Monday, January 27, 2014

Pan-Fried Vegetable Wontons

I may gripe occasionally about some days at work (sorry Facebook followers!) but in general, I absolutely love my co-op placement / old school.Working there has given me a lot of experience in management - even if it is managing 28 rugrats - and I think I've become more proficient in arts and crafts than I've ever been given the staggering amount of holiday "take-homes" we've done since I started there. Recently, my supervising teacher asked me to begin teaching cooking segments with our gang, and with our principal's blessing I began planning out what we could do for holidays in the coming months.

Since right now the classroom is decked out in the red and gold regalia of Chinese New Year (including some of the free decorations the Chinese takeout place gives away each year), it was only logical to kick off the new lessons with an Asian-skewed treat. The first thing that popped into my head were pan-fried dumplings - which was odd given my aversion to cooking in hot oil! Most recipes I found for the semi-potstickers called for ground meat of some kind, but I wanted to make a vegetarian version with tofu so everyone in my class could taste.

While nuts were obviously out, I was lucky enough not to have sesame allergies in my class so I was able to bring in the rich nutty aroma of toasted sesame oil, as well as ginger, garlic, scallions and the San-J tamari I was sent over the holidays. The combination of flavours in the filling, coupled with the crispness of the wrappers and the fun of mashing the tofu up with a fun tool (I used this one, but if I had it I'd totally pick this) and the fact that they actually had ownership of what they were eating meant that every child that participated had a bite, and most had two or three! Even one of our youngest (who is famously sometimes known as a troublemaker) ate about 4 of them in one sitting - without the provided plum sauce - and not to mention he was extraordinarily well behaved!

I wish I could show you all the adorable faces of the chefs, but there are rules about that... so here's a peek at their dumplings:

MLCP Cooking Class!

I know, right? They were so proud! Of course, I gave them the recipe to take home and I'm sure that even if they don't make it for years, it will be a fond memory when they come across their family recipe box later.

Pan-Fried Vegetable Wontons
Makes 48, 24 servings of 2 wontons each
8 oz firm or extra firm tofu, drained
1 tbsp tamari
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 large green onion (scallion), minced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, pressed
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp cornstarch
48 wonton wrappers
2 tbsp canola oil for cooking (only about 1 tbsp is absorbed)
Plum sauce, to serve
  1. Use a potato masher to break up the tofu into small pieces, then mash in the soy sauce, sesame oil, green onion, ginger, garlic, salt and cornstarch until well mixed.
  2. Place a wonton wrapper on a clean surface and brush the edges with water.
  3. Spoon 1 scant teaspoon of filling into the centre of the wrapper, then carefully fold the wrapper into a triangle and press the edges to seal. Place on a clean plate.
  4. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.
  5. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat and cook the wontons 2-3 minutes per side, until well browned and crisp.
  6. Place on paper towels to drain and cool for 1 minute, then enjoy with plum sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 61.5
Total Fat: 1.4 g
Cholesterol: 1.4 mg
Sodium: 134.1 mg
Total Carbs: 9.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.4 g
Protein: 2.4 g

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