spicy wontons

Spicy Sichuan Wontons with Chili Sauce

Don’t be intimidated by these wontons - they may look like they have been tediously hand crafted but it just takes a few folds to make the final product. Wonton wrappers are available at most grocery stores, so half the process is already done for you. It still doesn’t hurt to have additional people helping you fold – it makes the process go more quickly. These pork and shrimp filled wontons are tossed in a spicy chili oil sauce and served topped with cilantro, green onions and crispy shallots.

This dish is inspired by one of my favorite restaurants in Santa Monica, Cassia. Their version is quite a bit spicier – my boyfriend and I had to start asking that the wontons be served last because otherwise we found that we were not be able to taste any of the other food we ordered. They are so good you can't stop eating them, even when your eyes are watering and you start sweating at the table! I toned my version down so it is "medium spice" level but feel free to add more red pepper flakes to the sauce if you’re feeling bold.



For the wontons:

½ pound peeled, deveined shrimp

½ pound ground pork

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine*

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons fish sauce

¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

½ teaspoon kosher salt

36 (3 ½") wonton wrappers

1 egg, beaten


For the chili sauce:

¼ cup toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon chili oil

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes


For the crispy shallots:

Vegetable oil, as needed, for frying

2 large shallots, thinly sliced


Sambal oelek**, for serving 

¼ cup thinly sliced green onions, for garnish



For the wontons:

Add the shrimp to the body of a food processor fitted with the blade. Pulse until the shrimp is pureed.

In a large mixing bowl add the pork, shrimp, soy sauce, rice wine, granulated sugar, ginger, garlic, cilantro, cornstarch, fish sauce, pepper and salt. Gently mix with your hands until just combined.

Working one wrapper at a time, place 2 teaspoons of filling in the center, brush the edges with the egg, and fold the wrapper in half, forming a triangle. Next, overlap the opposite corners, brushing with egg to seal together. Repeat with the remaining wrappers until all of the pork mixture has been used.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium heat. Working in batches, add the wontons and cook, until firm and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Continue until all of the wontons have been cooked.


For the chili sauce:

In a small bowl whisk together the sesame oil, chili oil and red pepper flakes. Set aside until ready to serve.


For the crispy shallots:

Fill a large pot with enough oil to reach 2-inches up the side of the pan. Add the sliced shallots to the cold oil and heat the pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are golden brown and crispy, about 15 minutes. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain. The shallots can be made up to a day ahead of time.


To serve:

Spoon chili sauce in the bottom of a serving bowl. Add the wontons on top and top with sambal oelek, green onions and crispy shallots. Serve immediately.


Makes about 36 to 40 wontons (enough for 4 as an entrée; 8 as an appetizer).


*Note: Shaoxing rice wine is a sweet wine that can be found at most liquor stores. If it is not available then substitute the rice wine with sherry.

**Note: Sambal oelek can be found in the international sections of most grocery stores. It is a spicy Southeast Asian chili sauce that adds a sweet and spicy kick to any foods. But keep in mind that a little goes a long way!



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