If you’re a fan of Chinese cuisine, you may have come across the delightful dish known as wonton. Wonton is a traditional Chinese dumpling that has been enjoyed for centuries and has gained popularity worldwide. With its delicate wrapping and flavorful fillings, wonton offers a delectable culinary experience that is both satisfying and comforting. In this article, we will explore the origins, preparation, and various types of Chinese wonton.
Wonton is a traditional Chinese dumpling that originated in China and has various cooking methods and forms. When making wontons, a thin wrapper is used to wrap a filling of meat, and then they are boiled until cooked. They are typically served with soup. Wontons are similar to dumplings, but the term “wonton” was officially distinguished from “dumpling” during the Tang Dynasty.
what is a wonton called?
Originally known as “馄饨” (Hún Tún), the dish has different regional names and variations, resulting in the various terms:
Beijing, Shanghai, and Northern China: It is commonly referred to as “馄饨” (Hún Tún).
Guangdong: Due to regional accents, it is commonly referred to as “云吞” (Yún Tūn), which is the Cantonese pronunciation. The English term “wonton” is derived from the Cantonese pronunciation.
Fujian: It is commonly referred to as “扁食” (Biǎn Shí) or occasionally “扁肉” (Biǎn Ròu). The meat filling is often pounded to achieve a particular texture.
Sichuan: It is commonly referred to as “抄手” (Chāo Shǒu). Sichuan cuisine is known for its spiciness, and there is a famous dish called “红油抄手” (hóng yóu chāo shǒu) which translates to “red oil wonton.”
Hubei: It is commonly referred to as “馄饨” (Hún Tún), although some people also call it “水饺” (Shuǐ Jiǎo).
Jiangxi: It is commonly referred to as “清汤” (Qīng Tāng), which means clear soup.
Japan: Influenced by Cantonese chefs from China’s Guangdong province, it is referred to as “ワンタン” (wantan) in Japanese, pronounced similarly to the Cantonese “云吞” (Yún Tūn). The name “馄饨” (Hún Tún) from northern China is less commonly used.
Taiwan: In the Hokkien language spoken in southern Taiwan, it is referred to as “扁食” (Biǎn Shí). Following the influx of immigrants from various regions of China around 1949, different names like 馄饨 (Hún Tún), 云吞 (Yún Tūn), 扁食 (Biǎn Shí), or 抄手 (Chāo Shǒu) are all commonly used in Taiwan.
what are Chinese wontons made of?
Wonton is made by wrapping a filling in a mixture of flour and water. The filling can include a combination of lean and fatty pork, fresh shrimp, ground fish, and egg yolk. The wrapping technique emphasizes speed, and the wontons are typically small enough to be consumed in one bite. The skin of Fujian-style wonton is made from wheat flour, and the filling is pounded to create a crispy and tender texture, resulting in a refreshing and crunchy experience. This differs significantly from the taste of northern-style wonton and other regional variations.
Chinese wontons are typically made of a thin dough wrapper and a filling. The dough is made from wheat flour and water, and it is rolled out into thin sheets. The filling can vary but commonly consists of a mixture of ingredients such as ground pork (a combination of lean and fatty meat), minced shrimp, finely chopped vegetables like Chinese cabbage or scallions, and seasonings such as soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil. The filling ingredients are combined together and then placed in the center of the dough wrapper. The edges of the wrapper are folded and sealed to create various shapes, such as a triangle or a nurse’s cap. The filled wontons are then boiled in water or broth until they are cooked and ready to be served. Wontons are often enjoyed with a dipping sauce or served in a flavorful soup.
what is a wonton wrapper?
A wonton wrapper is a thin sheet of dough that is used to wrap the filling for making wontons. It is a crucial component in creating the distinct shape and texture of wontons. Wonton wrappers are typically made from wheat flour and water, although some variations may include other ingredients like egg.
The dough is prepared by mixing the flour and water to form a smooth and elastic dough. It is then rolled out into thin sheets, usually using a rolling pin. The sheets are cut into square or round shapes of a specific size suitable for wrapping the filling.
Wonton wrappers have a delicate and slightly chewy texture when cooked. They are designed to hold the filling securely while cooking and provide a pleasant contrast to the tender filling inside.
Wonton wrappers are widely available in Asian grocery stores and can be found fresh, frozen, or dried. They are a convenient option for making wontons at home, saving time and effort compared to making the wrappers from scratch.
why called wonton?
According to the historical records, in the book “Fangyan” written by Yang Xiong during the Western Han Dynasty, it is mentioned that “饼谓之饨” (bing wei zhi tong), where “tong” refers to a type of cake. Wonton is a type of cake that is distinguished by its filling of meat, which is steamed or boiled before consumption. If it is cooked in soup, it is called “汤饼” (tang bing), meaning soup cake.
Ancient Chinese people regarded wonton as a sealed bun without seven openings, hence it was called “浑沌” (hun dun). Following the rules of Chinese character formation, it later became known as “馄饨” (hun tun).
what are wonton wrappers made of?
The dough for wonton wrappers is made from wheat flour.
Wonton wrappers are made from wheat flour. The main component of wheat flour is starch, followed by gluten proteins. The formation of dough primarily relies on the gluten proteins. Among the amino acids that make up gluten proteins, there is one called “cysteine.”
Cysteine can form “disulfide bonds” with other cysteine residues in gluten proteins, thereby tightly linking these gluten proteins together. Each gluten protein may have multiple cysteine residues, each capable of recombining with other gluten proteins.
This leads to the formation of a large gluten protein network that entangles starch molecules, creating the dough. In the same flour, the key to achieving a more elastic and resilient dough lies in the formation of more disulfide bonds.
what to do with leftover wonton wrappers?
There are several creative and delicious ways to use leftover wonton wrappers. Here are some ideas:
Fried Wonton Strips: Cut the leftover wonton wrappers into thin strips or triangles and deep-fry them until crispy. These crispy wonton strips can be used as toppings for salads, soups, or noodle dishes, or enjoyed as a snack with dipping sauces.
