I first had won ton at a Chinese restaurant when I went with a group of friends to a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown in San Francisco in the early ’50s. I really enjoyed it, so I opened one and found out the ingredients.
The following is how I make won ton:
Of course you must buy the won ton wrappers, which come in a square package.
Ingredients are as follows:
• One Farmer John’s original (not spicy) sausage, which comes in a roll. It is an oblong white package. Do not buy the sausage links. (Do NOT fry sausage.)
• One can of water chestnuts (not bamboo shoots), diced.
• l/2 pound of cooked “baby” shrimps. (Fresh is tastier than canned.)
• One green onion, sliced very thin.
• Four large shiitake (Japanese mushrooms) that have been soaked in water to soften. After shiitake is soft, cut in small strips.
• A sprig of parsley, sliced thin.
THOROUGHLY mix the sausage and shrimp together by smashing with a fork and then blend with the other ingredients.
Before wrapping won ton, place the following on the table:
• An oblong baking pan (I use a 9 x 13 one)
• Six sheets of wax paper to the same length and width of the oblong baking pan.
• One small plate
• One cup of flour
• Two teaspoons (one for scooping won ton and one for sprinkling flour)
• l/2 cup of water
Now the steps for wrapping:
l. Place one won ton wrapper on the small plate.
2. With the teaspoon, scoop up the mixture from the bowl.
3. Place mixture in the middle of the won ton wrapper.
4. DAMPEN with water three sides of the won ton wrapper.
5. Press together with the remaining three sides of the won ton wrapper. (You will have a triangle-shaped won ton.)
6. Put a sheet of the wax paper on the oblong baking pan and sprinkle flour over the wax paper. (If you do not sprinkle flour, the won ton will stick and you’re in trouble.)
7. Place the won ton in the oblong baking pan until pan is full. Sprinkle flour on the won ton. Then cover with wax paper and sprinkle flour again.
8. Repeat this process until all the won ton wrappers are wrapped.
(Since I use a 9 x 13 oblong baking pan, there are three layers of wrapped won ton. It is not necessary to place wax paper over the top (third) layer of won ton, but sprinkle flour over it.
Here again, it works better if you have an electric frying pan and the oil should be filled to the middle of the pan. Set temperature at 350 degrees. Make sure the oil is sizzlingly hot. You can add as many won ton wrappers as you have space, but do not crowd.
The won ton will turn a golden brown and you will be tempted to try a crispy, yummy sample.
Place cooked won ton on a large dish. To make it attractive, place a leaf of lettuce at both ends of the plate.
Here again, I use the ketchup- and-shoyu sauce, the same as for tempura, for dipping the won ton.
Won ton may be used as hors d’oeuvre when you have guests or as a main dish. If you have any won ton left over, you can make a bowl of noodles and add won ton to it.
I will never forget my sister, a friend and I wrapped six packages of won ton for the reception of a friend’s wedding. I believe that’s what you call Sixteen Tons!
PLEASE NOTE: Just for the fun of it, I will “meow” any comments, problems, questions you may have. Please mail letter to me in C/O of The Rafu Shimpo, 701 E. Third St., Suite 130, Los Angeles, CA 90013. I will answer SELECT letters in my column.
Maggie Ishino is a Rafu typist. She can be reached at email@example.com. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.