What do you do when the craving for Chinese food hits? I usually give in and order takeout from a local place. The sesame chicken and fried rice are my guilty pleasures, but last time, I branched out and ordered dumplings. A dish that looked suspiciously like kneidels was plunked in front of me.
Inspired, I decided to make them myself. Although these are wontons, not dumplings (the difference being that wontons are boiled and dumplings steamed) the difference in taste is negligible, and you don’t need a dumpling steamer for these. Less equipment, more win!
Making these is extremely simple. A mixture of ground meat, flavored with sesame oil and scallions is held together with the help of an egg. A little spoonful of meat is dropped neatly into the center of a wonton and with a few deft folds, voila! A beautiful pocket is produced. They boil for one or two minutes, and are then ready to serve with a spicy, sweet sauce for drizzling and dipping.
These wontons are easy, delicious and a perfect call when the craving for Chinese food hits! They’re salty and savory, with a nutty tinge of sesame, and the dipping sauce is equal parts hot and sweet, adding another dimension of flavor. Serve with a side of snow peas, and you might as well lose that takeout place’s number!
1 lb ground beef
2 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 package wonton or dumpling skins (like these, from Nasoya)
1 Tbsp freshly minced garlic
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp chili oil
2 tsp sesame oil
¼ tsp ground pepper
1 scallion, thinly sliced
In a large bowl, combine the beef, egg, sesame oil, salt, and pepper and mix until everything is well-incorporated. The filling should be sticky and slightly wet.
Place a wonton wrapper on your work surface. Keep the extra wrappers nearby to use as you go. Place one heaping tsp of filling in the center of the wrapper, being careful not to overfill or you won’t be able to seal it.
Use your finger to spread a thin layer of water along the edges of the wrapper around the filling.
Start by folding the wrapper in half to form a rectangle or half circle (depending on the shape of the wrappers you bought), then seal the wrapper all around the filling, gently pushing out any air bubbles.
Dab a little bit of water with your finger on the bottom right corner of the rectangle, then pinch both bottom corners and bring the corners around to the middle and seal the dry corner on top of the wet corner so that they stick together. You will have a little puff of filling surrounded by the sealed wonton.
Place the finished wonton on a plate. Keep the finished wontons covered with a barely damp towel while you repeat the process with the remaining wontons.
Now, make the sauce. In a medium bowl, mix together all the ingredients. Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Put in the wontons (you can add them all at once) and boil for 3 to 4 minutes, until the wontons float to the top. Remove them with a slotted spoon and transfer to a serving dish.
Drizzle the spicy sesame sauce over the wontons and sprinkle the sliced scallions on top. Enjoy hot.
Notes: Don’t overfill the dumplings with filling or they’ll burst out when they boil. A 1/2 tsp or a little more is an ideal measure. Also, these dumplings freeze extremely well. Form and freeze them, then boil for a minute or two longer when you want to cook them.