Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Perfect Parcels

Wonton al Forno con Satoimo, Zucca, Galangal, Menta & Piselli
Baked Wontons with Satoimo, Pumpkin, Galangal, Mint & Peas

Wonton wrappers are great fun- there are so many great things you can make from them- spring rolls, dumplings, chips and of course... wontons- haha! Although it is possibly very easy to make yourself, wonton pastry, puff-pastry and filo pastry really are a bit time consuming to prepare for yourself in day-to-day like... So, yes there are SOME industrially made food products that are simply a godsend in the kitchen- and this is one of them!

I based this dish on those yummy Indian samosas and pakoras that you get with the potato and pea filling and Sicilian potato fritters with mint- and then decided to wrap them up in an Asian pastry and serve them with a sweet Thai chili sauce... that's just the kinda guy I am folks! I hope you don't have a problem with that- 'cause I don't see my self changing much in the near future!

The only thing with crispy wonton recipes, like for example spring rolls, is that they are deep-fried 99.9% of the time- which is fine if you are not watching your waistline, but being as I do like to be careful about the state of mine- I decided to try making a baked snack this evening...

I had a few of those funky satoimo roots and some pumpkin still that were begging to be combined in these little parcels- and who was I to refuse them? So into a non-stick pan they went- if you check out the picture below you will see about how much. 3 small satoimos, about 2" of galangal, about a third as much pumpkin as satoimo, all finely grated and a half of a small red onion, finely chopped.

Then came the peas- just a couple of handfuls of frozen peas added a lovely sweetness to the mix, a tablespoon of dried mint added some freshness and the seasoning was simply salt and pepper. These all went into the pan and were stirred continually for around 10 minutes. 

After just 2-3 minutes, the satoimo, which already oozes lots of starchy moisture during grating, almost disintegrated away into a soft, sticky pulp... but don't let that unsettle you! Just keep stirring and you will find, that now matter how much it sticks to the pan, as long as it is a non-stick one, it WILL come away from the surface and you can keep on stirring without any great difficulty. Well... not too much anyway!

I was tempted to add other spices, but found the aroma of the galangal so nice, that when I tasted it after about 10 minutes of cooking, I decided to leave the filling as light and delicate as it was. The flavor of the mint and peas came through wonderfully and the pumpkin gave a lovely yellow color and a hint of sweetness which complimented the bland satoimo very well. It was a mild flavor, but that was what made it rather nice!

I let the sticky mixture cool down before beginning to fill the wonton wrappers of course and the whole reason that I prepared the filling this way was to try to keep it from becoming too moist as both the satoimo and the pumpkin give off a lot of moisture when cooked.

The folding is as easy as can be- all you need to have is a little water close by so that you can seal the edges of the parcels with. Each parcel consisted of one sheet of wonton wrapper laid out diamond shaped, with one good teaspoon of the filling set out just off-center as you can see in the next photo.

Next- simply moisten the edges of the wrapper on all sides and then fold it shut in a triangle... very simple.

After that, fold the two outer edges inwards and over each other, like so.

Then moisten again and fold shut like an envelope... finished! It is a very simple affair as you can see and the added advantage of making them this way, as you have all of those folded-over layers on the one side, that will serve as a good, thick base to bake them on and ensure some added crispness once they are baked.

As you can see, the yield from this small amount of ingredients was 12 little parcels- which isn't bad going! So keep these in mind the next time you are preparing snacks for a party- it's always nice to be able to wow your friends with something a little different and new- isn't it? :-)

I gave them a very light coating of sesame oil and set them out on a silicon mat to bake for 5-10 minutes on each side under the broiler on a medium setting- this of course is going to depend upon your oven, but for me it was almost 10 minutes from each side.

Right at the end, when they were almost as golden as I wanted them, I decided to add a little decoration and extra crunch and flavor with a little honey and sesame. I simply squeeze a little honey onto a saucer and then dipped each little parcel first in the honey and then into some sesame seeds, before popping them back under the broiler for 1 last minute to give them a nice toasting... terrific!

Although I am still being cautious with a poorly tummy and didn't actually eat it myself this evening, as you can see, I recommend some of that yummy Thai sweet chili as a dipping sauce. The combination with the potato-like flavor of the satoimo along with the pumpkin, galangal, mint and peas is pretty fantastic- especially with the added honey and sesame!

And the best thing of all- no frying, no smoke, less calories and less hassle! What's not to like about that? Not much! That's why I am simply going to say... Enjoy!

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