I recently scored a professional, well-seasoned wok from a friend whose restaurant was clearing out some old items and decided to put it to the test this past weekend with a little won ton action. To balance out the fried goodness, I used some Indian eggplant to house the rest of the stuffing and to offer a similar flavor profile to my more health conscious guests.
Serves 3 – 4
3 chicken thighs – smoked
3 strips of smoked bacon
½ cup panko bread crumbs
1 bunch of scallions, cleaned and trimmed (roots removed)
1 8oz package of shitake mushrooms
2 – 3 Indian egg plants per person (they’re about the size of a golf ball)
1 package of won ton/dumpling wrappers (you could make your own, but why…)
1 quart cooking oil (I used peanut)
S&P to taste
½ tsp coriander
½ cup mayo
1 tbsp ponzu sauce
Start by smoking the chicken as this usually takes about two – three hours at 225 degrees, depending on thickness; I used thighs as they have a superior flavor to breasts in my opinion. While the chicken is cooking go ahead and prep the eggplant; use a paring knife and a slotted spoon to remove the interior of the eggplant including the seeds.
Once the chicken is done place it in a large food processor and add the bacon, mushrooms, bread crumbs, scallions, coriander and 1 tbsp on EVOO; add S&P to taste. Pulse to combine the mixture, but do not puree it, you want some texture. Coat the eggplant cups w/ EVOO and spoon in the eggplant mixture; reserve the rest for the won ton. I used a muffin tin to keep the eggplant upright to prevent spillage and baked them at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
While the eggplant is baking, prepare the frying oil and the wontons; as mentioned above I used peanut but any cooking oil would work.
Fill the won-tons by wetting the edges of one wrapper, placing a tbsp of the mix in the center and topping the won-ton with another wrapper; use your fingers or a fork to ensure a tight seal. Cook the won-tons a few at a time for about 15 – 30 seconds on each side depending on how hot the oil is; use a slotted spoon to flip; set on paper towels when done to drain any excess oil.
Combine the mayo and ponzu in a deep bowl and whisk to combine. Plate a few of the wontons and eggplant and top with the mayo; I was really tired and, uncharacteristically, didn’t put much thought into this presentation…looking back I feel ashamed…