Baked Wonton Chips: Cut the wonton wrappers into desired shapes, such as squares or triangles. Brush them with oil, sprinkle with seasoning (such as salt, pepper, or herbs), and bake them in the oven until golden and crispy. These baked wonton chips are great for dipping in salsa, guacamole, or hummus.
Wonton Cups: Press the wonton wrappers into muffin tins or mini tart pans to create a cup shape. Bake them until they become crispy and golden. Once cooled, these wonton cups can be filled with various savory fillings, such as diced vegetables, cooked meats, or cheese, and served as appetizers or party snacks.
Steamed Wonton Dumplings: If you have leftover wrappers and filling, you can make additional wontons and steam them. Arrange the wontons in a steamer basket and steam them until the filling is cooked and the wrappers become soft and tender. Serve the steamed wontons with a dipping sauce of your choice.
Wonton Noodle Soup: Use the leftover wonton wrappers to make more wontons and cook them in a flavorful broth along with noodles, vegetables, and proteins like chicken or shrimp. Enjoy a delicious bowl of wonton noodle soup.
These are just a few ideas to spark your creativity. Feel free to experiment with different flavors and fillings to make the most of your leftover wonton wrappers.
what can i use instead of wonton wrappers?
Those are indeed some excellent substitutes for wonton wrappers. Here’s a bit more information about each option:
Gyoza Wrappers: Gyoza wrappers are similar to wonton wrappers but slightly thicker. They work well as a replacement and are commonly used for making Japanese-style dumplings called gyoza.
Shumai Wrappers: Shumai wrappers are thinner and more delicate than wonton wrappers. They are typically used for making Chinese-style shumai dumplings, which have an open-top and are pleated on the sides.
Spring Roll Wrappers: Spring roll wrappers are larger and thinner than wonton wrappers. They are typically made from a combination of wheat flour, water, and sometimes rice flour. Spring roll wrappers are commonly used to make crispy fried spring rolls.
Rice Paper: Rice paper is a thin, translucent wrapper made from rice flour. It is commonly used in Vietnamese cuisine to make fresh spring rolls. Rice paper becomes soft and pliable when soaked in water and is suitable for wrapping various fillings.
Tofu Wrapper/Beancurd Sheet: Tofu wrapper or beancurd sheet is a unique substitute made from soybean curd. It is a delicate wrapper that can be used for wrapping fillings, providing a different texture and taste to the dish.
When using these substitutes, it’s important to adjust the cooking time and technique accordingly, as the thickness and texture may differ from wonton wrappers. Experiment with different wrappers to find the best fit for your desired dish.
what is inside a wonton?
The filling inside a wonton can vary, but it typically includes a combination of ingredients such as ground pork (a mix of lean and fatty meat), minced shrimp, finely chopped vegetables like Chinese cabbage or scallions, and seasonings like soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil.
The specific proportions and additional ingredients can vary based on personal preferences and regional variations. Some recipes may also include ingredients like water chestnuts, mushrooms, or cilantro for added flavor and texture.
The filling ingredients are mixed together to create a flavorful mixture, and then small portions of the filling are placed in the center of each wonton wrapper. The wrapper is then folded and sealed to enclose the filling, creating the distinct wonton shape.
Once the wontons are filled and sealed, they are typically cooked by boiling them in water or broth until they are cooked through and the wrappers become tender. The cooked wontons are then served in a soup or as a standalone dish, often accompanied by a dipping sauce or additional seasonings.
what are the ingredients in wonton soup?
Wonton soup typically consists of the following ingredients:
Wontons: These are the dumplings made with a thin wrapper and filled with a mixture of ingredients like ground pork, shrimp, vegetables, and seasonings.
Broth: The base of wonton soup is usually a flavorful broth. The broth can vary depending on regional preferences, but commonly it is a chicken or pork broth. It is often seasoned with ingredients like ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and sometimes a hint of sesame oil.
Vegetables: Wonton soup may include vegetables such as bok choy, Napa cabbage, or spinach. These vegetables are often added to the soup to provide freshness, texture, and added nutrition.
Garnishes: Wonton soup can be garnished with various toppings to enhance flavor and presentation. Common garnishes include sliced green onions, cilantro, and sometimes a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds.
The combination of these ingredients creates a comforting and flavorful soup with tender wontons, a savory broth, and additional elements like vegetables and garnishes. The exact recipe and variations can differ based on personal preferences and regional styles.
different types of wonton
resh Meat Wonton
Fresh meat wonton is a dish made with lean and fatty pork, wheat flour, Chinese cabbage, and dried seaweed as the main ingredients, seasoned with cooking wine, salt, pepper, and sesame oil.
Fresh Shrimp Wonton
Fresh shrimp wonton is a traditional snack loved by people in Guangzhou. The wonton wrappers in Guangdong are thin and filled with abundant ingredients such as pork, eggs, and shrimp.
In Guangzhou, almost every restaurant and eatery, big or small, serves plain wontons or wonton noodles. The soup for wonton noodles is carefully made by simmering pork bones, shrimp shells, and freshwater fish for several hours. A bowl of noodles with a few wontons can be enjoyed as breakfast, lunch, or even dinner.
Shrimp wonton is another traditional snack, similar to the fresh shrimp wonton mentioned earlier. The wonton wrappers in Guangdong are thin and filled with abundant ingredients such as pork, eggs, and shrimp. In Guangzhou, almost every restaurant and eatery, big or small, serves plain wontons or wonton noodles. The soup for wonton noodles is carefully made by simmering pork bones, shrimp shells, and freshwater fish for several hours.
Vegetable and Meat Wonton
Vegetable and meat wonton is a delicious and popular snack, especially in the Jiangnan region of China. Chopped vegetables are mixed with minced meat and seasoned with a teaspoon of Shaoxing wine, half a teaspoon of salt, a little ginger, a tablespoon of chopped green onions, half a teaspoon of monosodium glutamate, and a tablespoon of sesame oil. The mixture is then wrapped in wonton wrappers.
