This Vegan Wonton in Red Chili Oil, 红油抄手 (hóng yóu chāo shǒu) recipe is a must-try dish. These little parcels are packed with vegetables, then drenched in a savory sauce made from a mixture of vinegar, spices, and chili oil.
Wontons are perfect for any meals and the color of this is just perfect for the upcoming Lunar New Year. Wonton are dumplings that use a square wrapper and are normally smaller than traditional JiaoZi.
In Lunar New Year, it’s believed that eating dumplings will bring good fortune. I also think it’s a perfect family activity where everyone can sit together and wrap dumplings while sharing laughter and joy.
Wonton is one of the first few dumplings I learned to make at a young age. It is also spelled as Wantan (Cantonese ‘云吞’ Yún tūn ) and these are the dumplings that I’m most familiar with growing up. It’s typically filled with meat and prawn or shrimp then served with Wantan Mee or by itself.
There are many varieties of wonton dishes and today, I’m sharing one that is easy to make and delicious to taste. It’s filled with chopped veggies with a little binding from tofu. The sauce is SO flavorful that you’ll want the whole bowl to yourself.
How to make Vegan Wonton in Red Chili Oil
Before you start making wontons, be sure to thaw your wonton wrapper accordingly. If yours came from the freezer section, thaw them in the refrigerator a night before and then to room temperature an hour (depending on weather) before you start.
Step 1: Make the filling
For the filling, I used a mixture of sautéed cabbage, carrot, and mushrooms.
Then, transfer to a food processor and add a tiny portion of firm tofu cubes and pulse a few times to chop them into small bits.
Chop or Grind in a Food Processor
Step 2: How to Wrap Wonton
Place a wonton wrapper on your palm, add a teaspoon of filling in the middle and then pleat to seal.
1. Thawed wonton wrapper 2. Add filling in the middle
Note: It’s important to use wonton wrappers that are thawed to room temperature so they won’t tear easily. The wrapper should be soft and have no hard edges.
3. Wet the edges with water 4. Fold
Tip: When you seal the opening, try your best to eliminate as many air bubbles as possible. This step is imperative to create a wrinkled look and prevent the wontons from breaking during cooking.
5. Seal the opening 6. Turn it around
This is just one of many ways to wrap your wontons, so choose a style that you are most comfortable with.
7. Bring edges to the middle 8. Pinch to seal
You can freeze the wontons at this point or cook them right away.
Step 3: Cook the wontons
Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and add a drizzle of oil. Cook the wontons until they start to float up. Let them stay afloat for a few seconds before transferring to the sauce bowl.
Step 4: Make the sauce
I normally make the sauce while the wontons are cooking so I could add the hot water from cooking the wontons into the sauce.
The sauce is enough for 15-20 small wontons but feel free to adjust it accordingly. Check out my homemade chili oil if you can’t get a store-bought version.
Step 5: Enjoy!
Garnish with chopped scallions or cilantro and toasted sesame seeds, then serve them warm.
Garnish with scallions and toasted sesame seeds
Wonton Cooking Tips
How to handle the Wrapper
- Most wonton wrappers are made with eggs thus they look yellow and even if they’re white, they might be made of egg whites. So, check your ingredients if you need to make vegan wontons.
- Be sure to thaw the wrapper to room temperature before adding the filling. This is crucial as the wonton wrapper is typically thinner and may tear easily.
Things to look for while you are wrapping the wontons
- Do not let the wrapper dry out. I normally wet a paper towel, wring out the water and cover my wonton wrappers while I start wrapping one.
- The filling shouldn’t be too wet or warm. I added a small cube of tofu and pulsed the ingredients together so it’s easier for you to fill in the wrapper. Let the mixture cool down completely.
- After you wrap the wonton, place them on a cleaned plate or baking sheet. If you think you need more time to wrap the rest, it’s advisable to keep the finished ones refrigerated or frozen.
