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Wontons in Chili Oil (Hongyou Chaoshou)

Throw these wontons in a soup or eat them fresh out of the pot with a drizzle of chili oil.

Carolyn Phillips

Makes: about 80
Prep: 25 minutes
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

for the filling:
1 (2-inch piece) fresh ginger
1 ½ cups unsalted chicken stock divided into ½ cup and 1 cup
1 ½ pounds boneless pork shoulder or any other 30% fat cut of pork, chilled
sea salt to taste
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 tablespoons mild rice wine
2 teaspoons sugar
3 green onions, white parts only, trimmed and finely minced
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

for the wonton wrappers:
1 (16-ounce) package thin wonton wrappers
Flour, for dusting

for the sauce (may be doubled):
3 tablespoons red chilli oil with toasty bits
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 garlic cloves finely minced, optional
sugar, to taste

for the garnish:
3 green onions, green parts only, trimmed and cut into thin rounds
ground toasted sichuan peppercorns

Directions

1. Cut the ginger into roughly ½ inch pieces, then whirl it in a blender or food processor with ½ cup of the stock. Strain the liquid, squeezing out every last drip of ginger-flavored stock into a bowl before discarding the fibrous mass left behind.

2. Chop the pork finely by hand. If you wish to use a food processor, cut the meat into 1 inch cubes and pulse.

3. Place the minced pork in a large work bowl and use your hand as a paddle to beat in the ginger-flavored stock, salt, eggs, soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, the whites of the green onions, sesame oil, and the black pepper. Slowly add the remaining 1 cup stock in small increments so that the pork absorbs all of the liquid. It will be light and fluffy at this point. Chill the filling for an hour or longer, if you have the time as this will firm it up and make it easier to wrap.

4. Before you start wrapping the wontons, place a baking sheets next to your work area, cover them with clean tea towels and dust these with some flour; have a couple of extra towels on the side to cover the filled wontons. Place a couple of tablespoons of cool water in a small bowl next to the filling bowl, as well as a flat piece of wood or small blunt knife. (You'll use both to wrap the wontons.) If you are going to cook these right away, pour water (at least 8 cups) into a large pot and bring to a boil just before you are ready to cook.

5. Wrap the wontons: you will end up with 80 or 90. You can prepare uncooked wontons ahead of time: place them in a single layer on the towel-covered pans and place in the freezer for a couple of hours until frozen solid. Transfer to freezer bags. They do not need to be defrosted before cooking.

6. Curl the fingers of your non-dominate hand into a loose flat fist and place a wrapper on top of the circle formed by your forefinger and thumb. Wet a finger on your other hand and draw a circle on the wrapper. Scoop up about a tablespoon of the filling and place in the center.

7. Fold one corner over the filling to form a triangle and seal the edges. Lightly wet one of the bottom angles of the wonton wrapper and then bring both bottom angles together. Seal these two ends by pressing them together. Now your wonton is complete. Place the filled wonton on a flour dusted towel and cover it with another towel.

8. Mix together the sauce ingredients; taste and adjust the seasoning as desired, and divide the sauce among as many bowls you wish; double the amount of sauce if you really enjoy spicy flavors.

9. To cook the wontons, drop them in small handfuls into the boiling water while stirring with a wooden spoon. As soon as the water returns to a boil, pour in about 1 cup of cold water. Bring the pot to a boil again and pour in another cup of cold water. When the pot boils a third time the wontons should be floating gracefully.

10. Use a spider or slotted spoon to gently remove the wontons into prepared bowls, draining off as much of the water as you can. Toss them lightly in the sauce and sprinkle with the chopped green onions and the ground toasted Sichuan peppercorns to taste. Serve immediately.

Reprinted from All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China. Copyright © 2016 by Carolyn Phillips. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.