One of my guilty pleasures is definitely FRIED FOODS! In fact, the only time I’ll eat chicken skin (or tolerate fats of any kind) is when they are fried or roasted until they are crispy. I’ve often wondered how we could eat all those fried foods and spicy dishes on the hot and humid days that we have in Malaysia. You would think in our kind of weather, all we would want is something “cooling”. I suppose maybe it’s because it’s so hard to maintain crispiness in our humid weather that it’s even more prized. Isn’t that typical of human nature? You always prefer something that’s harder to come by. That could explain why we normally prefer our cookies crispy too. I had never eaten a “soft” cookie until I came here. The first time that I did, I felt conned because I thought I had wasted my money on something that was no longer fresh (I didn’t know that most cookies here are purposely made that way). :-D In Malaysia, if you want “soft” cookies, just leave them out for an hour (or less) and they’ll be soft. *LOL* I don’t look forward to Winter (other than the holidays) :-D but the one good thing about cold, dry, winter air is that we could leave crispy foods out for days and they’ll still be crispy!!! Oki-doki…did I get sidetracked there? I’ve wanted to write that thought down for a while now and for some reason, my mind actually works at the moment. There have been too many “staring at the computer” days lately.
Back to the crispy wonton – sometime last year, a really wonderful friend of mine (Amy) invited me over to help her and her kids make wontons. With neither of us having any experience making wontons, we had fun fumbling our way through, and the result was these delicious, crispy vegetable wontons. Since then, I have made these wontons frequently in my own kitchen. Not only do they make a great appetizer or side dish, but they also satisfy my craving for crispy food without me having to break open gallons of oil. I can’t remember exactly what ingredients were used that day (did you write them down, Amy?). I think the recipe I recreated may be a slightly more simplified version but equally delicious (if I may say so). *grin*
|Fry garlic until fragrant and lightly browned|
|Add cabbage and carrot|
|Add seasonings and continue to cook until tender|
|My favorite wonton wrappers|
|Place a spoonful of filling in the center of the wrap|
|Wet the outer edges of the wrap and fold diagonally, pressing to seal|
|Fry wontons in nonstick skillet|
|until crispy and golden brown|
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced or minced (optional)
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or minced
1½ pounds shredded green cabbage (from 1 small head)*
½ pound grated carrot (2-3 carrots)*
2 teaspoons chicken granules
½ teaspoon salt or to taste
½ teaspoon white pepper or to taste
1 package of wonton wraps
More vegetable oil for frying the wontons
* You can substitute with prepackaged coleslaw mix (2 pounds total). I prefer to prep my own because I find that most prepackaged mixes contain very little carrot.
Make the filling
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet or pot over medium-high heat until shimmering.
Add the shallot (if using) and garlic and cook until fragrant and lightly browned.
Add the cabbage and carrot and stir-fry until they begin to soften.
Add the seasonings, and continue to cook until tender. Dish out and let cool.
Make the wontons
One at a time (keeping the others covered with a damp cloth or paper towel to prevent them from drying out), place a spoonful of filling in the center of each wrap.
Wet the outer edges of the wrap (all four sides) with water and fold diagonally, pressing to seal. If possible, avoid putting filled wontons close to each other as they may stick together, forcing you to pull them apart and break the wraps. You may need more than one package of wonton wraps to finish the filling. Alternatively, any leftover filling makes a great side dish. :-)
You can choose to make all the wontons before frying them or fry them as you go along.
Fry the wontons
Fill a nonstick skillet with vegetable oil, about ¼” deep. Heat oil until hot over medium heat (adjusting the heat as needed when you fry the wontons).
Fry a few wontons at a time (do not crowd them) until they are crispy and golden brown.
Place on a paper towel-lined plate. Serve with soy sauce, ketchup or your favorite hot sauce. Leftovers should be refrigerated (they will look soggy in the fridge but don’t worry) and can be reheated in the oven or toaster oven at 450ºF for 5 to 7 minutes until crispy again.
Note: I think the only thing preventing these wontons from being a true vegetarian dish is the use of chicken granules for flavoring. If omitting chicken granules, I would consider adding chopped green onions and using light soy sauce to flavor the filling. Another possible addition would be shiitake mushroom (finely diced). These ingredients are what I would use sometimes when making a simple stir-fried green cabbage dish. Unfortunately, I don’t have the measurements for any of these ingredients because I chose to use chicken granules in this case. Maybe next time.