My kitchen and pantry are in a really good place now. Meaning I have all of the kitchen tools I need to make most things, and my pantry is appropriately stocked so that I only need to buy a few fresh ingredients for each meal.
One of the things I purchased on a whim this weekend (which was bad of me because I'm trying to plan every meal here!) were wonton wraps. Reading through one of my cookbooks I had gyoza on my mind, and lean ground beef in the freezer. So I figured, why not?
In other news, today was a very special day because it SNOWED in Chapel Hill! There have been a couple of other snows in the past year but they have generally been lame, and in the middle of the night. Today's snow started at 6PM and were huge, fluffy, winter-wonderland-y flakes. Granted, the ground was too warm for it to stick - but still made for a great photo op (too bad I didn't take any pictures...).
But in honor of the snow and cold snap (tonight's low is in the teens!), I decided to make wonton soup. So I started to defrost the ground beef in the microwave (I really hate doing that, but the last minute decision forced me to!).
In the meantime, I worked on my mise en place. I've been trying to get into the habit of gathering and preparing all of my ingredients before actually starting to cook so everything works as a well-oiled machine. I must say it truly makes a difference!
Pictured are 1 small yellow onion (diced finely), 5 green onions (finely chopped), 1 tablespoon ginger (minced), 3 large garlic cloves (minced).
The ground beef was defrosted, so in went the yellow onion, green onion, and garlic. I used my hand to incorporate it all evenly. In a separate bowl, I mixed together 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 tablespoons sesame oil, 1 tablespoon sugar, and the ginger. Then I added that into the ground beef. At this point I was able to use a wooden spoon to mix it all together. Smells delicious now - too bad it's raw!
Now it's time to assemble! I would recommend doing it with someone over a glass of wine and a nice chat, or in front of the TV if you're like me and home alone. This process takes some time!
These were the wonton wraps I used. I'm not sure different brands matter; this just happens to be what Harris Teeter had.
The wrappers have a floured side and a non-floured side. Place the wonton flour side down, on a lightly floured surface (the amount I had was too much, but didn't seem to matter). Place a small bit of meat into the middle of the of the wrapper. You'll have to play around with it to see how much you can fit in there.
Use your finger dipped in water to wet the bottom two edges of the wrapper. I'd recommend a small bowl of warm water to be right next to you instead of running over to the sink to wet your finger every time. Then fold in half and seal the sides. The wrappers feel delicate but an surprisingly handle a firm press to seal the edges.
Use water again to wet the side corner.
Put the ends together and press together (again, they can handle a firm squish!)
Place finished wontons on a separate plate, and repeat.
Keep repeating until you can't make anymore wontons because your TV show is now over. I made 24 wontons, and still have some meat leftover but will try to make something else with it.
Bring some chicken stock to a boil. I've got 6 cups here, but would have liked some more. I like a high soup to wonton ratio. Put the wontons into the boiling broth and cover your pot for 5-7 minutes to cook. I was surprised this was all the time they needed, but it worked!
Once finished, ladle some into your bowl, garnish with green onions, and enjoy!
Then take a lame selfie because you're excited about it.
Overall, I'm pretty proud of this dish. Honestly, I'm proud of any Asian dish I happen to make successfully. I'm not sure why Asian food intimidates me the most, but my theory is that I've grown to love my parents' cooking and can't seem to duplicate it. So essentially, I have lots to live up to.
Things I'd like to try for next time:
- Use low sodium chicken broth
- Use ground pork or turkey instead of beef
- Add some Sriracha to the broth for a bit of a kick
- Garnish with cilantro (I really love cilantro...)
I have a feeling this will be the first of many wonton things I try. Searching through Pinterest, I saw there are infinite things you can do with these wrappers!
And just because I'm proud of my pantry stock: the only thing I had to buy for this meal was the wonton wrappers!