Take a soup bowl, pour boiling water, and add about 20 wontons. Cook on high heat for 3 minutes. Add half a teaspoon of salt, a tablespoon of chopped green onions, half a teaspoon of monosodium glutamate, a tablespoon of sesame oil, and an appropriate amount of broth. The dish is ready to be served.
Spicy Wontons in Red Oil
Spicy wontons in red oil are a regional specialty in Sichuan and Chongqing, belonging to Sichuan cuisine. These delicate and flavorful wontons have a slightly spicy and aromatic broth. Wontons are similar to dumplings but smaller in size. In Guangzhou, they are called “yuntun,” and in Jiangxi, they are called “qingtang.”
Fried Wonton（wong tongs）
Fried wonton is a traditional local snack in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. It is a unique way of preparing wontons, with a crispy exterior and tender interior, offering a distinctive flavor that is savory and slightly salty. It is a simple and delicious home-cooked dish.
Wonton Noodle Soup is a local snack in Cantonese cuisine, with its main ingredients including flour, eggs, vegetables, and meat. Wonton noodles are made by cooking Cantonese-style wontons and egg noodles, which are then served with hot broth. The distinguishing features of Wonton Noodle Soup can be summarized as the “Three Factors”:
The three factors of the noodles: The noodles are made of finely shredded silver needle noodles.
The three factors of the wontons: The wontons are made with a mixture of fatty and lean pork, and the filling is enhanced with a blend of egg yolks, enriching the meat flavor.
The three factors of the broth: The broth is a rich soup made from simmering dried flounder and pork bones, providing a flavorful and clear base.
The authenticity of Wonton Noodle Soup can be determined by identifying the “Three Factors” of the dish: the noodles, the wonton filling, and the broth. The noodles should be fine and delicate silver needle noodles, the wontons should have a filling made with a combination of fatty and lean pork, enhanced with egg yolks, and the broth should possess a rich and clear taste achieved through simmering dried fish and shrimp shells.
what does wonton look like?
Wonton can have various shapes and forms depending on the region. Here are several common shapes:
Yuanbao-shaped wonton: Resembles the shape of ancient Chinese currency, Yuanbao.
Irregular-shaped wonton: Can resemble an irregularly shaped dumpling.
Specifically, there are a few different shapes for wonton compared to dumplings:
Wonton wrappers are usually square with a side length of about 6 centimeters or trapezoidal with a top side length of about 5 centimeters and a bottom side length of about 7 centimeters. Dumpling wrappers are typically round with a diameter of about 7 centimeters.
Wonton wrappers are thinner and become translucent when cooked. Due to the difference in thickness, wontons take less time to cook compared to dumplings with an equal amount. Cooking dumplings requires adding cold water three times during the cooking process, known as the “three sinks, three floats” technique, to ensure they are fully cooked.
Wontons are often served in a rich broth, while dumplings are commonly served with dipping sauces.
Wonton can have the following shapes:
Semi-circular (similar to dumplings)
Rectangular (folded in half)
Triangular (folded diagonally)
history of wonton
The history of wonton can be traced back to ancient China, with its origins dating back over 2,000 years. The exact origin and the specific person or region responsible for its creation are uncertain, but wonton is believed to have originated in Northern China, particularly in the regions of Shandong and Hebei.
The word “wonton” itself is derived from the Cantonese pronunciation of the Chinese characters “云吞” (yún tūn), which means “swallowing clouds.” This name is said to have been inspired by the shape of the wonton dumplings, which resemble little clouds floating in the soup.
Wonton was initially created as a way to utilize leftover ingredients and make efficient use of resources. It was a clever way to transform small portions of meat, vegetables, and other ingredients into a satisfying and flavorful dish. The filling traditionally consisted of minced pork or shrimp mixed with seasonings such as soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. Over time, various regional variations and fillings have emerged, reflecting the diverse culinary traditions across China.
Wonton gained popularity during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) and continued to evolve and spread throughout different regions of China. In Southern China, particularly in Guangzhou (Canton), wonton became a beloved street food and an essential part of Cantonese cuisine. The delicate and flavorful wonton wrappers, along with the rich and aromatic broth, became a signature characteristic of Cantonese wonton.
As Chinese immigrants traveled to different parts of the world, they brought the wonton with them, introducing it to various cuisines and cultures. Today, wonton is enjoyed not only in China but also in many other countries around the globe, often adapted to local tastes and ingredients.
Wonton has become a versatile and popular dish, served in a variety of ways. It can be enjoyed in soups, deep-fried, steamed, or served in spicy sauces. Whether it’s a simple wonton soup or a more elaborate preparation, wonton continues to be cherished as a delicious and comforting culinary delight with a rich history.
who invented wontons?（when were wonton invented）
There are several different claims regarding the invention of wonton. Here is a summary of the main ones:
Invention by Zhang Xiaoxiang:
Wonton is a popular traditional Chinese dish with a history that can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty. It is said that wonton was initially created by an official named Zhang Xiaoxiang during the Tang Dynasty. Zhang Xiaoxiang was a talented official who excelled in governance and had a keen interest in food. One day, he came up with the idea of wrapping meat fillings, vegetables, and other ingredients in dough and cooking them. He tried making some at home and it was a great success. This new food not only tasted delicious but was also convenient to carry, gaining wide popularity among people.
Invention by Zhang Zhongjing:
Another legend suggests that wonton was originally invented by a physician named Zhang Zhongjing. Zhang Zhongjing was a renowned ancient Chinese medical expert who had extensive knowledge of medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, and also had a deep understanding of food. According to the legend, Zhang Zhongjing discovered that some patients couldn’t eat cooked food, so he thought of wrapping medicinal herbs and meat fillings in dough and cooking them into an easily digestible food. This food could not only treat illnesses but also satisfy people’s taste buds, quickly spreading and becoming a popular delicacy. Regardless of which legend, both explain the origin and preparation method of wonton. The making of wonton is relatively simple, typically involving mixing flour and water to form dough, rolling out the dough into thin sheets, filling them with various ingredients, and cooking them. The fillings can include pork, beef, lamb, and other meats, as well as ingredients like chives, tofu, and shrimp. Wonton is known for its delicious taste, nutritional richness, and is considered one of China’s traditional cuisines.
