Look what I made this weekend! WONTONS!
Ok, I'm ridiculously excited to have completed a project like this. Wontons seemed completely insurmountable before I tried making them. Now they seem eminently doable. I can make as many wontons as I want! I can fill them with any combination of delicious items that may come into my head! THE WORLD IS MINE FOR THE TAKING!
I must admit that I used premade wonton skins, but I am ok with relying on them for my first expedition. The Asian grocery had several different options. I chose medium skins, so I could work through my initial awkward folding process without worrying about ripping every wonton in half. I hear that thin skins are the best, however.
Sweet potato-tofu-chive wontons
an egg/flax substitute
wonton wrappers (square)
a bowl of water for adhesive purposes
First, cook sweet potato by your method of choice. I actually cooked mine in the microwave, solely because that method was fastest. Baking or steaming your sweet potato should work out fine, however. Leftover sweet potato is also a great plan.
While your potato is cooking, press a block of firm tofu. I got my tofu out of the 4-for-$1 bulk bin at the Asian market, so I'm actually not certain of its firmness. Just avoid silken tofu and everything should be fine.
If you've never pressed tofu before, don't worry; it's easy. Put your tofu between two cutting boards, preferably in the sink. Put a spoon or something under one end so the whole business is slightly tilted. Then put a pot filled with water (or something similarly heavy and resistant to water damage) on top. Let the business sit for at least fifteen minutes, and longer if you have time. This will let liquid drain out of the tofu and make it a bit firmer.
When your tofu is pressed and your sweet potato cool enough to touch, it's time to make the wonton filling.
Skin your potato and chop it into tiny cubes. Chop your tofu into similar cubes. Finely chop a handful of Chinese chives or scallions. Use a teaspoon to scrape the skin off a one to two inch chunk of ginger; mince finely.
Put all these into a large mixing bowl. Season with soy sauce and sesame oil. Mix everything together until it looks like this.
If you're concerned about cohesion, crack an egg into the mix and stir until well blended. Vegan subs like the flax-in-water trick should work well here, but I also think it would be ok to just leave the egg out entirely.
The filling is ready; it's time to wrap wontons. I followed the method given here, which was not as hard as it looks in the pictures (er, her pictures. I didn't even try to take pictures of my own hands on my first wonton-wrapping endeavor).
It's definitely hard to describe how to fold these, but here's the basic technique. First, make sure you have wrappers, a bowl of water, and filling all in easy reach. Put a scant teaspoon of filling into the center of your wonton wrapper. Use your finger to wet all four edges of the wrapper, and then fold to create a rectangle. Wet the lower left corner of the wonton. Last, twist the opposite right corner down to meet the wet corner, and press together to seal.
I'm pretty sure I did this wrong, as I ended up connecting the front right corner to the front left instead of connecting the back right corner to the front left. On the other hand, the wontons did definitely hold together, and that's the most important part, right?
I put my finished wontons in the tray I'd saved from our last pack of premade wontons. This was an excellent plan until I ran out of space. Oh no! Well, due to our icemaking refrigerator, we also had a stack of unused ice trays in the cabinet. Perfect!
After about an hour of folding, I ran out of filling. I only had one wrapper rip the entire time! Hooray! I will definitely be trying out some thinner wrappers next time.
Finished product: 48 wontons. I actually haven't eaten any of these yet; instead, I froze them all in their trays, then transferred them to a large bag. Gloating accomplished.
So now we have a several-months' supply of tasty vegetarian wontons. I have a new skill, and wontons besides. Now, of course, I really want to make a gigantic batch of various other kinds of wontons as well...we will see.