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Wonton 馄饨

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Wonton is a traditional regional pasta of the Han nationality in China. Originating from northern China, wontons are similar to dumpling and are usually served in soup.

Origin

Wontons(馄饨Húntun) can be dated back to the Han Dynasty over 2000 years ago. Wontons arecrescent shaped and were originally used in activities of sacrifice and worship. During theWinter Solstice Festival (冬至Dōngzhì)of the Song Dynasty (960 -1279), shops would close temporarily ehilr every family made wontons as sacrificial offerings for ancestor worship. Afterwards all the family members shared the wontons.

A plate of sacrificial wontons in wealthy and honored families called "Hundred Flavor Wontons" included dozens of flavors with different fillings After the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 – 1279), wontons became popular amongordinary people.

Ancient Chinese regarded wontons as a kind of sealed steamed bread. At that time, wonton s were no different from dumplings(饺子Jiǎozi).

For thousands of years dumplings showed little change, but wontons slowly became different especially in southern China. Wontons were distinguished from dumplings and got their own name since Tang Dynasty (618 -- 907).

It is said that in Han Dynasty (202 B.C. – 220 A.D), the Xiongnu(匈奴Xiōngnú), an ancient tribe in northern China, always harassed the border area so that local people suffered a lot. Hunshi  and Tunshi were the two leaders of the Xiongnu .

Because of their cruelty local people hated them but had no way to kill them. So people began to call their dumplings "Hun" and "Tun" and pretend they were eating the flesh of the two warlords.

Allegedly this took place on the Winter Solstice Festival, so after that, people always eat wontons on that festival.

In the past, there was a saying in Beijing "Eat wontons in theWinter Solstice Festival and eat noodles in the Summer Solstice Festival(夏至Xiàzhì)".

Wonton Described (Compared with Dumpling)

A piece of wonton wrapper is a 6×6 cm square, or a 5×7cm isosceles trapezoid; and a piece of dumpling wrapper is a circle 7cm in diameter.

Wonton wrapper is thinner than dumpling’s and looks crystal after cooking. If you cook the same amount of wontons and dumplings in boiled waterthe wontons will cook easier and faster.

The soup of wanton is the key of its flavor, while the dip is all-important to dumpling.

Different Names of Wonton

Beijing (northern China): wonton.

Sichuan: Chaoshou, Sichuan people like spicy flavor, so there is a famous dish named "Red oil (chili-made soup) Chaoshou(抄手Chāoshǒu)".

Hubei Province: it is called "boiled dumplings " in Wuhan region, and called "Baomian (包面Bāomiàn)" in other regions of Hubei.

Anhui Province: Baofu

Regions in the south of the Yangtze River: Shanghai, south Jiangsu, Zhejiang province call it "wěn tēn", which is similar to the pronunciation in Cantonese.

Jiangxi Province: known as "Qingtang(清汤Qīngtāng)", also "Baomian" and "Yuntun".

Guangdong Province: in Chinese, the two words of "wen tun" were infrequently written, and in the past, few people knew how to write them. So "wen tun" was generally written into "yunton" (in Cantonese), where its English name "wonton" originated from.

Fujian Province: known as "Bianshi ", "Bianrou ". The of meatfilling is usually hammered together by mallet.

How to Cook Wonton

Ingredients

175g minced pork, 340g chopped fresh vegetable (Chinese cabbage or celery), 24 (3.5 inch square) wonton wrappers, 1 green Chinese onion, 2 tablespoon Chinese rice wine, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon chopped green onion, and ginger, moderate soy sauce, chicken powder, oyster sauce, five spice powder to taste. Water should not be added into ingredients.

Preparation

In a large bowl, combine pork, sugar, salt, wine, soy sauce, green onion, and ginger. Blend well, and let stand for 10 minutes.

Direction

The way of making wonton varies from regions to regions. The easiest way is to place, roll it up with a chopstick, and press the top corner and the bottom to seal it.

Or, you can place about one teaspoon of the filling at the center of each wonton wrapper. Moisten all 4 edges of wonton wrapper with water, and then pull the top corner down to the bottom, folding the wrapper over the filling to make a triangle. Press edges firmly to make a seal. Bring left and right corners together above the filling. Overlap the tips of these corners, moisten and press together. Continue until all wrappers are used.

For soup

Bring some chicken soup to boil. Carefully place wontons (usually 10 – 15 wontons for each person) into boiling soup without crowding, and cook for 3 – 5 minutes till the wontons float to the surface. It’s best to serve with some white pepper powder, several drops of sesame oil, and oyster oil.

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  [Editor:Sunshine2014   2015/04/24/]
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