I’m a member of the Herb Society of America, Rocky Mountain Unit. It’s a fun group who studies and analyzes herbs from around the world. We learn about their kitchen and garden use, mythology and medical attributes. They have dinner parties and focus on particular themes, like root vegetables, spicy foods, foods from the Mediterranean region, regional foods from all our states, plus dishes from Portugal, Israel or other far away destinations. I participated in one of these dinners whose focus was Chinese foods.
My dish to prepare was a dessert. I fried sesame balls, which were an unusual light tasting dessert; it contrasted a slow cooked seasoned pork roast for our main dish with a tasty Chinese salad along side. Along with the salad, one lady prepared fried won-tons. How curious I thought and tasty, with a nice light crunch! I had never eaten anything similar, except at a Chinese restaurant. I then inquired about the cooking process, any special tools or spices etc. I soon prepared these small and simple morsels at home, plus, instead of just serving it crackly with salad or a meaty dish, I prepared a pungent side dressing as a dip. This dip is similar to Thousand Island Dressing but with several personal additions which I thought up. The dip recipe, which comes after the won-ton recipe, can be used as regular salad dressing, used in sandwiches, in scrambled eggs, almost like an enhanced spice or ketchup to perk up the flavor of foods, give them a piquant zing. It’s not too spicy; but you can change that by adding various amounts of spice.
- package of Dynasty Won-ton wrappers, the four-inch package size, cut in roughly 3 long pieces or strips, each about one – one and a half inches long. Cut 20 or 30 or more individual strips. Lay them out individually on a plate just before you begin the cooking process, so they don’t dry out. They freeze well if you have extra.
- Kosher salt
- Vegetable oil – approximately 1/2 inch – try to keep that amount steady with a hot temperature, about 350 degrees.
- Gather together several layers of paper towels, lay them on a plate.
Use a large frying pan and let the oil get very hot, or use a thermometer. Carefully slide in several, about 6-8 pieces of the won-tons. Cook carefully about 15-20 seconds, and remove immediately to a paper towel lined plate. Sometimes you can turn them slightly, but they cook extremely quickly and you need to be sharp and watchful otherwise they will get too well done and turn dark brown and or black and taste burnt. Add some oil now and then, and let it get hot again before you add more strips of won-tons.
A minute or so after you remove them from the pan, sprinkle them lightly with kosher salt, let cool completely. Then, if you wish smaller bits, cut or break them in half and serve as an appetizer, dessert or side dish with sweet or savory dipping sauces and other seasonings. Sometimes I use honey, or leave the won tons plain. They can be used with ranch dressing, smoked paprika with extra salt, or stir them lightly in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. The last topping can be served over ice cream or pudding. For another sweet dessert, when serving a group of dinners, try sprinkling them with a small amount of powdered sugar. The pungent dipping sauce works with crackers, raw or cooked vegetables, corn chips, as well as small pieces of cooked appetizers, using toothpicks for chicken, beef or pork.
Also, share with me your ideas of won–tons or other snacking foods, and what flavors you might combine for dips or other seasonings?
PUNGENT DIPPING SAUCE – Yield 2 cups
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chili sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon or coarse mustard
2-3 teaspoons onion, grated or 2 scallions chopped fine
Mix all ingredients together, chill for one hour at least. Serve cool or near room temperature.