While these are by no means quick, they are not difficult to make. Once they are complete and frozen you can pull them out of the freezer and reheat them with virtually zero effort and little time invested. They are one of my favorite things to have ready to go in the freezer, and I’m always sad when my supply of them is finally out. They make a great appetizer, or a fun side when you’re having something like stir fry for supper.
This is one of those things I find takes long enough that using the food processor to reduce chopping time is totally worth it. Can you super finely mince the garlic, lemon grass and ginger by hand? You can… but if you have a food processor this is a great use for it!
Time: goes faster with a friend, feels like forever by yourself – probably 30 minutes for the prep + cooking of the filling and minimum another 40 minutes folding and frying by yourself.
Reheat: place a single layer on a preheated 350F oven for about 20-25 minutes or until heated through, flipping once halfway through. Serve with a sweet chili sauce.
Makes: definitely makes 50- though today I only got 47 because ummm… there may have been some taste testing of the filling between myself and my helper!
You will need:
- 1 pkg of wonton wraps (50)
- 1 lb ground pork
- 2 stalks of lemon grass
- one onion – about 1 cup chopped
- 3.5″ piece of ginger
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 4 cups finely shredded cabbage- nappa if you can get it, if not regular green cabbage will work
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp Chinese 5 spice
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 can of water chestnuts
- 1 chili pepper minced
In a food processor, mince the onion. Add the minced onion and ground pork to a large pan. Cook over medium heat until pork is fully cooked and onions are softened.
Remove the very fibrous outer layer of lemon grass, and cut off the root end. You want to trim the top part off so you are only using about the bottom 4 inches or so of the stalk. Roughly chop and add to food processor. Remove skin from a piece of fresh ginger, roughly chop and add to food processor. Add three cloves of garlic to processor with lemongrass and ginger and process all until very finely minced. Mince chili pepper and add to pan – if your chili pepper is dried like mine was, this is as easy to do with the knife as with the food processor. If using a fresh one, toss it in the food processor with the garlic, lemongrass and ginger.
Add this mixture to the pork and onion in the pan, add 2 tsp of Chinese five spice and stir to combine.
Drain water chestnuts and process in food processor – you want to leave these a bit chunky for texture. Add water chestnuts to pan.
Finely chop 4 cups of cabbage and add to pan with other ingredients. Stir and add 3 tbsp of soy sauce and 1/2 cup of water. Cover pan and cook until water is absorbed and cabbage is wilted and reduced – about 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool at least slightly before using the filling.
Get ready to do some wrapping. Get a small bowl of water, a cutting board, a fork, and a plate or cookie sheet ready for the ones you prep before cooking.
Because you’re making quite a few of these, I like to do them assembly line style. I get out six wrappers, place a scant 1 tbsp filling in the center. Then dip your finger in the water and rub two edges of the wrap so it’s wet. Then fold over so it’s a little triangle, and use the fork to crimp the edges. I find if you just use your finger to press they have a tendency to fall apart.
When you have a bunch of them ready,you can heat some canola oil over medium heat in a large pan – about maybe half an inch to an inch in the pan. To test the heat of your oil, use the end of a wooden spoon- dip it in and it should start to bubble a bit, or try dipping the edge of one of your won tons in- it should start to bubble. Not like furiously or alarmingly- if it seems like you’ve perhaps gotten your oil too hot, feel free to remove from the heat for a moment or two. No need for any sort of boiling oil disaster. Though really this is much easier than I’m making it seem.
Add 4-6 won tons to the pan. As they bubble and brown at the edges, flip them over. When they are slightly golden on each side remove from oil to drain on paper towel. I am usually making them to be reheated in the oven, so I don’t worry about getting them too golden as they get more colour when you reheat them.
Freeze on cookie sheets in a single layer. One of the blessings of -20C winters here is I can use my BBQ to freeze things. It’s amazing. Really. I mean, there has to be some perk of -20C, right?