Vegetarian Plant Based Wontons 植物肉餛飩

Wontons are Chinese boiled dumplings, slippery chewy meat and veggie filled dumplings that are just the perfect combo bite of yummilicious food.  When I was a little girl I could eat two whole large plates of my Grandma's homemade wontons!  It's one of those 'you just can't eat one' kind of foods.  Recently, inspired by all the plant based meat products coming out in the market, we decided to try to make plant based vegetarian wontons!  Our Vegetarian Plant Based Wontons 植物肉餛飩 are simple to make, stuffed with plant based mince and an assortment of veggies that add flavor and texture.  It's a yummilicious and satisfying alternative to the traditional meat filled wontons. We decided to use these plant based hamburger patties, as the texture is like minced meat plus they are seasoned already.   The veggies that we chose to add to our plant based wontons were napa cabbage, spring onions (the white part) and cilantro.  Napa cabbage for its mellow sweet yumminess that absorbs flavors so well.  Spring onion whites and cilantro to provide aromatics.Beside veggies we added dried shitake mushroom for its chewy texture and deliciously fragrant and intense mushroomy flavor.  The water chestnuts (middle bottom) are added for their crunchy texture and their clear sweet taste.The fabulous thing about wonton is that you don't have to use these fillings, you can be creative and toss in whatever you think will taste good and go together.  The plant based minced 'meat' will bind all your veggies together. Once you decide what you want in your filling the next step is to mince everything.  If you have a food processor this part will be much quicker.  The one thing to note is if you have any vegetables that lose a lot of water when cooking you will need to salt them lightly after mincing, leave for 10 mins and then squeeze out as much water as possible.  If you don't do this the filling will be quite watery and loose after cooking the wonton. Final step for the filling, the plant based veggie mince is mixed in.  In the food processor this probably takes just a few pulses.  If you do it by hand like I did just keep stirring in one direction until it comes together.  Ummm...it looks yummy already! These are wonton wrappers that we used, made from flour and water.  Sometimes you might see yellow tinted wonton wrappers.  These are the Cantonese style wonton wrappers, made with egg (thus the yellow) and much more thin and delicate.  The square white wonton wrappers are the ones we want to use; they are thicker and sturdier.  There are also circular white wrappers that are even thicker and used for Potsticker Jiaozi Dumplings 鍋貼 in which the dumplings are pan fried/steamed until cooked and their bottom skins are a beautiful golden brown.  These are folded differently, see our How to Fold a Chinese Dumpling post. Now is the time to wrap!  A scoop of filling on to a square of wonton wrapper.  There are different styles of wrapping wontons.  All the styles are all fine as long as the filling is tucked securely inside the wonton so that it won't fall apart when being boiled.  But I only ever use this one style cuz this is the one that my dearest 奶奶 Grandma taught me.  See our next post on How to Wrap a Wonton to find out how Grandma did it! Look at our wontons, all in a row!  It's always so satisfying when you've wrapped everything be it dumplings or mooncakes or whatnot and the next step is the cooking where they undergo a transformation thru heat into the final deliciously edible state.  At this point, if you do not want to eat it all at once, you can freeze the wonton for later consumption.  In order to preserve the shape don't just dump into a bag and stick it in the icebox.  Rather stick the tray into freezer for an hour or until the wonton's skin flaps are stiff.  At this point you can bag 'em and freeze 'em and they will keep their pretty shapes. The wrapped wontons are dropped into a big pot of boiling water.  When the wontons float and the filling shows clearly through the wrapper you can scoop them out.  Above is our small mountain of cooked wonton.  Do note that my hubby forgot that you're not suppose to stack them, rather should place side by side as they stick together a bit.      Your delicious plant based vegetarian wontons are ready to eat!  Here are a few ways that wontons are eaten: 1) Nestled inside a simple stock soup.  Heat up Chinese stock, throw in some spring onion rounds, slip in the wontons and you're ready to eat.  2) Dipped in a premium soy sauce/Chinese Chinkiang vinegar sauce.  That's how we're having ours in this post.  Let everyone have a small plate and set out dipping saucers.  Everyone helps themselves.  If we eat wonton like this we always have a soup as well.  My favorite wonton accompanying soup is Chinese Tomato Egg Drop Soup 番茄蛋花湯.3) With a serious helping of Chinese chili oil like this one.  For those of you who like to live the spicier side of life!Hope you enjo

