“Where are the hornless dragons which carry bears on their backs for sport? Where is the great serpent with nine heads and where is the Shu-Hu?” (Zhuangzi ca. 3rd-2nd centuries BCE).
The dragon, it seems, is right here, but both Shu and Hu have gone visiting. Their host is none other than Mr Chaos, as Confucius scathingly calls him, otherwise known as Hundun, Hun-Tun, Wantan, or – you got it! – Wonton. It all depends on your Chinese pronunciation, Beautiful People.
“The emperor of the South Sea was called Shu [Brief], the emperor of the North Sea was called Hu [Sudden], and the emperor of the central region was called Hun-tun [Chaos]. Shu and Hu from time to time came together for a meeting in the territory of Hun-tun, and Hun-tun treated them very generously. Shu and Hu discussed how they could repay his kindness. “All men,” they said, “have seven openings so they can see, hear, eat, and breathe. But Hun-tun alone doesn’t have any. Let’s trying boring him some!” Every day they bored another hole, and on the seventh day Hun-tun died.” (ibid.)
Poor Mr Chaos! We’ll try to be much more gentle with him by instilling some order. First, we need all our veggies lined up: shredded cabbage, grated carrots, diced bell pepper, a few scallions, a nice piece of ginger, and a whole lot of garlic. Most importantly, instead of classic Chinese pork filling, we’ll use these beautiful protein-filled mushrooms.
You need to mince those mushrooms, garlic, and ginger, or, alternatively, save your time and use your trusty food processor. I chose the latter option. Saute this mess for a few minutes and make it feel better by adding chopped scallions.
Add the rest of your veggies, raise heat to medium, and toss this chaos together really well. Let it engage in some undercover activities for a few more minutes. You never know what Mr Chaos could be up to, so don’t keep it under cover for long, just until your veggies soften a little. Splash it with soy sauce and rice vinegar, stir, and remove from heat. Let it cool off while you preheat your oven and oil your baking sheet.
I am using gluten free 3 x 3 inches (7.5 x 7.5 cm) ready made wonton sheets. I am sure similar products are widely available almost everywhere. Put a teaspoon of filling in the center, dip your finger into warm water, and slightly wet the edges. Make triangles. Press firmly to seal them and remember, if you leave any holes, there could ensue lethal consequences for Mr Chaos!
Traditionally, wontons are either boiled and served with a soup or fried (steamed wontons are an option in some places). I have tried to keep Mr Chaos healthy, so we are baking them. To make them look golden and pretty, mist them with oil before baking. All it takes is about fifteen minutes at 400 F. Meanwhile, enjoy this astounding Echo Dance from House of Flying Daggers (yes, I am a sucker for Martial Arts movies!).
In American Chinese restaurants, wontons are usually accompanied by sweet and sour sauce or hot mustard, but my husband requested my signature Ginger Carrot sauce. All you need is some grated carrots, lots of grated ginger (I take equal amounts), and soy sauce, agave, sesame oil, and hot mustard to taste. Mix it all up, and you are ready to serve.
As you see, it doesn’t take much time or effort to make order out of chaos and grace your table with a plate of flavorful, delicious, and healthy treats. This post is in response to the Daily Prompt FLAVORFUL.
- 2 cups minced mushrooms (approximately 1 pint)
- 5 – 6 minced garlic cloves
- 1 inch (2.5 cm) minced ginger
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
- 3 scallions, chopped
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
Ginger Carrot Sauce:
- 1/4 cup grated ginger
- 1/4 cup grated carrots
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon agave or honey
- Hot mustard to taste
- Sauté mushrooms, ginger, garlic, and oil on low heat for about 8 – 10 minutes.
- Add the rest of vegetables, raise heat to medium, sauté about 5 minutes.
- Add rice vinegar and soy sauce, stir, remove to cool.
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Mist baking sheet with oil. Place 1 teaspoon of filling in the center of wonton sheet, wet edges, fold into triangle, press firmly to seal. Place wontons on baking sheet, mist with oil.
- Bake for 7 minutes, flip them over, bake for 7 – 8 minutes until edges are crisp.
- For Ginger Carrot sauce, mix all ingredients together.
- Serve hot, with sauce on the side.