A wonton (also spelled wantan, wanton, or
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:
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
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.
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.
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.