It's Chinese New Year and 2013 is the year of the snake. To celebrate, I cooked a dinner for some friends and we all agreed that these Sichuan wontons were the star of the show. It may have been due to me making everyone do the folding; things taste better when you make them, right? But you can't really go wrong with pork dumplings doused in a fiery sweet, salty, garlicky sauce.
These differ from the Cantonese wontons in that they don't contain prawns; I couldn't find any worth using, but in any case the sauce is so punchy that the robust flavour of the pork stands up better than with the delicate flavour of prawns. Get your friends round to do the folding and you'll be done in mere minutes.
Feeds 6, when served with other dishes
1 packet of wonton wrappers - you can buy these in Chinatown in the fridge section
450gr minced pork - you want a bit of fat in this
4 dried shiitake mushroom, rehydrated in boiling water for 30 minutes
1 tsp grated ginger
3 spring onions, minced
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
Chop the mushrooms finely and mix with the pork in a large bowl. Add the ingredients except the egg (and the wrappers...) and stir well with chopsticks until it has all combined well.
Take a wonton wrapper in your hand, the point of a corner pointing to your wrist. Wet the top left and right edges with a finger dipped in the beaten egg. Add a heaped teaspoon of filling to the centre and bring the bottom edges to meet the egg washed edges to make a triangle. Gently squeeze the air out of the area around the filling and seal well. Bring the two points of the corner to meet around the front, wetting one edge with a little egg to seal it. Place on a floured plate and repeat until the wrappers are finished.
You can freeze them on a sheet and then combine in a bag once frozen, and cook from frozen. Or, if using now, cook in lightly simmering water for 5 or so minutes.
For the sauce:
6 tbsp chilli oil with its sediment
4 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
2 tsp finely minced garlic
1 stalk of spring onion
Combine the chilli oil, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and vinegar. Mix well until all is incorporated, and then add the minced garlic. Slice the spring onion on the diagonal but save as garnish.
When the wontons are cooked, drain them well and combine with the sauce. Scatter the spring onions on top as garnish.