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Wonton

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A wonton (also spelled wantan, wanton, or wuntun in transcription from Cantonese) is a type of dumpling commonly found in a number of Chinese cuisines.

Left: A Cantonese style shrimp wonton.

The filling is typically made of:

  • Minced pork
  • Coarsely diced or whole shrimp or oysters
  • Finely minced ginger and onion or carrots
  • Sesame oil and soy sauce.

To make a wonton, spread a wrapper flat in the palm of one hand, place a small amount of filling in the center, and seal the wonton into the desired shape by compressing the wrapper's edges together with the fingers. Adhesion may be improved by moistening the wrapper's inner edges, typically by dipping one's fingertip into water and running it across the dry dough to dissolve the extra flour. As part of the sealing process, air should be "burped" out of the interior to avoid rupturing the wonton from internal pressure when cooked.

Wontons are commonly boiled and served in soup or sometimes deep-fried.

There are several common regional variations of shape. The most versatile shape is a simple right triangle, made by folding the wrapper in half by pulling together two opposite corners. Its flat profile allows it to be pan-fried like a potsticker in addition to being boiled or deep-fried. 

 
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A more globular wonton can be formed by folding all four corners together, resulting in a shape reminiscent of a stereotypical hobo's bindle made by tying all four corners of a bandanna together. The much larger Australian deep-fried dim sim has a similar shape, but wontons in this configuration are more commonly served in soup.

Left: A bowl of wonton noodle soup.

A related kind of wonton is made by using the same kind of wrapper, but applying only a minute amount of filling (frequently meat) and quickly closing the wrapper-holding hand, sealing the wonton into an unevenly squashed shape. These are called xiao wountwun (literally "little wonton") and are invariably served in a soup, often with condiments such as pickles, ginger, sesame oil, and cilantro (coriander leaves).

Each region of China has its own variations of wonton, examples include Beijing, Sichuan, Hubei, Jiangnan, Jiangxi, Guangdong (Cantonese), Fujian etc.

In American Chinese cuisine (and in Canada as well), wontons are served in two ways: in wonton soup (wontons in a clear broth), and as an appetizer called fried wontons.

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Fried wontons are often served without filling and eaten with duck sauce or Chinese mustard. Some fried wontons are filled with a cream cheese and crab filling and called crab rangoon. Compared to the Far East versions, fried wontons are eaten dry.

Left: Fried wonton of American Chinese cuisine.

 

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