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cooking with kiddos: cream cheese wontons

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In my efforts to learn more about cooking to feed my family, I’ve learned to make one of our favorite meals: Chinese food. Typically, for us, this includes fried rice (modified from this recipe that made me feel confident in my ability to fry rice!) and a yummy ramen noodle stir fry my friend taught me. But it was missing something: cream cheese wontons.

I couldn’t even order them in from the Asian restaurant up the street (literally, 1/2 block from my condo) because we don’t like the sweetness of their wontons.

And since the other Chinese recipes I’ve tried have been super easy (and yummy!) I had to try to make the wontons on my own. Our first foray into the wont0n-making was at a friend’s house in Kansas. And it was a huge hit.

And yes, very easy. Easy enough for me and the curly-haired daughter to make them together. The recipe is modified from here.

1. Gather the ingredients: 1 package wonton wrappers, 2 blocks of softened cream cheese, 1/2 t. garlic powder, 1/2 t. onion powder, oil, and a small bowl of water. When we made these in Kansas, we used egg roll wrappers and cut them in half (because the store was out of the wonton wrappers). They worked just as well; today I learned that wonton wrappers are made of the same material cut smaller. Also, don’t substitute garlic salt for the garlic powder. The cream cheese is salty enough without added salt.

2. Mix together the cream cheese, the garlic powder, and the onion powder in a small bowl. The original recipe called for pepper and real onions, but I didn’t want to include those things. It also called for more garlic, but we found that to be too much garlic for us.

3. Dollop a teaspoon (a regular kitchen spoon is fine) onto the center of a wonton wrapper.

4. Dip your (clean! you washed your hands, right?!) finger into the water. Trace your finger on two sides of the wonton wrapper. Fold the wrapper into a triangle shape and press the sides together. The water acts as a glue to hold the edges together.

5. Dip your finger into the water two more times to glue both ends of the triangle in, making a package like in the picture.

6. Keep working until you have filled all the wrappers. Place them on a plate while you’re working.

7. Heat up about an inch of the oil in a wok or a cooking pot on the stove. I don’t have a thermometer, so I went for a higher heat at first. I don’t know how proper it is, but I could tell that the oil was hot enough when the water I sprinkled on it sizzled.

8. Everyone into the pool… er… hot tub! Well, not everyone. I did just 6-8 at a time. It’s hard to keep track of more than that, and you don’t want them to burn.

9. Flip them over to brown both sides. This takes just a minute or so. (As I was cooking, the oil got hotter and hotter. I turned it down during the process — to about a medium heat.)

10. I used tongs to fish the wontons out of the oil. Place them on a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Keep working until you’ve fried them all. The recipe makes about 50 wontons total.

And that’s it, folks! They were a hit at our house. Any leftovers can be sealed in a plastic bag or bowl and refrigerated. Testimony says that 5 seconds in the microwave is enough to bring back their goodness. Enjoy!

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