You know those crispy little wonton chips you get at the Chinese restaurant? The golden brown, bumpy, delicious little chips they serve with soups? Yeah, those. I love them. I love them and I never, ever thought of making them myself for some reason. When I stopped in at a new little Chinese restaurant nearby they served some with my hot and sour soup and I got all excited about them again.
I always have wonton wrappers in the house, I find them a great tool for making quick, stuffed appetizers for company. Since I do cocktails nearly every day for my cocktail blog someone is always dropping by at happy hour unannounced. It was then I realized what a great and easy cocktail snack they would make, way easier than stuffing the wrappers! So, I turned on my deep fryer and went to work.
CRISPY FRIED WONTON STRIPS
1 Package of Wonton or Egg Roll Wrappers
Tools: Knife, Deep fryer or Dutch oven and a slotted scooping tool, paper towels.
Heat your oil to 350 degrees.
For the wonton wrappers, cut each wrapper in 4 long strips. This gives you approximately a half inch wide by 4 inch long strip. I cut up a stack of them all at once. If you're using egg roll wrappers do the same thing but make sure they're not more than 3 or 4 inches long.
Add one strip to the oil to test it for temperature. The strip should immediately bounce right up to the top and start bubbling.
Cook about 10 to 15 strips at a time, depending on the size of your fryer. You don't want too many in at once because they will not crisp properly.
They take anywhere from about 8 to 12 seconds - yes, seconds - to get nice and golden. I take mine out just before they get to the golden color I want because they will continue to cook for a second or two.
Scoop them onto some paper towels to drain and season.*
Because I always have some frozen raspberries on hand, most of the time I serve these up with my version of sweet and sour sauce which is a raspberry coulis mixed with some Chinese five spice and a little lemon juice. If I have time I'll make my Crab Salad (Dip).
You can season these with fun things like Parmesan cheese, powdered white cheddar popcorn seasoning, herbs or even make them sweet by tossing them in a cinnamon and sugar mixture.
* If you´re seasoning with Parmesan cheese or sugar and cinnamon, etcetera, the easiest way to season them is to toss them in a paper bag add the seasoning and shake!
Have a little fun and experiment with some of your favorite flavors.
I like coleslaw, but I do not like cooked cabbage. I hate sauerkraut. I have terrible childhood memories of my Mom's reheated, slimy, stinky canned sauerkraut and, as a result, have never been able to wrap my head around any form of cooked cabbage for most of my life. As a result, whenever someone suggests I have a hot dog with sauerkraut on it I cringe.
I do, however, kind of like sweet and sour cabbage, having been exposed to that through some Danish friends of mine. This is most likely because I like pickled foods. (No, that wormy pile of conglomerated, canned sludge that passes for sauerkraut is not food, pickled or otherwise.) Sweet and Sour cabbage is still not in my top 10 favorite foods, but it goes pretty good with pork products and makes a nice change from the standard starchy side dishes.
This last New Year's Eve I was finally convinced to try a hot dog with sauerkraut, but homemade sauerkraut, and you know what? I kind of liked it! Of course my mind immediately started thinking of ways I could improve it and I went right to that memory of Danish style sweet and sour red cabbage.
This recipe was adapted from a recipe from one of my favorite food websites, Taste of Home. I didn't have any bacon but I had bacon fat and used that. I also replaced their white vinegar with a nice raspberry vinegar which added more sweetness. I didn't have an apple either so I left it out. (Well, that's not strictly true. I did have an apple but I was saving it for some Apple Cocktails.) Additionally, I was in a hurry and misread their directions, but it turned out just fine with my method. Here is what I did:
SWEET & SOUR RED CABBAGE
1/2 C. Cider Vinegar
1/4 C. Cane Sugar
1/4 C. Packed Brown Sugar
1 Medium Red Cabbage, Shredded
2 Tbsp. Bacon Fat
1/2 C. Chopped Onion
1/4 C. Water
3 Tbsp. Raspberry Vinegar
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1/4 Tsp. Pepper
1/2 Tsp. Caraway Seeds
Add both vinegars, sugars, water and seasonings together in a large stock pot and stir. Add in the shredded cabbage and mix thoroughly to coat.
Allow this to pickle together for 15 minutes.
Lightly brown the onions in the bacon fat then pour this all over the cabbage mixture until blended.
Simmer for 25 to 35 minutes, checking at 20 minutes for level of crunchy. I wanted mine thoroughly cooked because it was a hot dog topping, but if I was serving as a side dish I think I'd prefer it with a little tooth.
This is now my favorite hot dog topping. Add a little mustard and you're good to go. Because I made this primarily for hot dogs, I do wish I had added another whole onion and next time I will. (This go round I just tossed a few chopped green onions on my dogs.) I also think some shredded carrots I might be nice, but not for my hot dog topping.
I will also buy packages of pre-shredded cabbage, the shredding was a pain and my kitchen was bombed by tons of little bits of red cabbage.
Whaddya know, Mom, I like cooked cabbage! I can now call truly myself part Czech!
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