Vegetarian Plant Based Wontons  植物肉餛飩
Wontons are Chinese boiled dumplings, slippery chewy meat and veggie filled dumplings that are just the perfect combo bite of yummilicious food.  When I was a little girl I could eat two whole large plates of my Grandma's homemade wontons!  It's one of those 'you just can't eat one' kind of foods.  Recently, inspired by all the plant based meat products coming out in the market, we decided to try to make plant based vegetarian wontons!  Our Vegetarian Plant Based Wontons 植物肉餛飩 are simple to make, stuffed with plant based mince and an assortment of veggies that add flavor and texture.  It's a yummilicious and satisfying alternative to the traditional meat filled wontons.
素,植物肉,餛飩, Vegetarian, Plant Based, Wontons,  chinese, recipe, how to wrap

We decided to use these plant based hamburger patties, as the texture is like minced meat plus they are seasoned already.  


素,植物肉,餛飩, Vegetarian, Plant Based, Wontons,  chinese, recipe, how to wrap
The veggies that we chose to add to our plant based wontons were napa cabbage, spring onions (the white part) and cilantro.  Napa cabbage for its mellow sweet yumminess that absorbs flavors so well.  Spring onion whites and cilantro to provide aromatics.
Beside veggies we added dried shitake mushroom for its chewy texture and deliciously fragrant and intense mushroomy flavor.  The water chestnuts (middle bottom) are added for their crunchy texture and their clear sweet taste.
The fabulous thing about wonton is that you don't have to use these fillings, you can be creative and toss in whatever you think will taste good and go together.  The plant based minced 'meat' will bind all your veggies together.
素,植物肉,餛飩, Vegetarian, Plant Based, Wontons,  chinese, recipe, how to wrap
Once you decide what you want in your filling the next step is to mince everything.  If you have a food processor this part will be much quicker.  The one thing to note is if you have any vegetables that lose a lot of water when cooking you will need to salt them lightly after mincing, leave for 10 mins and then squeeze out as much water as possible.  If you don't do this the filling will be quite watery and loose after cooking the wonton.

素,植物肉,餛飩, Vegetarian, Plant Based, Wontons,  chinese, recipe, how to wrap
Final step for the filling, the plant based veggie mince is mixed in.  In the food processor this probably takes just a few pulses.  If you do it by hand like I did just keep stirring in one direction until it comes together.  Ummm...it looks yummy already!
素,植物肉,餛飩, Vegetarian, Plant Based, Wontons,  chinese, recipe, how to wrap
These are wonton wrappers that we used, made from flour and water.  Sometimes you might see yellow tinted wonton wrappers.  These are the Cantonese style wonton wrappers, made with egg (thus the yellow) and much more thin and delicate.  The square white wonton wrappers are the ones we want to use; they are thicker and sturdier.  
There are also circular white wrappers that are even thicker and used for Potsticker Jiaozi Dumplings 鍋貼 in which the dumplings are pan fried/steamed until cooked and their bottom skins are a beautiful golden brown.  These are folded differently, see our How to Fold a Chinese Dumpling post.
素,植物肉,餛飩, Vegetarian, Plant Based, Wontons,  chinese, recipe, how to wrap
Now is the time to wrap!  A scoop of filling on to a square of wonton wrapper.  There are different styles of wrapping wontons.  All the styles are all fine as long as the filling is tucked securely inside the wonton so that it won't fall apart when being boiled.  But I only ever use this one style cuz this is the one that my dearest 奶奶 Grandma taught me.  See our next post on How to Wrap a Wonton to find out how Grandma did it!

素,植物肉,餛飩, Vegetarian, Plant Based, Wontons,  chinese, recipe, how to wrap
Look at our wontons, all in a row!  It's always so satisfying when you've wrapped everything be it dumplings or mooncakes or whatnot and the next step is the cooking where they undergo a transformation thru heat into the final deliciously edible state.  
At this point, if you do not want to eat it all at once, you can freeze the wonton for later consumption.  In order to preserve the shape don't just dump into a bag and stick it in the icebox.  Rather stick the tray into freezer for an hour or until the wonton's skin flaps are stiff.  At this point you can bag 'em and freeze 'em and they will keep their pretty shapes.

