Friday, March 13, 2009

Asian Night: Fried Wontons, Fried Rice and Lettuce Wraps

This is probably the fastest photo I've ever taken of a dinner, LOL. We had Asian food again last night, and enjoyed this one immensely.

I made PF Chang's Lettuce Wraps again, though this time they were pretty fiery because my daughter made the stir fry sauce and she apparently had some trouble telling TABLESPOON from TEASPOON. I miss the days of mandatory home ec classes :-)
Still, the chicken was fantastic. Very spicy, but oh so good. We ate a bunch of them even with the tripled heat.

I did NOT make my normal (and easier) Fried Rice recipe. Tonight, because I had the ingredients on hand, I decided to try Juan Carlos Cruz's recipe for Pork Fried Rice.

All I can say is WOW. It had a TON of great flavor.

I did things a tad different than he said, though. For one, because I was making the wontons and they called for a half-pound of ground pork (they called for raw, and I have this thing about using raw food in something that's only going to cook for like three minutes, so I wanted to cook it first), I bought a whole pound of ground pork, and browned it all. I used half in the wontons and saved the other half for the rice. [The good thing about using ground pork instead of cut-up pork? In fried rice, it all blends in with the rice after the sauces are added and your kids can't tell the pork is in there. I know, I'm a tricky mom].

Secondly, I added 4 cups of cooked rice instead of two. Third, I cooked the rice while I was making the wontons (they were pretty time-consuming, probably an hour all together) and then chilled it in the sunroom (it was 30 degrees out, so that was basically like putting it in the freezer). I find that if you do that, the rice dries out a bit and cooks much better.

Fourth, I used a single bag of frozen peas and carrots. I wasn't going to chop both carrots and then add frozen peas ;-). I did grate the ginger (I keep a ginger root in my freezer all the time) and did chop up the garlic, etc. (and I used fresh...I'm on this fresh ingredients kick lately and boy, it has made a HUGE difference in taste).

Now, for the wontons. I got the recipe from Gourmet magazine, and had been waiting a while to try them. These were time-consuming but easy.

I also couldn't get round wonton wrappers here (I live in the land of sporadic shallot availability, remember) so I used square ones. I folded them diagonally, then folded the corners down, then folded the triangle edge up, using water to seal each edge.

I did NOT boil them (but I think that's because I couldn't get them to come out the way they were supposed to so they wouldn't stay together that way...frustration because the wrappers were small and thin). I fried them instead in a little peanut oil (not deep fry, just pan fry, about 2 minutes per side). They are SO GOOD served hot. DD and I ate half of them, I think, before they even made it to the table.

BTW, if you go to the link for the recipe and click on Video, it shows you everything, including how to make the dumpling (if you want them to be boiled and be dumplings instead) dough and to make them into that neat little crescent shape instead. In my spare time, LOL, I think I might try to make them homemade. Or just get myself to the Asian market here in town and buy the round ones ;-)

The Lantern Dumpling Sauce you serve with it is AWESOME. We used it with the lettuce wraps too (we had the PF Chang sauce as well) and enjoyed it with that as well. The sauce couldn't be easier to make.

All in all, a really enjoyable dinner. Lots of dishes involved, but if I had planned ahead a little better, I wouldn't have had so many. I just kind of last minute decided to do this, at like 6:15, and that pushed dinner to like 7:30, so I wasn't all set up like I like to be when I make Asian food. (See my tips here).

Tonight is the easiest night of all...ordering pizza night ;-)



  1. Anonymous1:10 PM

    You're making me hungry. :)

    So home ec isn't required anymore, huh? I had no idea.

  2. At least not in our high schools. But it worked out -- when I had the leftover wraps today, I cut the heat with a little sugar. Perfection!


Share a recipe or thought, and remember to visit to read about Shirley's latest book!