wonton in chinese refers to irregularly shaped pasta that has some kind of finely minced vegetable or meat filling and is then deep-fried or steamed. other names include dumplings, potstickers and gyoza.
wontons are super easy to make and very fun to eat. i love the melting in the mouth sensation of just made steamed wontons. here's the recipe i use from asha khatau's vegetarian chinese cook book.
16 wonton wrappers
10 cups water
1/4 cup finely chopped beans
1/4 cup finely chopped spring onions
1/4 cup finely chopped spring carrots
1/4 cup finely chopped spring cabbage
1/4 tsp each crushed ginger and garlic
1/2 tsp each sugar and pepper
1 tsp soy suace
3 tbsp oil
salt to taste
a pinch of MSG (i don't use)
in a frying pan, heat 1 tbsp oil on a high flame. add all the vegetables, ginger, garlic and MSG. fry for 1 minute. add sugar, salt, pepper and soy sauce. take it off the stove. allow to cool.
place a single wonton wrapper on cutting board, put 1 tbsp filling on it and gather the edges together in the desired shape. seal it with a mixture of corn flour and water. wontons can be folded in various shapes like nurse's cap, moneybag, envelope etc.
i find moneybag the easiest. dip your fingers in water and rub along all four edges of the wonton skin after you have placed the filling in the centre. then just bring all edges to the centre and press together.
while you are folding the wontons, set water to boil. you can steam your wontons by either using a bamboo steamer or dropping in boiling water directly.
if you use a bamboo steamer, place the steamer in a big wok that has boiling water. make sure that the steamer does not touch the water - use a stand. place the wonton in the steamer, cover and allow to cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
i found that dropping the wontons in boiling water and allowing them to cook for about 10 to 15 minutes is a more reliable method to get the job done.
to make fried wontons, dry the folded wontons for 10-15 minutes and deep-fry them in oil. serve with sweet and sour sauce or chilli sauce.