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Chicken Wontons with Crunchy Chile Oil

Author: Tasting Table (Wontons) & Alison Roman (Chile Oil)

Ingredients

CRUNCHY CHILE OIL:

  • ¾ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup black or white sesame seeds, or 2 tbs each (which is what I did)
  • 2 to 3 tbs Sichuan peppercorns, crushed (I used 3 tbs, duh)
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt, to taste

CHICKEN WONTONS:

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • A few grinds of black pepper
  • 1 package wonton wrappers

Instructions

CHILE OIL Directions:

  • Heat the oil, red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, Sichuan peppercorns, and garlic in a small pot over the lowest heat possible. Let it come to a simmer (it’ll sizzle a little) and cook until the red pepper flakes are brick red and the white sesame seeds are golden in color. This will take around 15 minutes, possibly less time. You’ll smell things toasting too. Remove from the heat and add salt to taste. Let it come to room temperature while you form the wontons, then when you drizzle room temperature chile oil over piping hot wontons, it works together perfectly and no one burns their tongue on too-hot oil.

WONTONS Directions:

  • In a medium bowl, put the chicken, onions, soy sauce, oil, and pepper, and mix well.
  • Put roughly ¼ cup lukewarm water in a small bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Place just under 1 teaspoon of the filling at the center of a wonton square. You will have to adjust the amount of filling as needed. Wonton skins can vary in dimension, so use your best judgment.
  • Dip your finger in the water and moisten all four edges as if you are sealing an envelope flap. Fold the wrapper in half over the filling, line up the edges, and press down to flatten and seal. You will now have a rectangle packet. This part is kind of a pain but worth it to get right. What’s worse than wontons that split open during cooking? Okay fine, many things, but we can all agree that isn’t great, so make sure they are sealed properly.
  • Pick up the filled rectangle and hold it so that the edge that contains the filling is at the bottom. Moisten the lower left corner of the rectangle. Using both hands, wrap the lower edges of the wonton into a small circle until they meet, and adhere the bottom right corner of the rectangle to the moistened left corner. Don’t worry about imperfections, once you place them in bowls with copious amounts of chile oil, people will only be looking at the bright colors and impending heat anyway. Place the wontons on the prepared baking sheet as you make them. Repeat with the remaining filling and wonton skins.
  • To cook the wontons, in a large soup pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add 8 wontons per person and boil for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the wontons become opaque and the filling is cooked through. Drain the wontons and transfer them to bowls to serve. Drown them unmercifully in the Crunchy Chile Oil and serve immediately.

Notes

Recipe is sourced from Tasting Table (the wontons) and Dining In by Alison Roman (the Crunchy Chile Oil). These are pretty traditional wontons, just subbing chicken for the usual pork. I loved such a lower-cholesterol idea, but you could certainly use pork if you’d prefer. The twist here is the chile oil. Instead of the usual sauce (a recipe for which is offered by Tasting Table, click on the link above) I was intrigued by my possibly insane idea to drown these in Alison Roman’s Crunchy Chile Oil, a recipe I’d been wanting to try on something since Day 1 of buying her book. It was still probably an insane idea - hoo boy was it spicy - but we loved it. Then again, I have no kids, I’m from Texas, and Mr. Wallace has learned to keep up. We have spicy food luxuries that we indulge regularly that others may not. My Thai friend smartly pointed out (to my white ass) that you could cool this a bit with some cucumber slices or chopped cilantro, so by all means, feel free.