Invention in Taoism:
Another theory suggests that during the Winter Solstice, grand ceremonies were held at major Taoisttemples in the capital city. Taoist priests chanted scriptures and offered prayers to celebrate the birth of the Primordial Celestial Venerable. Taoism considers the Primordial Celestial Venerable as the symbol of the undifferentiated chaos and the concealed vital energy of Dao. Therefore, there was a custom among the people to eat wontons on the Winter Solstice. In the book “Yanjing Sui Shi Ji,” it is mentioned: “The shape of wontons resembles chicken eggs and symbolizes the appearance of the chaos of heaven and earth. Therefore, they are eaten on the day of the Winter Solstice.” In reality, “wonton” sounds similar to “hundun” (chaos in Chinese), so people metaphorically linked eating wontons to breaking the chaos and opening up heaven and earth. In later generations, the original meaning was no longer explained, and it became a customary saying that people eat wontons during seasonal festivals.
Invention by Xi Shi:
According to legend, during a banquet in the Wu and Yue states in the Spring and Autumn period, the King of Wu lost his appetite after having eaten many delicacies. The beautiful woman, Xi Shi, went to the royal kitchen and made a kind of dumpling in the shape of a dustpan as a gift for the king. The king immediately consumed a large bowl and asked, “What kind of snack is this? It tastes so delicious!” Xi Shi, thinking that the king was foolish and ignorant, casually replied, “Hundun.” To commemorate Xi Shi’s wisdom and creation, the people of Suzhou designated it as a seasonal delicacy for the Winter Solstice festival.
Invention by the Xiongnu:
In old Beijing, there was a saying, “Wonton during the Winter Solstice and noodles during the Summer Solstice.” According to the legend, during the Han Dynasty, the northern Xiongnu frequently harassed the border areas, causing great suffering to the people. Among the Xiongnu tribes, there were two brutal leaders named Hunshi and Tunshi. The people hated them deeply and made dumplings filled with meat to vent their anger. They named them “hundun” after the sounds of “Hun” and “Tun.” By eating them, they hoped to calm the chaos and achieve peace. Because the initial creation of wonton was on the day of the Winter Solstice, it became a tradition for people to eat wonton in every household on that day.
when were wonton noodles invented?
According to historical research, Wonton Noodles (云吞面) first appeared in the late Ming Dynasty and early Qing Dynasty in the Xiguan area of Guangzhou. It is said to have been introduced from Hunan during the Tongzhi reign. Initially, it was mainly sold by street vendors. Wonton, also known as Yun Tuan, was originally used for sacrificial purposes. In the Song Dynasty, during the Winter Solstice, markets and shops closed down, and each family would make wontons as offerings to their ancestors. After the ritual, the whole family, young and old, would share and eat the sacrificial wontons. Wealthy families would have a plate of sacrificial wontons with over ten different fillings, known as “Bai Wei Wontons” (Hundred-Flavor Wontons). After the Southern Song Dynasty, wontons began to be sold in markets. Later, in the provincial capital of Guangzhou, Wonton Noodles became differentiated into “Da Yong” (large serving) and “Xiao Yong” (small serving). Due to phonetic similarities in Cantonese, they gradually transformed into “Da Rong” and “Xiao Rong.”
what does wonton represent?
Wonton, a traditional Han Chinese food, carries rich symbolism and cultural significance in Chinese culture. The symbolism and meaning of wonton can be summarized in the following aspects:
Symbolism of Wonton:
Reunion and Harmony: Wonton’s semi-circular shape symbolizes reunion and harmony in Chinese culture. People eat wonton to express the meaning of family reunion and harmonious friendships.
Happiness and Good Luck: Wonton is considered a symbol of happiness and good luck in certain regions. People eat wonton to express their prayers and wishes for happiness and good fortune.
Health and Longevity: In some cultures, wonton is seen as a symbol of health and longevity. People eat wonton to express their hopes and wishes for good health and a long life.
Symbolic Meanings of Wonton:
Family and Filial Piety: Wonton’s semi-circular shape resembles the shape of a “home,” making it a symbol of family and filial piety in Chinese culture. People eat wonton to emphasize the importance of family and express gratitude for familial bonds.
Friendship and Unity: The process of making wonton involves blending the filling and the wrapper together, symbolizing friendship and unity. Wonton is seen as a symbol of fostering and valuing friendships and unity among people.
Auspiciousness and Blessings: Wonton is considered an auspicious and blessed food in traditional Chinese culture. People present wonton as gifts to their friends and loved ones to convey wishes of blessings and auspiciousness.
In ancient China, there was a general named Han Xin, who designed a dumpling-shaped food called wonton to provide his soldiers with warm and nourishing meals. This story illustrates the origin and historical background of wonton.
In some regions of southern China, there is a legend called “Filial Son’s Wonton.” It tells the story of a filial son who prepared wonton in the shape of dumplings to delight his mother. This story highlights the virtue of filial piety in traditional culture.
In certain Western countries, there is a legend called “Mom’s Wonton.” According to the legend, a mother prepared wonton in the shape of dumplings to ensure her children enjoyed delicious and satisfying meals. This story showcases the themes of love and maternal care in Western culture.
In conclusion, as a traditional Han Chinese food, wonton not only delights the taste buds but also carries profound symbolism and cultural significance. It represents positive meanings such as reunion and harmony, happiness and good luck, and health and longevity. Additionally, wonton is associated with various legends and stories, endowing it with a sense of mystery and magical power. Understanding the symbolism and meaning of wonton allows us to appreciate its culinary and cultural value, while also drawing strength and blessings from it, bringing good fortune and happiness to ourselves and our families.
when do Chinese eat wonton?
