Thursday, February 24, 2011

Butternut Squash Wontons with Spicy Ginger Syrup - Take 1

Tonight was a learning experience. When I say this, I do not mean to say that it was a failure - I ate up every bit of what I cooked, with some help from a friend. Still, I know that I would like to do things differently next time.

I was inspired by a recipe for pumpkin wontons with a gorgonzola sauce. The idea of pumpkin wontons really struck me as excellent. I decided to go for a gluten-and-lactose-free version of my own. So, I found a neat and simple recipe for gluten-free wonton skins here:

I skinned, cubed and boiled one large butternut squash. When it was soft, I mashed it and added in a bit of tamari (the wonderfully dark and flavorful gluten-free soy sauce, an indispensable member of any gluten-free fridge). I then used this as a filling for a batch of the wonton skins. For a sauce, I made a simple syrup containing about two pinky joints worth of grated fresh ginger root, and a liberal sprinkling of shichimi togarashi (Japanese 'seven flavor chili pepper' powder).

So, here's what I wish I hadn't done: Rather than getting the full recipe from Casey while I had her on the phone (I've been without a net connection for a few days, and am glad to have it back in time to write this up), I just got the instructions for making the wonton skins themselves. I didn't ask how to cook them. As it turns out, the author steamed hers, then pan fried them. I took the crab rangoon route, sadly (deep fried in a mixture of canola and vegetable oil). This resulted in a wonton skin that was more akin to a flour tortilla. It was very crisp and taco-like, and the flavor that it took on during cooking  really masked the subtle sweetness of the squash.

The good news: As soon as the wontons were paired with the ginger sauce, they were wonderful. The wontons skin's flavor was mellowed out, and the ginger mingled with bursts of squash. The friend I'd recruited to help me roll out wontons helped me devour each and every one. It was a very comfortably filling meal. I think that, if served with a bed of hot rice and a side of steamed greens, this could have easily been made into a meal for four.

The bottom line: Butternut squash wontons need to happen again, and I'm going to steam them as the author intended. The ginger syrup was absolutely excellent and I will most certainly be expanding its use. I do want to consider some options for making the butternut squash's flavor really pop out. I was thinking that steaming the wontons may help, but I'm not sure. I'm afraid to make the filling sweeter, because the ginger syrup was already pretty sweet. My friend suggested maybe adding salt. What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Use something that's more commonly paired with butternut squash. Sure it might contrast with the asian aspects of it, but it will just make it more interesting.