Photos by Lindsey Johnson
Even though I love to cook, I have very little patience for tedious processes like folding wontons properly. Whenever I make wontons, I fold them in half and that’s that. Done! Whenever my husband makes wontons, he takes the time to make sure they’re all perfectly shaped and he gives me the side-eye over my lazy wontons, but I’ve discovered that lazy wontons have a purpose beyond my laziness.
Lazy wontons are the best wontons for baking!
Since they have an even surface and no nooks and crannies, they crisp up pretty evenly in the oven. I’ve tried baking other shapes of wontons and the ones that are folded in half work out the best by far. It’s still a little tedious to prepare them, but the short time in the oven makes up for the longer prep time. If you’ve never made (lazy) wontons before, here’s how you do it:
The filling for these Ginger-Mushroom Wontons is meaty, slightly sweet, and the ginger and white pepper give it a little kick. If you don’t have white pepper on hand, don’t go out and buy it — a little freshly ground black pepper will do or just skip the pepper altogether. White pepper is spicier than black pepper, so you may want to start with just a pinch if you’re not big on spicy foods and add more to taste.
You’ll have leftover wonton wrappers, which is convenient because I just happen to have a dessert wonton recipe too — make it without the coconut caramel sauce and ice cream and all you’ll need for that recipe is a ripe banana. I’ve also been known to chop up stray peanut butter cups and stuff them into wonton wrappers for baking because I’m resourceful like that. I’m pretty much the MacGyver of wontons.
If you’re not going to use the leftover wonton wrappers right away, they also freeze well — keep them in the package they came in and tape it shut, then stick them in a small freezer bag before freezing.
Baking wontons in the oven makes them crispy without frying -- they're perfect as an appetizer or light dinner.
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil, plus additional for spraying or brushing
- 1 pound white mushrooms, diced
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced (reserve 1 tablespoon for sauce)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper (optional)
- 30 wonton wrappers
- 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onions
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, green onions, garlic, and ginger and cook until the mushrooms have released their juices and the liquid has evaporated, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the tamari, mirin, and white pepper and cook until the sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Use an oil mister to spray a large baking sheet with oil (or line a baking sheet with parchment paper if you don't have a mister).
- Fill a small bowl with water. On a dry work surface, lay one wonton wrapper with a corner pointing towards you. Drop 3/4 tablespoon of mushroom filling on the bottom half of the wrapper. Dip your finger in the water and brush the edges of the bottom half of the wrapper to dampen slightly. Fold the top half down onto the bottom half to form a triangle and press to seal. Place the finished wonton on the baking sheet and repeat until you've used all of the filling (you should have enough for 25-30).
- Spray or brush the tops of the wontons with additional oil and bake for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned and crisp. While the wontons are baking, whisk together all of the dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Serve the wontons with the sauce.
The sesame oil used for the wontons is plain sesame oil -- not toasted! If you don't happen to have it, any cooking oil with a high smoke point can be substituted.