|Sugar 'n' spice||
Sunday, June 20, 1999
By Harkiran Sodhi
The long summer vacations mean going out a lot as well as having lots of parties, which run on late into the night. The constant dilemma of what to cook can be a real one as you run out of ideas for new and interesting dishes to serve time and again. Snacks or appetisers that form an integral part of any evening can be the trickiest ones to come up with often. Food that is good to look at, great to eat and different is what everyone is on the lookout for. Interesting Chinese starters or appetisers are what we have for you today to try out and enjoy when you have company over.
Possibly one of the most popular dishes out of the varied Chinese cuisine are spring rolls. These can be found in a variety of shapes and sizes in different parts of the world. These can be stuffed with vegetables, chicken or meat or a combination of both. Spring rolls can be eaten as a snack or even as a part of the main meal itself, though the most characteristic feature of these is the crisp, wafer thin wrapper that covers the hot and often spicy filling inside. These are usually served with some sort of a sauce to dip them into.
Wonton or Spring Roll Wrappers
2 cups flour
¼ tsp salt
½ cup water
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl, beat the egg separately and then add it to the sifted flour and salt. Add in water till the mixture becomes dough of slightly stiff consistency. (In case the dough becomes too sticky or runny then you can add in more flour to it to get the correct consistency). Knead the dough well till it is soft and pliable. Form the dough into small balls and roll them till they are wafer thin. Place these wrappers on a thin baking tray or plate and cover with a slightly moist cloth till you are ready to fill them up.
Wonton or Spring Roll Wrapper (eggless)
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
Sift the flour and salt together. Slowly add warm water to it mixing it all the while till it forms a soft dough. Knead it well and set it aside for 15-20 minutes. Put half a teaspoon of oil on the dough and knead it again and then form into small balls and roll each one out into thin circles (or any shape desired). Cover with a damp cloth till you are ready to fill in and cook.
Wonton or Spring Roll Filling (Non-Vegetarian).
250 gms boiled and shredded chicken
½ cup finely chopped onions (spring onions taste the best, if available)
30 gms mushrooms chopped fine
1 tablespoon oil
A dash of soy sauce
Salt to taste
1 well-beaten egg
Oil for frying
Heat the oil in a pan and add the onions to it and lightly sauté them till they are papery to look at. Add the shredded chicken and chopped mushrooms and cook for a minute. Season with the soy sauce and salt and take it off the flame. Let the mixture cool a little and then place a little of the filling onto the wrappers prepared earlier. Take care to place the filling towards the lower half of the wrapper. Brush the edges of the wrapper with the beaten egg and first fold the bottom edge up, then the sides over and roll it up. If needed brush the upper edge with the beaten egg mixture and seal it well. Fill all the wrappers and heat some oil in a large wok or deep frying pan. Deep fry the spring rolls till they are crisp and golden, drain well on paper towels and then serve hot with the spicy garlic sauce.
For a vegetarian filling omit the chicken and add in 1 cup of finely chopped cabbage and ½ cup of boiled noodles. Cook these the same way as mentioned in the non-vegetarian recipe.
To stuff wontons place half a tablespoon of the filling mixture on to the centre of the wrapper. Then lift up all the sides and bunch them together sealing the edges. If needed a little water can be brushed on the edges to help them moisten and seal better. Deep fry wontons the same way as spring rolls. To steam the wontons place them in a steamer and cook them for 8-10 minutes.
Spicy Garlic Sauce
1 cup tomatoes chopped very fine ½ tablespoon crushed ginger
½ teaspoon finely chopped green chilies 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon chilli sauce
salt to taste
Mix all the ingredients well put in a blender and whisk till it is a smooth sauce. Serve with either spring rolls or crispy wontons.
Wontons are similar to
spring rolls in the sense that they too have a filling
wrapped up in thin wrappers and either steamed or deep
fried. These are served as appetisers and, can also form
a part of the main meal in a sauce or gravy or can be put
into a clear soup and served. The wrapper used for the
wonton is the same as the spring roll and the same recipe
and method given above is to be used. The filling again
can be the same as what was used for the spring roll. The
wontons are folded differently from the spring rolls.
Spring rolls are folded and rolled into a long envelope
styled packet, wontons on the other hand simply have the
edges gathered around the filing and dampened till they
join together. This gives it a more informal look.
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