Phat in NYC: Szechuan Spicy Wontons

Happy New Year Everyone! Hope 2011 is treating you well so far, may the coming months be full of good fortune, good friends, and good FOOD! I got together last night with some of my favorite people and we killed it in the kitchen. I thought for a freezing cold January night, I’d share one of my favorite dishes that I tried in Shanghai – spicy Szechuan Style Wontons, sometimes called Hot Oil Wontons, or Chao Shou (抄手).

A little meat goes a long way. In our mixture, we used pork, shrimp, and woodear fungus, which give the dumplings a fantastic crunch.

We boiled the dumplings and then dressed them in chili oil, a little vinegar, some chopped garlic, and a generous amount of freshly chopped scallions and cilantro. Give them a toss and they are ready to go!

Vanina made an amazing kimchee jigae stew. So perfect for this freezing cold weather we’ve been having in NYC.

A perfect finish to huge dinner – a cup of strong and silky smooth Turkish coffee. My friend Doug heats each cup individually, makes you really appreciate the effort that goes into each precious sip. PS – dark rich Turkish coffee goes perfectly with a sliver of Mast Brothers chocolate, which is made locally just a couple blocks away.


Szechuan Spicy Wontons
Makes about 50 wontons (Feeds 6)

1.5 lbs ground pork (half fatty/half lean)
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Large pieces Woodear Fungus, soaked and chopped finely
1/4 cup green onion, chopped finely
Soy Sauce
Hoisin Sauce
Sesame Oil

2 packs Shanghai Style dumpling wrappers, square kind
(they are white, as opposed to the yellow Cantonese-style wrappers)

Chili Oil
Garlic, finely minced
1/4 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
2 stalks scallions, rougly chopped

Combine your pork, shrimp, green onion and woodear fungus. I find that the best way to mix your filling is to lay it all out on large cutting board and mince it up with a cleaver. Incorporate the soy, hoisin, sesame oil, and sugar to taste. Mince until you have a fine paste.

Place a quarter-size amount of meat in the center of the wrapper. Dip your finger in a cup of water and trace the water around half the dumpling, it will act as glue when you press all the edges of the wrapper together. Voila – a wonton!

Boil wontons in hot water until they float. Don’t overcrowd the pot or the wrappers will tear. Drain, and serve in a single layer in a low dish. Dress with chili oil, vinegar, and fresh herbs. Toss and serve!