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February 10, 2008

Wonton skins (Recipe: chocolate-banana ravioli)

Wontonwrappers

Yesterday I taught an Asian noodle cooking class at Rhode Island School of Design (known hereabouts as RIZ-dee). In an attempt at full disclosure -- so that prospective students would understand, empathize with, and perhaps even share the depth of my addiction -- I titled the class Wonton Lust.

Oh, lust we did! Thirteen students, nine amazing dishes, eight different noodles, one tired instructor.

Next time, though, I might skip the rice vermicelli, banh pho, lo mein, ho fen, soba, udon and banh trang.

I might go right to the wonton skins, and stay there for the entire three-hour class.

Wonton skins are thin three-by-three-inch squares, made from flour, water, eggs and salt. (Note that the ones in this photo, purchased at an Asian grocery, also have artificial food coloring. I no longer buy this brand, though they're the least expensive.) In varying sizes, shapes, and thickness, the same "skin" encloses wontons, potstickers, dumplings, gyoza and egg rolls.

I'm embarrassed to tell you that until just a few years ago, my world view was so limited that I used wonton skins to make ... well, wontons. Only wontons. So, now I'm going to share one of the revelations that has rocked my cooking: wonton skins are dough. Yes, my friends, dough, which someone else has mixed and rolled for you, to a thinness that takes real work to achieve by hand.

Just think -- pre-made dough, square (wontons) or round (gyoza wrappers, which are just a tiny bit thicker than wontons), that you can store in the refrigerator (for a week or two) or freezer (for a couple of months) and turn into quick ravioli, samosas, empanadas or even a Napoleon! Any filling that you'd use for egg rolls or dumplings can be made into a wonton.

Here's another idea: Press wonton skins into a muffin pan (spray the muffin pan with baking spray), and bake to make edible cups for sweets or salsa. 

Almost every supermarket, including the one in our little village, now carries wonton skins, usually in the produce aisle along with tofu and bean sprouts. No matter which brand you buy, there are approximately 40 to a package.

So, for my next class, I'm thinking about 101 Things to Do with a Wonton Skin.

Any ideas?

Chocolate-banana ravioli

This recipe, adapted from Gale Gand and the Food Network, was the perfect ending to our class. Makes 10 wontons; recipe can be doubled, tripled, etc.

Ingredients

2 milk chocolate candy bars
20 wonton skins
2 bananas, sliced
4 cups vegetable oil
1/2 cup cinnamon sugar
1 pint vanilla frozen yogurt

Directions

Leave the milk chocolate in a warm place to make it slightly pliable, or warm between your hands. Cut each bar into 8 chunks and, with your hands, try to form each chunk into a disk the size of a quarter with no sharp edges. Lay half the wonton skins out on a surface and, one at a time, paint the edges with water. In the center of the wonton skin, place a disk of milk chocolate and a banana slice on top of the chocolate. Place another wonton on top, and press to seal tightly. Each wonton package should look like a ravioli. Cover with plastic wrap and store chilled until ready to fry and serve, up to 10 hours ahead.

Heat the oil in a wok or deep pot to 350°F. Drop the wontons into the oil, being careful not to crowd them (you may have to work in batches) and fry, turning often, until golden brown, 1-2 minutes. Meanwhile, place the cinnamon sugar in a bowl. Remove the wontons with a slotted spoon and immediately sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar to coat heavily. Serve right away with scoops of vanilla frozen yogurt.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:

Wonton skin soup
Curried chicken wontons
Vegetable dumplings for potstickers or soup

Photo from the archives.

Comments

What a timely post! I spotted wonton skins on sale in a shop here in Estonia, and was extremely excited, as it means I can make potstickers again:) Thanks for all those links - plenty for me to explore...

Oh, good heavens Lydia YES! Banana and chocolate. Might want to try adding a sandwich layer of peanut butter in there for a triple. Then another double would be to pair the chocolate coin with just the peanut butter. Yes, I have a fixation there. They are like a little thin wonder!

Some day I hope to attend one of your cooking classes! This post is such a coincidence...I am making wonton soup tonight :)
My favorite way to use fried wonton skins is to use them as a base for certain kinds of Indian street food.

Oooooh!

