Monday, October 17, 2011

Appetizer Idea: sweet potato wontons

Sean and I went down to visit my family in Cincinnati last sunday and my sister Lindsey was mixing up one of my favorite of her always original finger foods: sweet potato wontons. This is a tasty asian-inspired appetizer for the fall. It's perfect especially if you have a few extra hands hanging around to help fold up the wontons during prep time. This was perfect since my other sister and I were sitting in the kitchen with Linds as she cooked. The wontons have to be sealed up nice and tight so the insides won't get burnt when you fry them in the hot oil. Other than the folding, this dish is pretty simple and sure to impress.
Read on for a visual how-to after the jump!

The wonton filling: you can find more precise recipes online, but in short
you cook some sweet potatoes in the oven and then scrape out all the insides
into a bowl. Add some ginger, salt, and chili flakes.

Now for the slightly tricky part: how to fold the wonton. Make sure you have
a small bowl filled with water nearby to dip your fingers in. You can buy
ready-made wonton wrappers in the ethnic section of larger supermarkets
like Whole Foods or at asian grocers.

Start with a quarter-sized dollop of filling in the middle of the wonton wrapper.
Wet all four edges of the square with your finger. The entire perimeter should
be dampened before you fold.

Fold the wrapper diagonally across the filling and line up the edges. Press
to secure and wet the edges again.

Fold the sealed-together edges over and press to seal again. 

Pull the two tips of the wonton together gently. It might help to press in on the
"belly" of the wonton to make it fold. It should look a little like a fortune
cookie at this point.

Wet your fingers and twist the two ends together, pressing gently to seal the twist.

Heat Canola oil in a saucepan until a small piece of dough sizzles when you
drop it in. Fry the wontons in batches, dropping them in gently so the hot oil
won't splash or using a slotted spoon. Make sure to put them in one at a time
and stagger them. They stick to each other in the oil if they haven't had time
to brown. Be careful that they don't stick to the bottom either.

With the slotted spoon remove to a drying rack with newspaper beneath.
Elevating them as they cool helps to keep them crispy as they drain
some of the oil.

They will stay warm easily for a while. The insides really hold heat. Once
all your batches are done, serve them up on a platter with dipping sauce:
we stirred some honey and soy sauce into red chili sauce. Enjoy! -hil

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