Eating Wontons on the 2nd day of the Lunar New Year:
On the morning of the 2nd day of the Lunar New Year, people start eating wontons. The shape of the wrapped wontons resembles ingots, so eating wontons on this day symbolizes wishing for prosperity and wealth throughout the year. Since it is the second day of the new year, also known as the opening day of the year, people traditionally have a New Year’s meal and eat wontons for lunch. The shape of wontons resembling ingots is why eating wontons on this day is also called “welcoming the God of Wealth,” and the wonton soup is called “ingot soup.” In addition to wontons, people also eat noodles, which symbolize welcoming the return of daughters. Some places also eat fa gao, which symbolizes a prosperous new year.
Eating Wonton Stew on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year:
The 15th day of the Lunar New Year is the Lantern Festival, also known as the day when blessings are bestowed by heavenly officials. On this day, wontons are called “cauldron of wealth wontons.” As we all know, wontons are made by wrapping the filling with dough skin, symbolizing capturing all the blessings bestowed by heavenly officials. The full fillings of the wontons signify abundance of blessings. Therefore, just like tangyuan (glutinous rice balls), wontons are essential on this day.
Eating Wontons on the 8th day of the second lunar month:
According to folklore, people eat wontons on the 8th day of the second lunar month to commemorate a monk named Ma. Ma was the founding abbot of Helin Temple in the Tang Dynasty. There is a saying that goes, “On the 8th day of the second lunar month, if you eat wontons, you won’t get sick.” It is believed that this custom expresses people’s good wishes for a good harvest as spring plowing begins. The saying “On the 8th day of the second lunar month, if it rains, it will continue to rain” implies that people hope for a good spring harvest, and a “spring rain” that is “as precious as oil” is a desirable vision.
Eating Wontons on the 3rd day of the third lunar month:
There are many legends about the third day of the third lunar month, including the worship of Xuan Yuan, Chi You, and Pangu. Regardless of the specific legend, they are all related to the concept of chaos in ancient times. Therefore, since wontons sound similar to “chaos” in Chinese, and the shape of wontons resembles ingots and official hats, eating wontons on the 3rd day of the third lunar month is considered auspicious.
Eating Wontons on the summer solstice:
In the Jiangnan region of China, there is a saying that goes, “Eating wontons prevents prickly heat.” On the summer solstice, people in the Jiangnan region have the tradition of eating wontons, believing that it can prevent heat-related illnesses and promote good health during the summer. It is said that during the Song Dynasty, the imperial kitchen would make wontons specifically for the emperor and the empress on the summer solstice. There was even a famous type of wonton called “mangzhong wonton.”
There are three explanations for why people eat wontons on the summer solstice:
Eating wontons on the summer solstice makes people smart. Wontons have a shape that resembles chicken eggs and symbolize the chaos before the creation of the world. Eating wontons is believed to bring intelligence. It is also associated with breaking through chaos and opening up the heavens and the earth.
Eating wontons on the summer solstice makes swimming easier. The summer season is a time for swimming. When boiling wontons, they are ready to be served when they float to the surface after “three boils and three cools.” Since wontons always float to the surface, people believe that by eating wontons on the summer solstice, they will be able to float in water like wontons and not drown.
Eating “wontons mixed with noodles” on the summer solstice brings longevity. On this day, some people mix noodles in their wontons. Eating wontons represents avoiding summer troubles, and the long noodles symbolize the long daytime during the summer solstice, wishing for a long life. After the summer solstice, the noon sun gradually moves southward, and the daylight hours in the northern hemisphere decrease. Therefore, there is a saying that goes, “Eating noodles on the summer solstice makes the day shorter by one thread.”
Eating Wontons on the 6th day of the sixth lunar month:
For the people of Huzhou, the 6th day of the sixth lunar month is a special day, known as Tiankong Festival, Fanjing Festival, or Guji Festival in the folk. In the Huzhou region of Jiangnan, the tradition of eating wontons on the 6th day of the sixth lunar month has been preserved. On the 6th day of the sixth lunar month, apart from sunning things out, people eat wontons. There is a saying that goes, “On the 6th day of the sixth lunar month, eat a bowl of wontons and drop one.” This means that people must eat wontons on this day.
Eating Wonton Stew on the Ghost Festival:
Eating wonton stew on the Ghost Festival is a custom. Wontons have thin dough skin, and after being cooked, they look crystal clear. The fillings are also varied and delicious. Eating a hot and flavorful bowl of wonton stew on the Ghost Festival has the meaning of commemorating ancestors and warding off bad luck. It is also a beautiful blessing for family well-being.
Eating Wontons on the winter solstice:
Historical records show that as early as the Song Dynasty, people had the custom of eating wontons on the winter solstice. According to the book “Miscellaneous Records of the Four Seasons,” in the capital city at that time, families would eat wontons on the day of the winter solstice, giving rise to the saying “Winter wontons, year-round delicacy.” Initially, eating wontons on the winter solstice was meant for ancestral worship. Over time, as cultural centers shifted, eating wontons gradually turned into eating dumplings, and the saying became “Winter solstice dumplings, summer solstice noodles.”
wonton in the world
Tortellini and Tortelloni in Italian pasta share striking similarities in shape and wrapping technique with Chinese wontons from southern China. The main difference lies in the egg content of the dough, and the significant variation is found in the fillings. Italian “tortellini” fillings are rich and diverse, commonly featuring combinations of various cheeses, tomatoes, ham, bacon, spinach, and more. Ravioli in Italian cuisine, on the other hand, is closer to folded and unfolded jiaozi or Wenzhou-style wontons, with similar choices of fillings as Tortellini and Tortelloni.
There is also a significant connection between the pelmeni widely consumed by various ethnic groups in Siberia, Russian Federation, and the dumplings of China and Central Asia. Particularly, black pepper used in pelmeni is often imported from western China. Dumplings in Russia, Ukraine, and other ethnic groups are called vareniki or pirozhki, which bear strong resemblance to Chinese dumplings. In Korea and Turkic or Iranian-speaking countries, similar food items to Chinese “potstickers” or fried dumplings, or “xiaolongbao” and “soup dumplings,” are referred to as Manty, Manti, Mantu, Mandu, etc., clearly derived from the Chinese word for steamed bun, “mantou.”
why is wonton soup good for you?
