Celebrate Chinese New Year with fried pork wontons

Dumpling parties make festive gatherings even more fun. These pork-filled fried wontons will be hard to resist while they cool.

Pickles and Tea
Celebrate Chinese New Year by making an array of dumplings such as these fried pork wontons.

Today’s blog post focuses on a dumpling to please your fried-food fiend of a friend (try saying that 10 times fast!). These dumplings are of course, fried wontons. To be fair, I don’t think fried food lovers should be pigeon-holed. Because honestly, who doesn’t love fried food?

When I was growing up, my mom made fried wontons called pangsit in Indonesian by wrapping a small amount of seasoned ground meat – usually pork or chicken – in what would appear to be a disproportionately large wonton wrapper. She did this for two reasons: One, so that the meat would be fully cooked before the wrapper burned. And two, because she knew we enjoyed the crispy, crunchy fried wrappers more than the filling itself!  

Fried wontons are perfect for feeding a crowd. A little meat goes a long way, plus they’re very easy to prepare. They do taste best freshly fried so try to fry them at the very last minute.But I predict they won’t last long anyway. Who can resist all that delicious porky goodness wrapped up in a crisp shell? 

Fried Pork Wontons (Pangsit Goreng)

Don’t buy lean pork, a little fat is necessary to keep the filling juicy. And the same applies if you decide to substitute chicken or turkey. Dark (thigh) meat will be tastier. Or fill the wonton with your favorite vegetarian filling.

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Makes: 45 to 50 wontons

12 ounces ground pork
1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Vegetable oil for frying

50 (3-1/2 x 3-1/2 inch) square wonton wrappers

1. Mix together the pork, green onion, garlic, sesame oil, salt and black pepper in a medium bowl.

2. Prepare your work station: Cover the stack of wontons with a damp cloth, fill a small bowl with water and line a baking tray or plate with parchment. Place a wonton wrapper in the palm of your left (or non-dominant) hand in the shape of a diamond. Scoop 1 teaspoon of filling into the middle. Dip your index finger in water and paint the top two edges of the diamond. Fold the bottom tip over the filling to form a triangle. Press the edges together while pushing out air from the middle.

3. Pour enough oil into a small saucepan or skillet to reach a depth of 1-inch. Set over high heat to reach a temperature of 350 degrees F. If you don’t have a deep-fry thermometer, test by dropping a little meat or a small piece of wonton wrapper into the hot oil. If it sizzles, the oil is ready. Reduce the heat to medium. Slide 4 to 5 wontons into the oil (or as many will fit without overcrowding) and fry until golden brown on both sides, 45 seconds to 1 minute, flipping halfway. Scoop up the wontons with a spider or slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Watch the wontons carefully as they cook—and thus burn-- quickly. Serve hot with sweet chili sauce.

Related post on Pickles and Tea: Spiced Beef Momos

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