Today marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year celebration, and won tons are often part of the feast. This recipe is adapted from My Grandmother's Chinese Kitchen by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo. Chinese red rice vinegar and Chinese white rice wine are available at Asian markets. There's a big difference among brands of won ton skins; two we recommend are Fung's Village (extra thin) and Wing Hing brands.
Total time: About 1 hour, 30 minutes, plus 4 hours chilling time
Makes about 36 won tons
3/4 pound lean ground pork
1/4 pound shrimp (about 8 large shrimp), shelled, deveined and finely diced
1 1/2 cups finely sliced scallions (about 3 bunches)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon grated ginger
4 fresh water chestnuts, peeled and finely diced or 1/4 cup finely diced jicama
1 tablespoon Chinese white rice wine or gin
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon light (not low-sodium) soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce
Pinch white pepper
1 package won ton skins
3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
In a large, wide bowl, mix together the pork, shrimp, scallions, garlic, ginger, water chestnuts or jicama, Chinese white rice wine or gin, egg whites, 1 teaspoon salt, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce and white pepper until thoroughly blended. Use your hands if necessary. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 4 hours, or cover and refrigerate overnight.
To make won tons, work with one won ton skin at a time, keeping the remainder under a damp towel. Keep a bowl of water at hand to wet the edges of the skins. Dust a baking sheet with the cornstarch and set aside. Place about 2 teaspoons of filling in the center of a won ton skin, wet the edges, fold in half into a triangle and seal the edges. Fold the point of the triangle to the long edge. Moisten the remaining two triangle points and bring them together to form a packet, pressing to seal. Place on the baking sheet. Repeat until all the filling is used.
Place 15 cups water, the peanut oil and the remaining salt in a large pot, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the won tons, stir and cook for about 8 minutes, until the won tons are translucent and the filling can be seen through the skin. Turn off heat, run cold water into pot and drain. Serve immediately.
Each won ton: 46 calories, 3 grams protein, 6 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams fiber, 1 gram fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 9 milligrams cholesterol, 299 milligrams sodium. Recipe analysis provided by the Los Angeles Times.