Wonton soup can be a healthy and nutritious dish for several reasons:
Balanced ingredients: Wonton soup typically consists of wontons, which are filled with a mixture of ground meat (such as pork or shrimp) and vegetables. The filling provides a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. Additionally, the soup usually contains broth, which adds hydration and helps to create a satisfying meal.
Nutrient-rich broth: The soup base, often made from chicken or pork bones, provides essential nutrients like minerals, collagen, and gelatin. These nutrients can support joint health, aid digestion, and promote healthy skin.
Vegetables: Wonton soup is often garnished with vegetables like scallions, bok choy, or cilantro. These vegetables add vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to the dish, contributing to its nutritional value.
Low in fat (when prepared properly): Wontons can be boiled or steamed, which keeps the fat content low. Avoiding deep-frying the wontons can help maintain their nutritional value and minimize calorie intake.
Portion control: Wonton soup is typically served in a bowl, which helps with portion control. Controlling portion sizes can be beneficial for weight management and overall health.
However, it’s important to note that the nutritional content of wonton soup can vary depending on the specific recipe and ingredients used. Commercially prepared wontons or soup mixes may contain higher amounts of sodium and preservatives. To make a healthier version of wonton soup, consider using lean meats, whole-wheat wrappers, and opting for a homemade broth with reduced sodium levels. Adding a variety of vegetables can also increase the nutritional value of the soup.
why is wonton soup yellow?
Wonton soup is not typically yellow in color. The color of the soup can vary depending on the ingredients used and the preparation method. In most cases, the soup itself is clear or slightly cloudy, as it is primarily made from a flavorful broth.
If the wonton soup appears yellow, it could be due to the addition of certain ingredients or seasonings. Some possibilities include:
Broth: The color of the broth can vary based on the ingredients used to make it. For example, a broth made from chicken bones may have a yellowish hue, while a broth made from pork bones might be clearer or slightly white.
Seasonings: Wonton soup is often seasoned with soy sauce, which can add a brownish or amber color to the broth. Other seasonings like ginger or turmeric may also be used, which can contribute to a yellow tint.
Garnishes: Some recipes may include garnishes like sliced scallions or carrots, which can introduce a touch of yellow to the soup’s appearance.
It’s worth noting that the color of wonton soup can also be influenced by regional and personal preferences. Different cuisines and recipes may have variations in the ingredients and preparation methods, which can impact the final color of the soup.
is wonton soup good when sick?
Wonton soup can be a comforting and nourishing option when you’re feeling sick. Here are a few reasons why it can be beneficial:
Hydration: Wonton soup contains a broth base, which helps keep you hydrated. Staying hydrated is important when you’re sick, as it helps maintain bodily functions and can alleviate symptoms like congestion and sore throat.
Warm and soothing: The warm temperature of the soup can provide comfort and help soothe a sore throat or congestion. It may also provide a comforting feeling when you’re feeling under the weather.
Nutrient content: Wonton soup typically includes ingredients like vegetables, herbs, and protein-filled wontons. These can contribute essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and proteins that support your immune system and overall well-being.
Easy to digest: Wonton soup is generally light and easy to digest, making it suitable for those with a reduced appetite or digestive discomfort when sick. The soft wontons and broth are gentle on the stomach and can be more tolerable compared to heavier meals.
Comfort food: Sometimes, when you’re feeling sick, having a warm and comforting bowl of soup can provide a psychological boost. It can offer a sense of familiarity and comfort, which can positively impact your mood and well-being.
While wonton soup can be a beneficial option when sick, it’s important to consider individual dietary needs and preferences. If you have specific dietary restrictions or allergies, be sure to choose a wonton soup recipe or variant that aligns with your requirements. Additionally, consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice if you have severe symptoms or medical conditions.
what to make with wonton wrappers?
Wonton wrappers are versatile and can be used to create a variety of delicious dishes. Here are a few ideas:
Wonton Soup: The classic option is to use wonton wrappers to make wontons, which are then boiled or steamed and served in a flavorful broth. You can fill them with a mixture of ground meat (such as pork or chicken), vegetables, herbs, and seasonings.
Fried Wontons: Wonton wrappers can be filled with a savory mixture, such as ground meat, vegetables, and spices, and then deep-fried until crispy. These fried wontons make great appetizers or party snacks. Serve them with a dipping sauce like sweet and sour sauce or soy sauce.
Dumplings: Wonton wrappers can be used to make various types of dumplings, such as potstickers or gyoza. These are typically filled with a mixture of ground meat, vegetables, and seasonings, then pan-fried and steamed. They can be enjoyed as an appetizer, side dish, or even a main course.
Ravioli or Tortellini: Wonton wrappers can be used as a shortcut to make homemade ravioli or tortellini. Fill them with a mixture of cheese, herbs, or other desired ingredients, and cook them in boiling water until they are cooked through. Serve with your favorite sauce or broth.
Wonton Noodles: Cut wonton wrappers into thin strips or shapes to create homemade wonton noodles. Cook the noodles in boiling water until they are tender, then use them in soups or stir-fry dishes. They add a delightful texture and flavor to your dishes.
Wonton Cups: Press wonton wrappers into muffin tins to create little cups. Bake them until they are crispy and use them as edible containers for various fillings, such as crab or shrimp salad, creamy dips, or even mini quiches.
Dessert Wontons: Wonton wrappers can also be used for sweet dishes. Fill them with sweet ingredients like fruit, chocolate, or cream cheese, and fry them until golden. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or serve with a sweet sauce for a delightful dessert option.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Feel free to experiment with different fillings, flavors, and cooking methods to create your own unique dishes using wonton wrappers.
are wonton wrappers the same as dumpling wrappers?
Wonton wrappers and dumpling wrappers are similar, but there are slight differences between the two.
Wonton wrappers are typically thinner and more delicate than dumpling wrappers. They are made with a mixture of wheat flour, water, and sometimes eggs. Wonton wrappers are commonly used in Chinese cuisine to make wontons, which are filled with a mixture of ground meat, vegetables, and seasonings. Wontons are often boiled or steamed and served in soups.
