It was new moon in January and I wanted to welcome the Chinese New Year of the Dragon with a somewhat traditional meal. We got a huge bag of baby bok choy that I decided I would roast up with garlic a lot like Broccolis & Brussels. I thought I would also use the last 1/2 lb of my Successful Seitan to veganize a filling for some Wontons.
I took inventory of what I might need to round out the flavors in a seitan filling and realized all I really needed was some ginger and wonton wraps. I grabbed up my canvas bag and scurried over to the grocery store where I ran into the vegan Miss Melanie of the Valley Rats in the produce section. I felt in good company as I chose a small hand of ginger and picked up a package of wonton wraps.
I am so grateful for my new trifocals so that I can be shopping along down the aisle and without stopping to put on glasses I can read ingredients on labels. I glanced down the few ingredients on the wonton wrapper label and found “egg whites.” Darn. I grabbed up a different brand – “eggs!” I looked up and, thanks to my trifocals, could see that Miss Melanie had left the produce section. Not that I would have gained anything from asking her for help but I suddenly felt really alone in trying to navigate the path to …
I decided to forge ahead and found a recipe for making my own wraps. Because the recipe I found said to use “your choice” of flour, I ended up modifying it to suit the bread flour I used.
2 cups white bread flour (has more gluten than all purpose)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup warm water (plus a few tablespoons if needed)
1. Sift together flour into a bowl.
2. Add salt to 1/2 cup warm water. Slowly stir the salted water into the bowl of flour- dough will be very stiff. If it is not coming together as a stiff dough as you start to kneed it, add just enough water by the tablespoonful, until it does. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface till smooth, about 15 minutes. Cover with towel and let stand for 20 minutes.
3. This part takes some work. Roll about a half of the dough out, as thin as you can on a hard surface that is barely dusted with corn starch. The recipe I had was supposed make thirty-two 3-inch squares but I got about sixteen. To compensate for the extra thickness, I took the 3″ squares and gave them each a little more rolling until they were more like 4″ squares (no regrets!) Repeat for other half of dough.
4. To store until ready to be filled, sprinkle with cornstarch and keep in an airtight bag in the fridge or freezer.
Serves: 4 servings of 4. (total of ~16 wrappers)
Vegan Wonton Filling
½ lb. shredded seitant
1 tsp. fresh ginger, chopped finely
1 medium garlic clove, minced
¼ cup green onion, sliced
1 tbs. fresh cilantro
1 tbs. vegan fish sauce sauce or teriyaki sauce
6 drops sesame oil
Ground fresh black pepper, to taste
Combine all above ingredients in a bowl.
On a clean working area, place a few wonton wrappers flat down on surface (always keep other wonton wrappers covered with plastic, as they can dry out).
Using chopsticks or a teaspoon, place about a 1 teaspoon of mixture onto the center of each wrapper. Do not overfill – they may explode!
Pick up the parcel and, with fingers, pinch the two opposite sized of the wrapper together, forming a triangle parcel. Press all air out of the dumplings so they do not open when cooking. Lastly moisten and pinch together to two side corners to make the shape shown in the photo on the right. Keep dumplings covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying out.
In a large deep pasta pot, fill a little above half with water. Bring it to a boil.
Lower temperature so that the water is at a low boil – too high a boil can break the dumplings.
Place dumplings in carefully and close to the water to prevent them from breaking.
Boil uncovered for about 10 to 12 minutes.
Gently strain or take out with a slotted spoon. They are now ready to eat with the dipping sauce.
1 small clove of garlic, minced
¼ cup vegan fish sauce or teriyaki sauce
1 tbs. agave nectar
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 scallion finely sliced
3 drops sesame oil
Combine gently so that agave is dissolved and blended in.
Making the wrappers was not easy in the beginning but I got the hang of it as I got to the second half of the dough. I was happy with my flour choice but think it took more water than the original recipe, other flours may need less.
This was another of those recipes that made me feel like I was queen vegan chef. When I bit into that first wonton and the flavors were perfect, just like the ones I got snowed out of enjoying at Su Tao this past weekend. All of the hard work really was worth it and we are excited that we have some left overs to look forward to!