Thursday, June 4, 2009

Fried Lamb Wontons with Honey and Mustard Seed Dipping Sauce

A play on the typical Chinese fried wonton appetizer, I went the Middle Eastern route with this dish. Using fresh ground lamb meat instead of the usual pork and shrimp, this wonton appetizer adds a little pizzazz to an otherwise plain old Chinese restaurant staple.

When using lamb, it has to be seasoned much differently than the usual Asian flavors. For starters, I added fresh chopped mint leaves, fennel seeds and coriander powder, together with garlic and shallots. And instead of a sweet chili sauce, I made a mustard seed, honey and sour cream dipping sauce to go with the lamb. The wonton wrappers are easily available at any Asian grocery store and the only tedious part about this exercise is putting it all together. So, season the ground lamb meat with the ingredients I mentioned above (together with the usual salt and pepper) and let it sit in the refrigerator for an hour or so to let it marinade. The meat is sticky enough that just by folding the sides of the wonton wrapper into the middle, the package would remain shut. Also, make sure that you don't stack these packaged wontons on top of one another as the lower ones tend to get crushed easily and won't look as good when deep-fried.

To deep-fry these delicious mouth-poppers, heat up vegetable oil in a pot. Make sure that the level of the oil in the pot is enough to cover the entire wonton when frying. Remove the wontons from the hot oil as soon as they just turn slightly golden brown, as they will continue cooking even out of the pot. Drain the excess oil by laying a couple of sheets of paper towels on the container that you are transferring the wontons to.

Now for the easy-to-make dipping sauce. Start with some sour cream, add a few spoonfuls of mustard seeds (I used off-the-shelf stone ground mustard seeds that is seasoned with vinegar), honey and a pinch of salt. Stir these ingredients well and just like that, you have yourself a delicious dipping sauce for your lamb wontons.

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