There is a distinct resemblance to the beak and tail of a swallow when the pastry squares are correctly folded to enclose the filling. On a more prosaic note, they may be called deep-fried dumplings. One also finds them on restaurant menus under the name of ‘fried short soup sweet and sour’ when served with the appropriate sauce.
6 dried shiitake mushrooms;
125 g (4 oz) raw prawns;
4 spring onions, finely chopped;
3 tablespoons finely chopped bamboo shoots;
250 g (8 oz) minced pork;
1½ teaspoons salt;
1 tablespoon light soy sauce;
1 teaspoon sesame oil;
250 g (8 oz) wonton wrappers;
peanut oil for deep-frying.
Soak the mushrooms in hot water for 30 minutes. Squeeze out any excess moisture, discard the stems and chop the caps finely.
Shell and devein the prawns and chop till almost a paste, mixing with the spring onions, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, minced pork and seasonings.
Put a half teaspoon of filling in the centre of each wonton wrapper. Moisten the edges of the dough with a finger dipped in water. Fold over to form a triangle, with the points overlapping slightly. Press together to seal. Pull the two bottom corners of the triangle down to meet under the bulge of the filling, and dab with a little of the meat mixture, placing one corner over the other and pressing firmly. Place on a paper-lined baking sheet, leaving a little space between them. If they touch, this pastry is inclined to stick.
Heat the oil in a wok and deep-fry a few at a time over medium heat so the filling has time to cook through, about 2 minutes. When golden, lift out on a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper. Serve as an appetiser or as part of a meal, with sweet and sour sauce poured over just before serving.
Note: Wonton wrappers may be purchased from the refrigerator section of any Asian store. They are squares of egg and wheat flour pastry, rolled very thinly and cut into precise 8 cm (3 in) squares. They are also used for steamed dumplings. To make, gather the edges of the pastry around 2 teaspoons of filling in a money bag shape. Steam over boiling water for 10 minutes in an oiled steamer.