素,植物肉,餛飩, Vegetarian, Plant Based, Wontons,  chinese, recipe, how to wrap
The wrapped wontons are dropped into a big pot of boiling water.  When the wontons float and the filling shows clearly through the wrapper you can scoop them out.  Above is our small mountain of cooked wonton.  Do note that my hubby forgot that you're not suppose to stack them, rather should place side by side as they stick together a bit.     
Your delicious plant based vegetarian wontons are ready to eat!  Here are a few ways that wontons are eaten: 
1) Nestled inside a simple stock soup.  Heat up Chinese stock, throw in some spring onion rounds, slip in the wontons and you're ready to eat.  
2) Dipped in a premium soy sauce/Chinese Chinkiang vinegar sauce.  That's how we're having ours in this post.  Let everyone have a small plate and set out dipping saucers.  Everyone helps themselves.  If we eat wonton like this we always have a soup as well.  My favorite wonton accompanying soup is Chinese Tomato Egg Drop Soup 番茄蛋花湯.
3) With a serious helping of Chinese chili oil like this one.  For those of you who like to live the spicier side of life!
Hope you enjoy these homemade vegetarian plant based wontons as much as we did!
素,植物肉,餛飩, Vegetarian, Plant Based, Wontons,  chinese, recipe, how to wrap
Vegetarian Plant Based Wontons
(makes around 30 wontons)   Prep time: 20 mins  Cook time: 4 mins
30 square wonton wrappers
8 oz plant based protein, 227g
5 dried shitake mushrooms
1/2 small napa cabbage, 350g
6 water chestnuts
3 sprigs spring onion, white part only
1 bunch cilantro
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp cornstarch
salt to taste
Dipping sauce
1 1/2 tsp premium soy sauce
3 tsp chinkiang vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp spring onion rounds
1 tbsp chopped chili rounds (optional)
Soak dried shitake in hot water to cover until softened and rehydrated.  A tip to hasten this process is to soak for a while and then, as soon as soft enough, use scissors to snip off the mushroom stem and discard.  This lets the water soak into the middle of the mushroom as well.  Let caps continue soaking until the cap is soft enough to slice and mince.
Wash and then mince the napa cabbage.  Sprinkle 1/4 tsp salt over and stir.  Let sit for 10 mins to exude water.  Use hands to squeeze as much water out as you can.  Wash and slice skin off water chestnuts.  Mince.  Wash spring onions, cut off roots and cut to rounds.  Wash cilantro, cut off roots, chop the leaves roughly, the stems finely.
Add plant protein to a large mixing bowl.  Add in soy sauce, sugar, white pepper, sesame oil and mix together, stirring with chopsticks or a wooden spoon in one direction only.  Add in mushrooms, napa cabbage, water chestnuts, spring onions and cilantro.  Mix, stirring in one direction only, until the plant protein is evenly distributed and a paste like filling is formed.  Add salt to taste and adjust other seasonings to your preference.  
Prepare a small saucer of water.  This water is to help seal the wrapper together.  Lay one wonton wrapper on dry surface, add 1 heaping tbsp of filling ( this should be adjusted to your wonton wrapper as they are sold in differing sizes.  Ours was on the large side.)  Dip finger in water and run wet finger along three side edges of the wonton wrapper.  Fold wonton wrapper in half and press down on the top center to seal and then from there seal the top edges and then the side edges.  Make sure that before you seal the side edges of the wrapper that you push out any air pockets before sealing.  Fold lengthwise along the top most point of the filling bump and then fold the two sides together, overlapping the two wrapper flaps in the middle.  Dab finger in water again and wet one flap.  Press the other wonton flap firmly onto the wet flap.  Put on tray and repeat until all wontons are wrapped.  
For a more concise demonstration of wonton folding please check out our next upcoming post on How to Fold a Wonton.
Heat up a pot with 3 inches of water until boiling.  Add in wonton, being careful not to overcrowd the pot.  When the wonton floats and is translucent enough to show the filling clearly it is done.  Scoop out and place onto plates side by side but not touching.  
Serve family style with a big plate or two of wontons in the middle of the table for everyone to choose their wontons to bring back to their own plates.  Set out three small saucers.  In each pour in 1/2 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp vinegar and 1/3 tsp sesame oil for a dipping sauce.  Sprinkle a bit of spring onions rounds in each saucer.  Add chili rounds if you want spicy.  Each diner can dip their wonton in their own sauce before slurping it down.  YUMMsy!