Today I'm excited to share with you a special video collaboration I recently did with Sydney from The Crepes of Wrath. Sydney and I met a few months ago at a BlogHer theater and networking event and since then, her blog has been one of my new favorites for regular reading, for both the photography and the writing. I've bookmarked so many of her recipes, including these beer braised ribs, miso kale salad, and chocolate chunk cookies. When she started posted short, fun cooking cooking videos, I became inspired to finally start making my own.
So when Sydney asked if I wanted to do a cooking video together, as a way for food bloggers in New York to support and promote each others' work, I immediately said yes. Earlier this month, I spent a fun Sunday afternoon with her and her husband Kramer making (and eating!) Sichuan wontons, one of the dishes I regularly teach in my Dumplings and Wontons classes at West Elm Market and Brooklyn Brainery.
Check out the video below, then read on for more about Sichuan wontons!
If you've never had Sichuan wontons before, and you're a big fan of spicy food, this is one dish that will surely go on regular rotation after you try it once. This is one of my favorite Sichuan dishes of all time, with a deliciously savory, tangy, and spicy sauce that is positively addictive. Unlike with Cantonese wontons, which usually goes into a soup with or without noodles, you just boil the wontons and drizzle a chili oil mixture over them.
I adore this sauce: chili oil (store-bought or homemade), dark or balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, Sichuan pepper, and garlic, just mixed together. It's spicy and numbing and tart and sweet. And you can easily make a big batch to share with family and friends, should they happen to stop by.
And the folding is pretty easy once you get the hang of it. The name for Sichuan wontons in Mandarin, chao shou, literally means "crossed hands". The wontons themselves are folded in a way in which the tips cross each other like arms.
In Sichuan, I've seen the wontons folded two ways. In the first one, you start by folding the wrapper into a triangle and then crossing the tips ("arms") over the belly of the wonton. The second method, the "boat" method is to fold the wrapper into a rectangle; then, crunching the belly a little, you overlap the bottom edges of the two sides, as shown in the photo above. The second method is trickier at first, but more impressive once you get the hang of it.
So give these a try! Just be aware: in the words of a student who recently attended one of my dumpling classes, the sauce "is so good I can drink just it straight."
Also see: Sydney on learning to make Sichuan Wontons, over at The Crepes of Wrath
Serves 6 o 8
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 egg
- 6 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ package wonton skins
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili oil
- 2 teaspoons Chinese black vinegar or good-quality balsamic vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper
- In a large bowl, combine the pork, egg, sesame oil, salt, pepper, and most of the scallions (reserving a small handful for garnish at the end.) Mix until everything is well-incorporated. The filling should be sticky and just slightly wet.
- Fill a small ramekin or bowl with water and place it by your side. This will be for sealing the wontons.
- Angle a wonton wrapper so that it faces you like a diamond. Place one heaping teaspoon of filling in the center of the wrapper. Dip your fingers in the water and wet the outside corners of the wonton wrapper. (Keep the extra wrappers covered with a barely damp towel until ready to use, to prevent them from drying out.)
- One easy way to wrap is to form a triangle by folding the bottom tip to the top tip and pinching out as much air as possible. Add a dab of water to the inside of the left tip, fold it over the right tip to overlap (as shown in the picture above) and press together
- For the "boat" version, start by folding the wrapper in half to form a rectangle. Add a dab of water to the bottom edge of the left side and and fold it over the bottom edge of the ridge side, so that one overlaps the other. The end result should resemble a boat, with two tips cradling a puff of filling in the middle.
- Place the finished wonton on a plate. Keep the finished wontons covered with a barely damp towel while you repeat the process with the remaining wontons.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the garlic, soy sauce, sugar, chili oil, black vinegar, and Sichuan pepper. Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Put in the wontons and boil for 4 minutes, until the wontons float to the top. Remove them with a slotted spoon and transfer to a serving dish. Drizzle the chili sauce over the wontons and sprinkle the remaining scallions on top.
Recipe first posted February 3, 2011. Revised April 22, 2013.