This homemade wonton recipe from award-winning food journalist Hsiao-Ching Chou's new cookbook, Chinese Soul Food, is perfect for a Chinese New Year feast—or, really, any time of year. The pockets of chicken and scallions are made even better by a flavor-packed chili sauce, which calls for DIY chili oil. It's a great skill to add to your culinary toolbox; just beware that the heat increases the longer you let the peppers steep.
Chicken Wontons with Chili Sauce
Excerpted from 'Chinese Soul Food,' by Hsiao-Ching Chou (c)2018. Reprinted with permission from Sasquatch Books. All rights reserved.
Yield: 40 to 45 wontons
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
For the Chili Oil:
½ cup vegetable oil
1 medium shallot, finely minced
2 teaspoons freshly cracked Sichuan peppercorns
1 to 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 to 2 teaspoons Chinese or Korean chili powder
For the Chili Sauce:
2 tablespoons chili bean sauce
1 stalk green onion, very finely minced
2 teaspoons chili oil
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon freshly ground Sichuan peppercorn
½ cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
For the Wontons:
1 pound ground chicken
2 stalks green onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
⅛ teaspoon white pepper powder
1 package wonton wrappers
1. Make the chili oil: In a small pan over low heat, combine the oil, shallot, peppercorns, and pepper flakes and chili powder to taste, and cook for 5 minutes, or until the oil starts to look red from the chili. Remove the pan from the heat, then pour the oil into a small heatproof bowl and let cool to room temperature before storing in an airtight jar.
2. Make the chili sauce: In a small bowl, combine the bean sauce, onion, chili oil, garlic, sugar, sesame oil and peppercorn. Stir well. Add the soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine. This will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.
3. Make the wontons: In a medium bowl, put the chicken, onions, soy sauce, oil, and pepper, and mix well.
4. Put ¼ cup water in a small bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
5. Place just under 1 teaspoon of the filling at the center of a wonton square. You will have to adjust the amount of filling as needed. Wonton skins can vary in dimension, so use your best judgment.
6. Dip your finger in the water and moisten all four edges as if you are sealing an envelope flap. Fold the wrapper in half over the filling, line up the edges, and press down to flatten and seal. You will now have a rectangle packet.
7. Pick up the filled rectangle and hold it so that the edge that contains the filling is at the bottom. Moisten the lower left corner of the rectangle. Using both hands, wrap the lower edges of the wonton into a small circle until they meet, and adhere the bottom right corner of the rectangle to the moistened left corner. Repeat with the remaining filling and wonton skins.
8. Place the wontons on the prepared baking sheet. (If you plan on freezing the wontons for later use, place the baking sheet in the freezer for about 1 hour before transferring the wontons to a ziplock bag. You can cook them frozen. Do not defrost or you will get a soggy mess.)
9. To cook the wontons, in an 8-quart pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add 8 wontons per person and boil for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the wontons become opaque and the filling is cooked through. Drain the wontons and transfer them to bowls to serve. Drizzle 2 to 3 tablespoons of the chili sauce, or more to taste, over each bowl, and serve.