I'm planning on making something very nearly identical to this in the very near future, but with a chamorro twist (Think Guam... think Lumpia!)

We also use Wonton skins for ravioli, and there's no going back once you've tried it!

Mmmm ... Lydia ... how did you know that I was dreaming of banana and chocolate??? Seriously. I've had such a craving lately!

Wow - does that sound delicious! I wonder if that's how they make fried ice cream too?

Never thought of wonton skins as dough, brilliant idea! My sister is the wonton maker in our family; she always makes them for parties with a spicy pork and cabbage filling, just yummy!

This is brilliant! I'm heading straight for the supermarket!

Hello Lydia:)
I'm glad that I saw such a great recipe the moment I clicked on your address:) I've always used wonton skins for savoury dishes, thanks for bringing in more exciting ideas of how to use them:)

There was a sweet eggroll recipe on epicurious, but your recipe sounds way better...as much as I love wontons/eggrolls- I think w/o trying yours I would still have to say this would beat the traditional ones! Uggh, why oh why am I still afraid to fry?

Pille, I love making potstickers, too. Here's a recipe I posted a while ago:
http://www.theperfectpantry.com/2006/12/dumpling_wrappe.html

MyKitchen, oh yes, peanut butter! Elvis would have loved these!

Nupur, fried wontons would make a great companion for chutneys and raita. It was fun to take them in a sweet direction with the chocolate and banana filling.

Jerry, I am now hopelessly addicted to wonton skins. I love making steamed vegetable dumplings and adding them to soup -- not everything has to be fried, though they are unbelieveably good when they are fried!

Ivonne, this fits right in with the month of chocolate recipes you're featuring on your blog right now.

Kate, I don't know about fried ice cream, but it would be fun to try....

Kalyn, at first I had to wrap my brain around the fact that wontons do not have to be fried. They're great steamed, or in soup, or even baked.

TW, have fun! These aren't as elemental the Devil Dogs you posted about today, but they are oh-so-good.

Valentina, I had a friend's seven-year-old son assisting in the class yesterday, and he had the biggest smile on his face when he sprinkled the cinnamon sugar on his wonton and bit into it. I can't think of a better endorsement than that!

Callipygia, these were really simple to make. Yes, you do have to fry them, but it's worth it.

This is one of those times when you make me feel very deprived. None of my supermarkets carry wonton skins. And I have looked. We can get rice paper during Chinese New Year (go figure) but most of the 'Asian' foods tend more towards Viet Namese...not that I know what I'm talking about....sigh....

Oh my. I can just imagine how good these would taste with vanilla bean ice cream and a bit of maple creme...


j

Wonton lust, that's my kind of class! Amongst all the other great suggestions, you can also make pierogies with them, they really are a multicultural item.

oh yes, I am also a big fan of wonton, with endless possibilities. I love the dessert idea too. I make something similar. What a fun class!

Yes, I have wonton lust too! They are just the best thing ever. And your recipe is so cool! Yes--cool!!! :)

(I will be ordering the salt soon! I'm hooked.)

I´ve had a packet in the depths of the freezer for ages, meaning to make wontons. Now I guess I´ll throw it away, buy a fresh one and make this. It´s way too decadent to resist!!!

Katie, of course there is the whole French-Vietnamese connection, but I'm sad to know you can't find wontons. Now I will think of how to send some to you.

Jasmine, maple creme would be the icing on the cake!

Neil, yes, pierogies! If you have a recipe on your blog, please share the link.

Bea, I can only imagine what beautiful things you make (and photograph) with wontons. If you've posted about them, please share the link.

Sher, any recipe that pleases kids and adults is a keeper. (And I'm delighted to know that you're addicted to the Mor-sels sea salt...)

Lobstersquad, although you can freeze wontons, I always find that they are better when fresh or kept in the refrigerator. The frozen ones must defrost completely in the refrigerator, or they will be gummy and stick together. Worth a trip to the market for fresh wontons to make these "ravioli", I promise!

I never thought of wonton skins as simply dough either--opens up all sorts of possibilities, doesn't it? I think 101 Things to Do with a Wonton Skin is a great idea for a class.

I have been pondering how to get plantains into wonton wrappers. I think the idea is fabulous. Love your take on sweet raviolis!

