hot oil, and peaks when you finally crunch a golden one between your teeth and the filling bursts with bits of sweet shrimp and pork and juicy water chestnut, and has you wishing every day was Dumpling Day.

Crispy Fried Wontons recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

Fried Wonton & Shui Jiao recipe by Season with Spice
Makes about 35 dumplings

Wonton wrappers
2 tbsp cornstarch or tapioca starch - the "glue" for wrapping the dumplings
Oil for deep frying
1/2 lb medium prawns - shelled, deveined, and diced (keep a few chunkier pieces for texture)
1/2 lb ground pork - diced
1/2 cup fresh water chestnuts - diced
2 clove garlic - minced
3 spring onions (green part only) - thinly sliced
1 tbsp fresh ginger - minced
1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp of sesame oil
1 tbsp Chinese rice wine (optional)
Pinch of salt and generous dash of white pepper

1. In a large bowl, combine prawns, pork, water chestnuts, garlic, ginger, and spring onions. Add in seasoning and mix well. The filling is now ready.
2. Dilute cornstarch in a small bowl as the “glue” for wrapping.
3. Working with one wrapper at a time, place 1 to 1 1/2 tsp filling in the center. Then brush the edges of the wrapper with a bit of the cornstarch mixture and fold according to your desired shape, pressing the edges firmly together to seal.
4. Heat oil in a wok. You can check when it’s ready by sticking the handle of a wooden chopstick or spoon into the oil, and if bubbles form around it, the oil is ready. If you have a thermometer, the temperature should be between 350F to 370F for deep frying. [Safety note: Never heat oil unattended]
5. Place wontons into the heated oil by sliding them in one at a time. Fry the wontons for a few minutes, turning them occasionally to ensure all sides are cooked until golden brown.
6. Dish out and drain on paper towel. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

1. You can substitute the ground pork or shrimp with ground chicken or turkey.
2. The addition of water chestnut will give a juicy crunch to the wontons. If you can’t find water chestnut, try adding in jicama (turnip).
3. Wontons can be prepared a night before (through Step 3 above), and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Tips & Techniques for wonton wrapping:
1. Be careful not to overfill the wonton or it may break open when frying.
2. If you find the wrappers to be too thick, use a rolling pin to lightly flatten them.
3. To prevent the wrapped wontons from sticking to the plate before they are cooked, dust the plate with some cornstarch.

Methods for folding wontons (after filling has been added, and diluted cornstarch brushed on edge of wrappers)

A. Gold ingot shape - using square wrappers
  • Fold together two opposite corners to form a sealed, triangle shaped wonton. Lay the triangle flat, then fold the two bottom corners of the triangle toward you, crossing over the ‘belly’ of the wonton. Stick the two overlapping corners together to form the gold ingot shape.
B. Money bag shape – using square wrappers
  • Lift up all edges of the wrapper at the same time and pinch together to seal into a money bag shape.
C. Simple crescent shape – using circle wrappers
  • Fold in half and seal tight.
Fried wonton dipping sauce of fresh ginger with black vinegar by SeasonWithSpice.com

Try dipping the golden dumplings in Thai sweet chili sauce, Szechuan chili oil, or black vinegar with thin slices of ginger.

Crispy Fried Wontons recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com