What to look for when you cook wonton
- Cook wontons in batches – do not add too many at one time so the wontons have space to move around in the water.
- Hot water: Bring a pot of water to boil, you may add a drizzle of oil if you prefer. It’s important that the water is boiling before you add in the wonton.
- Let wonton float up: Once you added the wontons, let the wonton cook and they will float when ready. I usually let them stay afloat for a few seconds.
How to store wontons
- Similar to how you store dumplings, lay the wrapped wontons in one layer on a baking sheet pan. Freeze until wontons are hardened, remove, then store them together in a bag.
- I can’t pinch the edge – the wrapper needs to be thawed so you are able to pinch the edges together easily.
- My wonton doesn’t look packed – If you have removed the air bubbles during wrapping, your wonton will look packed and wrinkly after they are cooked.
- Wontons won’t float up – This could happen when the water is not hot enough or if there is a tear in the wonton. If it’s neither of them, you can use a pair of chopsticks to slowly move them around in the hot water.
What are other Wonton Sauce options
The sauce recipe below is enough for 15-20 small wontons but if you prefer more sauce, please double the sauce servings. I used a mixture of soy sauce, black vinegar, and chili oil but feel free to add these and adjust the saltiness accordingly:
- Mala Spice Mix
- Sichuan peppercorn powder
- Dried chili flakes
- Gluten-free soy sauce or Tamari
- Red vinegar
Why you Need this Vegan Wonton in Red Chili Oil
- It’s easy to make
- Spicy with a touch of tang
- Vegan and Allium-Free (use cilantro instead of scallions)
- Easily customizable
- Oh So TASTY!
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback and see your beautiful re-creation. Leave me a comment, rate it, and tag @woon.heng and #woonheng to your photos on Instagram or Facebook. Happy cooking, friends!
Vegan Wonton in Red Chili Oil – 红油抄手
- 30 wonton wrapper
- 2 cups chopped cabbage
- 2 dried Shiitake mushrooms softened
- ½ cup chopped carrots
- 3 oz firm tofu
- ¼ teaspoon mushrooms or umami seasoning
- salt and white pepper to taste
- sesame oil
- chopped scallions or cilantro
- toasted sesame seeds
Make the Filling
- Heat a large non-stick pan and add in a tablespoon of cooking oil. Sauté mushrooms and carrots until fragrant.
- Then add in the cabbage and cook for a minute or so (increase the cooking time if you prefer softer cabbage. Season with some salt and pepper.
- Transfer the mixture to a food processor and add in the tofu. Pulse to chop the vegetables and tofu into smaller bits.
- Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and season with salt, white pepper, mushrooms seasoning (if using), and sesame oil.
- Mix everything together until well-combined and let it cool completely.
Wrap the Wonton (Please watch the video for step)
- Take a wonton wrapper and place it on your palm or flat surface.
- Add a teaspoon of filling in the middle and bring the edge closest to you to meet the top edge to get a rectangle. Use your fingers to press the wrapper together.
- While sealing the wrapper, try to push out the air bubbles.
- Now, turn the rectangle upside down (the sealed part facing you), and bring both pointy ends to meet in the middle to shape it into a hat. Continue until you're done with the filling.
Make the Sauce
- Mix soy sauce, vinegar, chili oil, white pepper, and broth in a bowl.
Cook the Wonton and Serve
- Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Add a drizzle of oil.
- Slowly drop the wontons in and let them cook until they float up. Let the wontons stay afloat for a few more seconds.
- Dish out the wontons and place them into the bowl with sauce and garnish with chopped scallions or cilantro and toasted sesame seeds.
- The sauce is enough for 15-20 small wontons and feel free to add more sauce accordingly.
- You can prepare the sauce while the wontons are cooking so the broth and wontons are both warm for serving.
- Since my homemade chili oil had a bit of sugar in it, I didn’t use any other sweetener or umami seasoning. If your soy sauce or chili oil does not have sugar in it, you can add a pinch of sugar or mushrooms seasoning.