I've made fried savory wonton but never thought of making sweet ones. What a great idea! To bite into the crispy crust and then into the hot, sweet, gooey filling!

Mmm, my mom used to make fried wontons just dusted with powder sugar for dessert. I imagine this would be 10 times better.

my first time here...came in to see Nupur's pantry!! :) even i have so far made only wontons with these wrappers...i bet u can make 101 things with a wonton skin!!! :)

Kathy, I'm going to start a list of all the wonton variations I run across -- I think it's a great idea for a class, too!

Gretchen, this would work for plantains, though you might want to cook them first (more like making a tostone, and wrapping it with chocolate in a wonton. Actually that sounds pretty good....

KitsChow, I wish I had a picture of the faces of my students as they bit into their wontons. Smiles all around.

Peabody, everything is better with chocolate inside!

Superchef, welcome to The Perfect Pantry. I feel completely liberated in the wonton arena now -- I'm ready to stuff, roll, and stack them with anything.

Wonton lust-HA! I've got some great new ideas from this post-I've tried ravioli and samosas, but banana and chocolate-oh, my!

Oh, I lust for the wonton lust! I miss wrapping my wontons! In California, we usually get the New Hong Kong brand wrappers!

Hi, and I love this site. I just posted some of my Country Cajun Recipes on my blog and wanted to let you know. I'm doing this in conjunction with my project, The Beatitudes Network-Rebuilding the Public Libraries of New Orleans. I am donating all of the royalties from the sale of my book, The Beatitudes, directly to the New Orleans Public Library Foundation. I'm 100% Cajun and food brings people to the table to eat and talk about books! Enjoy the recipes, like Pain Perdu (Lost Bread) that kept the Acadians alive during their trek from Canada to Louisiana. Merci mille fois- thanks a million. Lyn LeJeune

www.beatitudesinneworleans.blogspot.com

i just discovered the joy of wonton wrappers. i used them to make pork dumplings (yum) but have firm plans to fill them with honey-sweetened mascarpone and jam, deep fry them, and then serve them with melted dark chocolate for dipping.

Rebecca, if you have any ideas for Argentinian-inspired things to do with wontons, let me know -- I might be serious about the "101 Things" class!

Tigerfish, I wish you'd been in my class -- I would have learned so much about wontons from you.

Lyn, welcome to The Perfect Pantry. Thanks for letting us know about your project.

Us vs. Food, thank you for stopping by, and for sharing your idea about mascarpone filling. That sounds delicious! I'm adding it to my "101 Things" list.

Are you sure you haven't been keeping an eye on my grocery cart? Cause I swear, I bring one thing into the home and BAM! There is a list of drool-worthy recipes covering the item here.

I've not tried the dessert idea yet (instead just worked my way thru 4 packages of wonton skins for homemade takeout night - filled wontons with roast pork, rice, a few veggies all held together with my husbands pomagranate sauce, then flash frozen. Next time the urge to go for fast food hits, I can have potstickers in 10 minutes. It takes 30 to get to the resturaunt.) but I do believe I have one last package in the fridge. I think I have dessert covered tonight now.

Except... any idea what I should sub for the banana? I'm allergic. (Can't even handle the dratted things.)

Jenna, how about a piece of pear or apple? Or peanut butter? or a frozen marshmallow? I'll swap some of my dessert wontons for some of yours!

Oh, Lydia!! Sweet ravioli?? With chocolate and banana? Where do I sign? ;)

Patricia, this is just the kind of thing you and Joao will love! Please try it.

I love playing with wonton wrappers and trying new things. I haven't done so in a while, so I think its time to bust them out again!

Riz-dee! I wanted to apply there for college but dad said no. :( Wonder where I'd be now?

Chris, let me know if you come up with new ideas for wonton wrappers. I'm keeping a list now. RISD -- your dad probably thought there would be lots of strange people at an art school. There are -- but oh, it's a wonderful and creative place.

I always keep wontons on hand for quick Sunday night desserts: dab of butter and honey in a pan and some cinnamon, fry the wontons and serve over vanilla bean ice cream. Yum!

Tartelette, that sounds delicious. You know I will try it!

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About The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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