Monday, June 11, 2012

The Chaotic Huidun - Recipe 40

Ah, the Chinese wonton.  Can you see it now?  Swimming in a soup? Fried up and plopped on a plate?

I do not know about you, but those little cream cheese pockets at our Americanized Chinese buffets reel me in like a good pair of shoes.   Ah, that’s what I’ve been missing.. cream cheese wontons… love, love, love.. (oh and shoes too - a girl can never have enough shoes).

However, I bet you don’t know some things about wontons now, do you?  And since I’m here to make you chuckle and educate you at the same time, let’s put our noses to the books for a moment, shall we?  And learn this history of this – wanton.

“As a sort of traditional food in China, wonton  originated in North China. It was viewed by ancient Chinese as a sealed stuffed bun without holes and therefore was named "Huidun" (meaning chaos). It was later called "wonton" in line with the formation rule of Chinese characters.
Wonton is a flour product made by stuffing and then steaming, boiling or frying. It looked almost the same as dumplings at early stage, and then in the Tang Dynasty these two were distinguished with different names. Wonton wrapper is of square shape with approx. 6cm-long side, or of isosceles trapezoid shape with approx. 5cm-long upper side and 7cm-long lower side; dumpling wrapper is of roundness with a diameter of 7cm. As a delicate flour product, wonton is thinner than dumpling in the wrapper which is transparent after being cooked. The stuffing of wonton is usually made of pork, shrimp meat, vegetables, shallot and ginger. There are many improved types of wonton with different ingredients and cooking styles, such as Sichuan hot and spicy wonton, Wuxi Sanxian wonton (stuffed with pork, dried and shelled shrimps, and preserved szechuna pickle), Guangdong wonton noodle, Hong Kong fried wonton and Shanghai small pork wonton.
Wonton has a long history. There existed numerous wonton restaurants in cities in the Tang and Song Dynasties. Wonton was featured by clear soup and delicate stuffing at that time. Its fineness was ever appraised by poets and was hard to achieve by common people. In ancient times, it was a custom in some regions to eat wonton on the midwinter day, which is said to has bearing on a famous doctor — Zhang Zhongjing. He ever stuffed wonton with medicinal materials on the midwinter day to cure villagers who suffered frostbite. Wonton’s function as a medicinal dish was also recorded in the Compendium of Materia Medica.
Seemingly simple, making wonton is in fact a difficult handiwork. At present, "Wrapping wonton" has become an activity favored by many foreigners in China”

Ah  Dr. Zhang Zhongjing
Be careful, if you’re picky about taking your medicine, dear ones – your mom just might fill your wonton with the goods.

Ah, now.. my plan is to make my own wonton wrappers (since most of them are made with egg to seal) and obviously – I will not be using cows milk cream cheese.. (this is a vegan blog).  And I thought I’d even make my own soy sauce for dipping.  I had thought about making duck sauce, but considering the time constraints I am about to have this weekend.. (why am I always so darned busy?) I’ll grab something in my ‘asian sauces from the Chinese place’ bowl in my fridge.

So, since we’re all about the numbers here – let’s flip them.. shall we?

Cream Cheese Wanton                          The  Vanton
One wanton                                            one wanton
Calories 310                                                 163               
Total Fat 18 g                                               4               
Cholesterol 525mg                                       0
Sodium 105mg                                             47             
Total Carbohydrate 36g                               25                  
Dietary Fiber  2 g                                         1                        
Protein         4.1                                           3.8                           
WWpts –  9                                                  4

So, there you have it! I’m about to get all kinds of chaotic on Friday when I’m not only frying up wantons for dinner, but I’ll be making vegan cupcakes and various vegan stuff to fill a burrito at my nieces graduation party for Saturday.  This little vegan has a busy cooking day ahead of her!  Wish me luck!
And, while searching for a yummified wanton picture.. I found I want this book.  Look how sweet it looks!?

Btw – I love gifts.

 Til then -    zài jiàn                                           

Music  enjoyed while blogging:
Subsonic Radio 56K,  Shaduhh!

Current Motivation:
To not be tired

Current Craving:
My girl’s sushi, darnit!

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