Dumpling wrappers, also known as potsticker wrappers or jiaozi wrappers, are slightly thicker and more resilient compared to wonton wrappers. They are made from wheat flour and water. Dumpling wrappers are commonly used in various Asian cuisines, such as Chinese, Korean, and Japanese, to make dumplings. Dumplings are typically filled with a mixture of ground meat, vegetables, and seasonings, then pan-fried, boiled, or steamed.
While the two wrappers can be used interchangeably in some recipes, the texture and thickness of the wrappers may affect the final result. Wonton wrappers are best suited for delicate and light fillings, while dumpling wrappers are better for heartier and more robust fillings. It’s always a good idea to use the specific type of wrapper recommended in a recipe to achieve the desired texture and taste.
is wonton soup high in calories?
The calorie content of wonton soup can vary depending on the specific ingredients and preparation method used. However, in general, wonton soup is considered to be a relatively low-calorie dish compared to many other options.
The calories in wonton soup primarily come from the wonton wrappers, filling ingredients (such as ground meat or shrimp), and any additional ingredients used in the soup base. The cooking method (boiled, steamed, or fried) can also affect the overall calorie content.
On average, a serving of wonton soup (including both the wontons and the broth) can range from around 200 to 400 calories. This can vary based on factors such as the size and number of wontons, the type of filling, the amount of oil used in cooking, and any added toppings or condiments.
If you are watching your calorie intake, it’s important to be mindful of portion sizes and the overall balance of your meal. Wonton soup can be a nutritious choice as it often includes a combination of protein, vegetables, and broth. However, if you’re concerned about the calorie content, you can also consider options like vegetable-based broth, lean protein fillings, and reducing the amount of oil used in the cooking process.
is wonton soup fattening?
The fattening nature of wonton soup can depend on various factors, including the specific ingredients and cooking methods used. Wonton soup typically consists of wonton wrappers filled with ingredients such as ground meat or shrimp, which are then cooked in a broth. The calorie and fat content of the soup can vary based on these factors.
While wonton soup can be a relatively low-calorie option compared to many other dishes, it’s important to consider portion sizes and the overall balance of your diet. The soup itself is generally not considered to be inherently fattening, especially if it contains lean protein fillings and a light broth. However, if the wontons are deep-fried or served in a rich, high-fat broth, the calorie and fat content can increase.
To make a healthier wonton soup, you can opt for steamed or boiled wontons instead of fried ones. Additionally, choosing a broth that is lower in fat and sodium can help reduce the overall calorie content. Adding plenty of vegetables to the soup can also increase its nutritional value without significantly increasing the calorie count.
It’s always a good idea to enjoy wonton soup in moderation as part of a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutritious foods. If you have specific dietary concerns or goals, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for personalized advice.
how to make wonton?
Here’s a basic recipe for making wontons:
Ground meat (such as pork, chicken, or shrimp)
Finely chopped vegetables (such as cabbage, carrots, and green onions)
Minced garlic and ginger (optional)
Salt and pepper
Water (for sealing the wontons)
In a mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, chopped vegetables, minced garlic and ginger (if using), soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well until all the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
Take one wonton wrapper and place a spoonful of the filling in the center of the wrapper. Be careful not to overfill it to avoid difficulties in sealing.
Dip your finger in water and moisten the edges of the wonton wrapper to help seal it.
Fold the wrapper diagonally to form a triangle, enclosing the filling. Press the edges firmly to seal the wonton, ensuring there are no air pockets inside.
To create the classic wonton shape, take the two opposite corners of the triangle and bring them together. Apply a little water on one corner and press them together to seal.
Repeat the process with the remaining wonton wrappers and filling until you have made the desired number of wontons.
You can cook the wontons by either boiling, steaming, or frying them, depending on your preference.
Boiling: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Gently drop the wontons into the boiling water and cook for about 4-6 minutes or until they float to the surface and the filling is cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and serve with soup or sauce.
Steaming: Place the wontons on a steamer lined with parchment paper or cabbage leaves to prevent sticking. Steam for about 8-10 minutes or until the filling is cooked through.
Frying: Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Fry the wontons until they turn golden brown and crispy on all sides. Drain on a paper towel to remove excess oil.
Serve the wontons hot with your preferred dipping sauce or in a flavorful broth to make wonton soup.
Feel free to experiment with different fillings and seasonings to suit your taste preferences. Enjoy your homemade wontons!
how to wrap wonton?
Wrapping wontons can be done in a few simple steps. Here’s a guide to help you:
Place a wonton wrapper on a clean surface, like a cutting board or your hand, with one of the corners pointing towards you. The wrapper should be in a diamond shape.
Spoon a small amount of filling (about 1 teaspoon) onto the center of the wrapper. Be careful not to overfill it to ensure a proper seal.
Dip your finger or a small brush into water and moisten the edges of the wrapper. This will help seal the wonton.
Fold the bottom corner (the one closest to you) over the filling to the top corner. Press down gently to remove any air pockets and ensure a tight seal.
At this point, you should have a triangle-shaped wonton with the filling enclosed inside.
Take the left and right corners of the triangle and bring them together. Apply a small amount of water to one of the corners and press them together firmly to seal. You can slightly overlap the corners if necessary.
Make sure all the edges are sealed tightly to prevent the filling from escaping during cooking.
Repeat the process with the remaining wonton wrappers and filling until you have wrapped all the wontons.
Remember to keep the unused wrappers covered with a damp cloth or plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out.
With practice, you’ll become more skilled at wrapping wontons and can experiment with different shapes and techniques. Enjoy your homemade wontons!
how to cook wontons?
Pan-fried wontons: In the Guangdong and Jiangnan regions of China, there is a strong association between wontons and soup. Chicken broth and meat bone broth are preferred choices for the soup base. However, in ordinary shops, only seasonings and seaweed are added to the boiling water. Common soup toppings include shredded egg crepes, pickled vegetables, dried silk noodles, dried shrimp, quail eggs, and scallions. In Guangdong, wontons are often served with noodles and soup, known as “wonton noodles.” Some people prefer to eat only the wontons. The wonton soup is made by simmering pork bones, dried fish, and dried shrimp. In Hong Kong, some restaurants deep-fry wontons in hot oil until they turn golden and crispy, creating “fried wontons.” This practice is also popular in foreign countries.
