The recipe, entitled simply “Wontons,” is handwritten and affixed to a sheet of pale pink paper. It is written in my girlish hand — fat loopy letters spread out across the page. It is stained with soy sauce and flour and oil — and who knows what else — from being used and handled so many times.
I imagine this is the recipe that will make my grandchildren wistful when I’m gone from this world.
“She made the best fried wontons,” they will say. “No one can make them quite like she did.”
Everyone needs a signature dish, and fried wontons are mine. They are my go-to potluck contribution. My favorite party appetizer to serve. The hors d’oeuvre that never lasts long enough. The nosh that always runs out, whether I make a double batch or a triple.
I have been making these since I was in middle school, the recipe copied from some long forgotten book on Chinese culture. Rather than requiring us to write a book report, our teacher assigned us to give a presentation to the class and to bring something handmade/homemade to share.
I chose wontons. And that has made all the difference.
When I walk into a party with these, I’m as popular as the guy with the keg at a frat party. Or the girl who has been doing keg stands all night at that frat party.
My world famous pork fried wontons are really quite simple to make. Just a few ingredients. They do take a little time to prepare, but they are so very worth it. If you’re hosting or attending a New Year’s Eve bash, I highly recommend these. You’re sure to get a New Year’s smooch.
World’s Best Pork Fried Wontons
Mix all ingredients, except vegetable oil and wonton skins, together in a bowl.
Put 1 teaspoon of pork mixture in the center of a wonton wrapper. Moisten edges with water, and fold to form a triangle. Seal and pinch corners together to make dumplings.
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet or cast iron pan over medium high heat. When oil is hot, almost bubbling, add wontons, being careful not to crowd the pan.
Fry in bubbling oil until golden brown and cooked through, then remove and drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
Serve with a dipping sauce made from equal parts mustard and honey, plus soy sauce to taste. These are also good with soy sauce and siriacha and hot Chinese mustard.
Please see below for notes and videos for my tips on how to make these perfect party appetizers.
After making fried wontons for more than 20 years, I’ve learned a few tricks that I’m happy to share.
I prefer using sausage to ground pork, probably because that’s what I used the first time I made these. Back in the day, I don’t think you could find something as fancy as ground pork at the Winn-Dixie in Alamance County, North Carolina!
Ditto green onions, so it’s perfectly fine to use regular onions. Just be sure to dice them finely.
If you don’t know where to look for wonton wrappers at your grocery store, check the produce section. That’s where I always find them. And be sure to inspect the package. I once bought some that had a bit of mold around the edges, so I’m always careful to check them now. (Caught that before I made the wontons, thank goodness.)
Folding wonton wrappers can be tricky, so I’ve created a little video tutorial with my two favorite methods for folding wonton skins into dumplings. The key is not to overfill the wontons.
For the full how-to on how to fold wonton wrappers so they look like fortune cookies, be sure to check out my video tutorial below.
When you buy your wonton wrappers, the package will probably have a diagram for how to fold them.
One thing I forgot to mention in the video: be sure to keep the wontons covered with a moist towel or paper towel until you’re ready to use them. That will make them much easier to work with.
Once you have all your wontons filled and folded, it’s time to fry them. I usually let my husband handle that job. Those are his hands you’ll see in the video below where we demonstrate how to make perfectly fried wontons — crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside.
You want to get your oil hot — a low bubble is good — to ensure that the wontons cook slowly and completely and fry up to a nice golden brown color.
You will have to turn the wontons to ensure that both sides are golden.
This one is absolutely perfect.
Please watch the video where my husband, Bruce, shows how he fries up a batch of wontons to perfection.
Are you hungry yet?
How about now?
Making wontons is messy work, so I wouldn’t recommend doing this on the day of your party. I usually make mine the day before, then store them in the refrigerator until I’ve ready to serve. They reheat nicely in the oven at 350 degrees on a baking sheet.
And I’m going to recommend that you make a double batch of these. A single batch is never enough, especially for a party. And before the party, stash a few of these in the back of your refrigerator. Otherwise, you won’t have any left. And you won’t get to experience the joy of reheated fried wontons for breakfast.
If you’re the type to make New Year’s resolutions, resolve to make this dish for your next party. Then, come tell me how you liked them.
I party at the following places: