Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Advent 2013 day seventeen

Back from my walk, so here comes the next installment...wontons!!

In November I asked people, kind of casually, if there were any particular things they would like to do during Advent. Jörn and Lukas, independently of each other, both requested wontons. Not only are wontons not a traditional part of our Christmas, even in our childhoods, we've never even made them at ANY time! However, they were a traditional part of our Thanksgiving meal in my family, and although we haven't been to the U.S. for a lot of Thanksgivings, we've been there for Thanksgiving more than at any one other time. There were wontons at my brother's wedding December 31st, 2009, and we were there for Thanksgiving in 2010 (which was the last time we were in the U.S.), so those were the last two times we had wontons. As to how wontons became a traditional part of my Anglo-Saxon-background family...if I have the story right, my mother had a Chinese roommate in college and learned to make them from her (she DID have a Chinese roommate in college, I'm just not sure if that's how my mother learned to make wontons), then made them for no particular reason at some point when we were little, and my brother loved them, and then when his class had a Thanksgiving meal together and everyone was supposed to bring something traditional from their own families, my brother volunteered wontons. I don't remember ever NOT having wontons at Thanksgiving, but then, I didn't even like them until I was about 19!

So. I put "make wontons" in the Advent calendar and hoped we would figure it out. Three Asian shops and Metro all did not have wonton "skins", although the people at one of the Asian shops had at least heard of them. I got the recipes for the filling and the sweet and sour sauce from my mother, and a recipe for the wonton skins from the internet, and scheduled "make wontons" for Tuesday, the 17th, since we're all home on Tuesday afternoons, and hoped we'd manage it. And we did!

Day 17, December seventeenth

Step one: making the dough for the skins. I'd thought of buying white flour, to make them more like store-bought, and then figured that "authentic" would probably actually be rice flour anyway, and in the end, I didn't get anything special, just used the usual whole-wheat flour I use for everything else.

Elisabeth was quite excited about helping:

And here's the finished dough, which then had to "rest" for 30 to 60 minutes. It's not very much--I only made a single recipe, which said it would make approximately 24, because I was very nervous about whether they would work at all and I didn't want to waste more ingredients than necessary!

However, it rolled out beautifully and was very easy to work with:

While I was doing the wonton skins (with quite a few other pairs of hands trying to help...), Jörn made the filling and the sweet and sour sauce:

 Then came the only part of wonton-making in which I'd ever been involved before: filling and folding them. Jörn also did some, but stopped to take these photos:

Jörn and I fried them, while Lukas (that's his arm in the background) stirred the sweet and sour sauce:
 I'd never deep-fried anything before, so was nervous about that part too. It also worked well, except for splattering my favorite and warmest sweatshirt, which was irritating. I've washed it once, and some of the grease came out, but not all. It took nearly three days to dry as it was, so I'm just wearing it with grease on it at the moment, because it's too cold to wait another three days for it to dry!

Once we'd finished frying the wontons, there was still quite a lot of oil left, and Lukas remembered that in October, when he was in Germany, our friend Margaret had given him a couple of packages of papadums (not that I had ANY clue how to spell that, but google is very helpful, especially with a word that can apparently be spelled a dozen or more ways!), so we fried all of those up, too. We had 31 wontons and plenty of leftover filling to pile on the papadums and drizzle sweet and sour sauce over, and along with cut-up vegetables and some cheese, that was our dinner:

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