RECIPE: Crispy Fried Chicken Wontons w/ Ginger
The wonton is one of food’s greatest triumphs. Steamed, boiled or fried they are one of the most popular street food snacks in China, as well as in the West, and it’s not hard to see why.
We are lucky enough in Melbourne to have a thriving Chinatown where all manner of Cantonese delights can be eaten. From the exclusive Flower Drum where the food is exquisitely refined to the relaxed and popular, Shanghai Dumpling House, the breadth of Chinese cuisine in this two block stretch of Little Bourke Street is mouth watering.
One of my favourite places to eat is the ever busy Ling Nan restaurant. Right on the main drag, this place is heaving with locals right into the early hours of the morning, serving up fried rice, plates of sizzling Mongolian beef and endless bowls of congee. It was after busy nights working in a nearby restaurant that I would go here with my boss and workmates – always for half duck and plates of crispy wontons with sweet and sour dipping sauce.
For me, a Chinese meal is not complete without something crispy on the table. Whether it’s a vegetable spring roll, deep fried quail with spicy salt, or a plate of moreish wontons, I never feel I’ve had the full gamut unless I’m crunching down on something artery-cloggingly delicious.
Usually made from chopped prawn and pork, wontons are so easy to prepare, if not a little laborious. These particular ones use up leftover chicken and are flavoured with ginger, giving them a spicy, zingy lift. While not in any way traditional, they are still utterly delicious and cost next to nothing to make.
Prep time: 45 minutes
175g cooked chicken
2 large spring onions
14 egg wonton skins
oil for frying
Finely chop the chicken, spring onions and ginger and combine in a large mixing bowl. Beat one of the eggs, add to the bowl and mix thoroughly. Season with salt.
Place your fourteen wonton skins out on the bench and spoon a teaspoon of the mixture into the middle of each. Next, beat the second egg. Brush along two sides of the wonton and fold into a neat triangle, pinching the edges together as you go. Repeat with the other wontons until you have fourteen triangles.
To cook the wontons pour your oil (I recommend canola or vegetable as you need something that can stand high temperatures) about two thirds of the way up a deep heavy based frying pan. Heat the oil over a medium-high flame until it reaches 170C. Gently place in a couple of wontons at a time – you don’t want to overfill the pan or the oil temperature will drop and you’ll end up with soggy wontons.
Cook for 2-3 minutes before gently flipping each wonton over. They are ready when golden and crispy.
Leftover pork or chopped prawns.
Peas, Chinese cabbage, carrot, beanshoots – basically anything you imagine being delicious in a spring roll.
Sweet chili dipping sauce.