In the city of Baise, Guangxi, people have a preference for sweet food. After wontons were introduced from Guangdong, a sweet version called “sweet wontons” emerged. Sweet wontons typically consist of a thin wonton wrapper filled with sweet bean paste. The wrapping method is the same as Guangdong-style wontons. The prepared sweet wontons are deep-fried in oil at around 50% heat until they become golden and crispy on the outside while tender on the inside. They are then served with a pre-cooked syrup made from brown sugar. The resulting flavor is sweet and aromatic without being greasy.
In the northern region of Fujian, the broth used for “bian shi” (a type of wonton) is typically a clear soup made from simmering pork bones. No other ingredients are added. Before consumption, the wontons are seasoned with cooking wine and monosodium glutamate, and sprinkled with chopped scallions. Bian shi is often eaten together with dry noodles, but it is less common to mix the two together.
wonton vs dumpling
Wontons and dumplings are both types of filled dough, but they differ in their shapes, fillings, and cooking methods. Here are the main differences between wontons and dumplings:
Shape: Wontons are typically smaller and have a triangular or rectangular shape. They are folded into a sealed pocket with a thin and delicate wrapper. Dumplings, on the other hand, come in various shapes such as crescent, half-moon, or round. They usually have a thicker and chewier wrapper.
Filling: Wonton fillings are often made with a mixture of ground meat (such as pork or shrimp) mixed with seasonings and sometimes vegetables. Dumplings can have a wider variety of fillings, including meat, vegetables, seafood, or a combination of ingredients. The filling for dumplings is usually more substantial and may contain more vegetables or additional seasonings.
Cooking method: Wontons are commonly cooked by boiling and served in soup, such as wonton soup. They can also be deep-fried or steamed. Dumplings, on the other hand, can be boiled, steamed, pan-fried, or even deep-fried, depending on the recipe and regional preferences.
Regional variations: Wontons are often associated with southern Chinese cuisine, particularly in Cantonese cuisine. They are popular in Hong Kong and parts of Guangdong province. Dumplings, on the other hand, have a broader presence in various Asian cuisines, including Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and other regional cuisines.
While wontons and dumplings have their differences, they both offer delicious and satisfying options for enjoying filled dough. Whether you prefer the delicate and soup-filled wontons or the heartier and versatile dumplings, both can be enjoyed in a variety of preparations and flavor combinations.
wonton vs xiao long bao
Wontons and Xiao Long Bao (also known as soup dumplings) are both popular types of Chinese dumplings, but they differ in several ways:
Wrapper: Wontons have a thin and delicate wrapper, typically made from wheat flour and water. They are usually boiled or served in soup. Xiao Long Bao, on the other hand, have a slightly thicker and more elastic wrapper made from a combination of wheat flour and gelatinized dough. The wrapper of Xiao Long Bao is strong enough to hold the soup broth inside.
Filling: Wonton fillings often consist of ground meat (such as pork or shrimp), seasonings, and sometimes vegetables. The filling is usually finely minced. Xiao Long Bao, on the other hand, have a more complex filling. In addition to ground meat, they contain a savory broth made from meat, gelatin, and seasonings. When cooked, the gelatin melts to form a flavorful soup inside the dumpling.
Cooking method: Wontons are typically boiled or sometimes deep-fried. They are commonly served in a soup or as a part of a noodle dish. Xiao Long Bao are steamed in bamboo baskets, which allows the soup inside to heat up and turn into a flavorful broth. They are usually served with a dipping sauce made from vinegar and ginger.
Regional variations: Wontons are popular in southern Chinese cuisine, particularly in Guangdong province and Hong Kong. They can be found in various soup-based dishes like wonton soup. Xiao Long Bao, on the other hand, originated in Shanghai and are a specialty of that region. They have gained popularity worldwide and are now commonly found in many Chinese restaurants globally.
Both wontons and Xiao Long Bao offer unique taste experiences and are enjoyed for their distinct flavors and textures. Wontons are known for their simplicity and versatility, while Xiao Long Bao are praised for their delicate skin, flavorful filling, and the soup surprise inside.
wonton vs shumai
Wonton and shumai are both types of Chinese dumplings but have some differences in their preparation, appearance, and filling:
Wonton: Wontons are small, bite-sized dumplings made with a thin wrapper typically made from wheat flour and water. The wrapper is folded around a filling consisting of ground meat (commonly pork) mixed with seasonings such as soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. Wontons are usually boiled, fried, or steamed and can be served in a clear broth or as a standalone dish. They have a characteristic folded and twisted shape, with the ends often brought together to form a “pouch” or “money bag” shape.
Shumai (also known as siu mai or shaomai): Shumai are open-faced dumplings that originated in Cantonese cuisine. They are typically made with a thicker, yellowish wrapper made from wheat flour and lye water. Shumai have a pleated or gathered wrapper that is open at the top, allowing the filling to be visible. The filling often consists of ground pork or a mixture of pork and shrimp, along with various seasonings such as soy sauce, sesame oil, and mushrooms. Shumai are steamed and commonly served with a dipping sauce.
In summary, while both wontons and shumai are types of Chinese dumplings, they differ in terms of their wrapper thickness, shape, and filling. Wontons have a thin, folded wrapper with a closed shape, while shumai have a thicker, open-faced wrapper with a pleated appearance.
In conclusion, Chinese wonton is a beloved culinary delight that has captured the hearts and taste buds of people around the world. Its delicate wrapping, flavorful fillings, and versatile serving options make it a dish that satisfies both the palate and the soul. Whether enjoyed in a comforting bowl of broth or as a tasty appetizer, wontons offer a truly memorable dining experience that celebrates the rich culinary heritage of China. So, the next time you come across wontons on a menu, be sure to give them a try and savor the taste of this timeless Chinese classic.
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