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March 1, 2006
Totoro bowl bento strikes again!

[Totoro bowl bento with wontons, noodles, BBQ pork, soup base and condiments]

Left: Chinese egg noodles, blanched baby bok choy
Right: homemade wontons stuffed with pork and shrimp filling, slices of Chinese BBQ pork
Front: packet of instant wonton soup broth, 'wonton' of scallions for garnish, chile sauce

The 'wonton' of scallions made me laugh this morning. I made it using Glad Press 'n Seal -- that is some wacky stuff.

Anyway, we are having this soup for dinner either tonight or tomorrow night, but I thought I would dig into my supplies and give myself a little preview for lunch. I love all kinds of noodle soups! I need to find more bento-friendly recipes.

The wonton recipe below is very freezer friendly. You can make a bunch of wontons in advance, freeze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet, and then bag them for later. You can also just freeze batches of the filling and fill the wontons when you need to later. I must admit that I am a bit of a freezer nut, although I have gotten a bit lazy as of late. I even have a FoodSaver. Anyway, for today's meal, I pulled out of my freezer sealed packages of wonton wrappers, wonton filling, and BBQ pork that I bought at a local Asian market. I let them defrost in the fridge overnight, and they were ready to go this morning. I only filled 5 wontons for my bento, so it didn't take long at all.

1 lb. coarsely chopped boneless pork loin, or ground pork
1/2 lb. peeled shrimp, finely chopped
2 tsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. Chinese rice wine (you can substitute pale, dry sherry)
2 tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp. finely chopped green onion
2 tbsp. wood ear mushrooms, rehydrated in hot water, then finely chopped
1 oz. bean thread noodles ("glass noodles"), soaked in hot water for 15 minutes, drained, then finely chopped
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 package square wonton wrappers
1 beaten egg
  1. In a large bowl, combine pork, shrimp, sugar, wine, soy sauce, green onion, mushrooms, noodles, and ginger. Knead with hands until mixed well. Let stand for about half an hour.
  2. Place about one teaspoon of the filling at the center of each wonton skin. Moisten two adjacent sides of the wonton skin with the egg, then fold the skin over and seal into a triangle. Press the edges firmly to seal. You can then crimp the edges, gather the skin and crimp towards the center to form a little 'purse', bring the opposite corners together an seal a la Chinese restaurant style, or leave it fairly flat.
  3. Continue until you run out of wrappers or filling. Either can be frozen for use later.
  4. Soup -- Before adding to soup, add to boiling water and cook for 5 minutes, or until fully cooked. Otherwise, your broth will become cloudy. A quick broth can be made by combining 3 cups chicken broth, 1 tbsp. soy sauce, 1/2 tsp. sesame oil, and 1/2 tsp. grated ginger (change proportions as needed). Garnish with fresh scallions. You can also add Chinese egg noodles (cooked and drained), blanched baby bok choy or Chinese broccoli, or fresh spinach, as well as slices of pork or cooked shrimp to round out your bowl of soup.
  5. Frying -- These little guys are terrific fried as well. Just heat enough oil to deep fry over medium heat until a piece of wonton skin sizzles when added. Deep fry the wontons in batches until golden, about 2-3 minutes per side, making sure they don't stick together, and making sure the oil doesn't get too hot (or the wontons will brown too fast). Drain in a paper towel-lined colander. Serve with duck sauce or plum sauce.

© Cooking Cute