Wontons are a dumpling that originated in China and has since spread throughout the world. The dumplings consist of a filling wrapped in a thin sheet of wheat-based dough. Cooks prepare wontons in a number of ways, the most common being baking, poaching in a soup, and frying. Fried wontons can be side dishes, snacks or part of a main meal, often with a dipping sauce. Both Asian and Western fillings are suitable for wontons.
Meat Filling Ideas
Meat is one of the most common fillings for fried wontons, both in China and elsewhere, with ground pork the most used. Ground beef, chicken and duck are also tasty. For a traditional wonton filling, mix the meat with Chinese five spice (a spice mix that typically includes cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, star anise and Szechuan peppercorns), salt and pepper, spring onion and sesame oil. If you want to experiment, replace the five spice with chili or another spice. You could also add vegetables, such as pepper or mushroom.
Seafood Filling Ideas
Wontons often contain seafood filling. Shrimp is popular in both China and the West. Shrimp combined with pork is a traditional Chinese filling. Crab is another popular filling, and its distinctive flavor works well. Crab rangoon are a type of crab and cream cheese wonton, which are very popular in US Chinese restaurants. As with meat wontons, you can add either traditional Chinese spices to seafood wontons, or other spices such as chili.
Vegetable Filling Ideas
Most types of vegetable can be used as wonton fillings. When making vegetable wontons, you need to add some fat to the filling to prevent the wontons becoming dry. Cream cheese and tofu both work well, and will help bind your filling together. Onions, mushrooms, peppers, peas and carrot can all combine well to make wonton fillings. Add Chinese or other spices to improve the flavor.
Sweet Filling Ideas
While many people think of wontons as a savory dish, you can eat sweet wontons as a dessert. Sweet vegetables such as canned sweet bean paste or pumpkin puree are a good base for the filling. Add sugar, dried fruit such as dates and raisins, and spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg to improve the flavor. Adding cream cheese can help make the mixture richer and prevent drying.