Wontons are a type of Chinese dumpling. Hoành Thánh is the Vietnamese equivalent and they are made similarly. There are many different fillings in wontons but the base filing is always a mixture of ground shrimp, ground pork and some seasoning.
Wontons are made by spreading a scant of shrimp and pork mixture onto a square egg wrapper. Water or a beaten egg is then brushed along the edges of the wrapper, then folded over and pinched to seal.
There are many ways to cook wontons. They can be steamed, boiled, pan-fried, deep-fried or a combination of these techniques (pan-fried first then add a little bit of water to steam with a covered lid).
Wontons can also be served in variety of ways. In Vietnamese cuisine, they are usually a component in soups as in Vietnamese Egg Noodle Wonton Soup (Mì Hoành Thánh). In American-Chinese cuisine, they are fried and served as appetizers and accompanied with a sweet duck sauce, or a tangy vinegar and soy sauce.
Below is a my version of Vietnamese wontons. They are made with the traditional shrimp and pork filling but with the addition of mushrooms and water chestnuts. The water chestnuts provides a subtle yet sweet nontraditional crunch to the wontons. The unexpected crunch also makes people go, "What the hell is that?" where you can have fun with the answers.
Shrimp & Pork Wonton Recipe (Hoanh Thanh Tom Thit)
Makes about 40-50 small wontons
- 8 oz shrimp (peeled, deveined and finely chopped)
- 4 oz ground pork shoulder
- 1/3 cup fried shallots
- 3 tablespoons shallot oil or vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup chopped water chestnuts
- 1 cup chopped mushrooms (King Oyster or Trumpet mushrooms are best)
- 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
- 1 tablespoon minced green onion
- 1-1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 50 wonton wrapper squares (1-lb package)
- 1 egg (lightly beaten)
- Cornstarch for dusting
- Combine all the ingredients listed above (except the egg and corn starch) in a bowl and mix well.
- To form the wontons, place a piece of wonton wrapper in the palm of your hand. Scoop about 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons of shrimp and pork mixture into the center of the wrapper. Brush the edges with the beaten egg and fold the wonton wrapper in half to form a triangle, while pushing the air out of the filling. Pinch the edges together with your fingers to form a seal. You may keep the wontons in simple triangles like I did or fold them into something fancier. Lightly dust each wonton with corn starch to prevent sticking and ripping.
- The wontons are ready for cooking. You can either boil, steam, pan-fry or deep-fry, and enjoy them as an appetizer with the following spicy soy and vinegar sauce. You can also use them as a component in noodle soups.
Spicy Soy & Vinegar Dipping Sauce Recipe
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 Thai chilli pepper (minced)
Mix everything together in a small bowl until combined.