Adventures in Eating: The Best Wontons in the World

Every cook has a specialty; something they can make better than anyone else. My best friend is famous for her scones, my mother for her Caesar Salad dress­ing (which is currently being pack­aged to sell in markets under the name “Louise’s Garden”). Even my husband, who still doesn’t know where the potholders are in the kitchen, makes an outrageous grilled cheese sandwich (which was a frequent request of mine when I was pregnant)!

Often, the cook’s specialty (like an Armenian’s “rice pilaf” or an Irishman’s “corned beef and cab­bage”) has something to do with his or her nationality. My special culinary dish baffles many of my friends. They often say, “How did you learn to make these?” My cu­linary specialty, you see, is Chi­nese! And I am Armenian, so I’m also living proof that you don’t have to be from Canton to make:

“The Best Wontons in the World”

(100 appetizers for 6-8 people)

1 lb. ground beef (approximately)
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts, chopped
1 cup bean sprouts, chopped
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons garlic chile sauce*
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
Salt to taste
2 12 oz. pkgs. wonton wrappers*
Vegetable oil
Bottled sweet and sour sauce
Bottled hot and sweet mustard

Saute ground beef with onion until brown and cooked. Add gar­lic, ginger, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic chile sauce, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco. Cook over me­dium heat for flavors to blend, about 5 minutes. Season with salt, if necessary. Fill wontons with approximately 1 teaspoon of beef mixture and fold according to package directions. Fill a medium saucepan with vegetable oil, about 2 inches deep. Heat oil to deep-fry stage (350 F. on a cooking ther­mometer). Fry 5 or 6 wontons at a time for a couple minutes, or un­til lightly brown. Serve with dip­ping sauces.

* Garlic chile sauce s in most supermar­kets in the oriental section.

* Wonton wrappers are in the refrigerated section.

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