These are healthier than pork wontons and they freeze really well. This is a very simple wonton recipe so it is ideal for beginners. Use extra lean beef if you are watching your fat intake. Once they are cooked you can serve them or freeze them in a well-labeled plastic bag. You can cook them from frozen so you donít need to thaw them the night before you want to cook them. Because they freeze so well itís worth making a batch of these delicious beef wontons!
Beef, ginger and Napa cabbage combine to make the main body for these beef wontons, and garlic, sesame oil and soy sauce enhance the overall flavor of them. These beef wontons are aromatic and unusual, and the flavors work very well together. If you are a fan of beef and you want to add your favorite Chinese flavors and some healthy vegetables, then this might be the best wonton recipe for you. Why not give these wontons a go? Your family is sure to be impressed with your cooking skills if you do.
These healthy wontons are steamed so, apart from the little bit of sesame oil used for flavor, they are pretty much fat-free, especially if you go with lean beef. Lean beef is not so good for making hamburgers because they will be dry but these beef wontons are well-hydrated with the sesame oil, soy sauce and vegetables, so there is no danger of them being dry - just healthy and delicious.
1 lb (500g) ground (minced) beef
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 tablespoons finely chopped green (spring) onions
4 cups (500g) finely chopped Napa cabbage
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Salt and black pepper, to taste
About 35 wonton wrappers
Water, as needed
Combine the ground beef with the cabbage, ginger, green onions and garlic in a bowl, mixing them together with your hands. Mix the sesame oil with the salt, pepper and soy sauce in another bowl, then combine the 2 mixtures.
Add about a tablespoon of the beef mixture to the center of a wonton wrapper. Dip your fingertip in some water and trace the half-edge of the wonton wrapper, then fold it in half and crimp the edges closed with your fingers. Donít put too much filling in, else the wontons will burst open!
Steam the wontons for about 8 minutes or until the filling is cooked through. If you freeze them you will need to steam them for about 13 minutes.
Steamed wontons are always beautiful because the outside of the wonton wrapper is slick, glossy and white, and you can only guess what amazing flavors are inside. Serve steamed wontons with your favorite dipping sauce. Sweet chili sauce, plum sauce or even plain soy sauce would all work just fine, or you might like to try something a bit different like a creamy peanut sauce. A dipping sauce is not essential but it does go well with the steamed beef wontons. Serve them in the steamer for a nice authentic touch. You will need to line the steamer with lettuce leaves, cabbage leaves or perforated steamer papers so the wontons don't stick.
Beef is not used nearly as much as pork in Chinese cuisine, so when the Chinese talk about 'meat' they are usually referring to pork. Beef is used quite a bit in Szechuan cuisine, probably because there are more oxen in that region. Steamed beef is coated with cornstarch to make a gravy, while stir-fried beef is cooked until chewy.
Beef is not as versatile as pork, for example they are not good for making a beef version of pork meatballs, which is why beef is not so popular. Beef can be eaten rare though, unlike pork, so you can cook it to rare if you prefer. This is not usually done in China though. The Chinese often pick sirloin or tenderloin for beef stir-fry recipes.
For a stew they will choose shank or shin in big cubes. They do not go for other pieces of meat because the longer tissues toughen more while stewing. Beef cubes or shreds should be marinated or well-dried before going into a hot wok, so the meat pores seal and the beef stays juicy.
Not all Chinese beef recipes have to come from a website or out of a cookbook. In fact you can make up your own flavorful Chinese beef recipes easily enough. Why not make a vegetable stir-fry, adding some beef at the last minute. If you are using a tougher cut of beef, you will either need to braise it first, cook it separately, or slice it wafer thin before adding it. Try adding Chinese mushrooms for a lovely earthy flavor, pineapple for sweetness, and matchstick-cut carrots and celery for crunch. Any kind of sauce would be nice with such a dish, especially oyster sauce or garlic sauce.
You can often swap the chicken or pork in a recipe for beef, so if you have some beef to use up but you want to make a Chinese dish, then simply swap the chicken or pork for beef and follow the rest of the recipes as it is. Occasionally you will have to modify some of the other ingredients. For example, if the recipe calls for light soy sauce for a chicken dish but you are using beef instead, a dark soy sauce will probably complement the beef more.