Mmm, anything dumplings. That’s probably a dish you’re going to want to make yourself. My friend Laura had donkey dumplings in Beijing once. That’s an anything dumpling. Okay, so you pass wonton wrappers at the regular (not even Asian) supermarket more or less every time you go. You can find a 50-pack in the refrigerator case, or possibly the freezer aisle, for about three bucks. They’re one of the most hackable ingredients I’ve ever encountered, especially when it comes to lunch.
While nobody could expect you to know a traditional recipe for dumplings or wontons off the top of your head, here are a few ideas for alternative stuffings. Simply place however much filling will fit comfortably between two wrappers without leaking at all (you’ll want about 1/4-inch of seal) and seal the edges tightly with beaten egg and a firm press-down.
- Cream cheese, a dollop of that crazy addictive $1.99 sweet chili dipping sauce from Trader Joe’s, a dab of crabmeat. That’s your classic Crab Rangoon, only without the gross fake crab.
- Crumbled feta and cooked spinach. Fried spanikopita dumpling.
- Roughly chopped leftover meatballs, shredded mozzarella with a little tomato sauce. Yup, Meatball Sub Rangoon. I only bring it up because I’ve done it and it’s awesome.
- Canned tuna, and chopped hard-boiled eggs and boiled potatoes. Spanish empanada wonton.
- Peanut butter and sliced bananas. Hey, it’s a great sandwich, it can be a great dumpling. Don’t be closed-minded (and don’t fry them after you fry fish).
- Chopped leftover veggies mixed with sesame oil and minced ginger = easiest any-vegetable dumplings, ever.
- Ricotta, chopped cooked mushrooms and snipped chives. Who didn’t buy overpriced lame frozen gummy mushroom ravioli? You.
- Finely chopped raw shrimp, minced SGG (my new abbreviation for scallions, garlic and ginger that I just made up) and a little beaten egg. Who didn’t buy overpriced lame frozen falling-apart shumai? You.
- Goat cheese, bacon and caramelized onions. Because that is ravioli you have never had. Here’s an equally unique sauce to go with them.
- Advanced technique: a whole egg yolk with a hearty chunk of some kind of pig on top, covered with grated Parmesan before sealing. Not for the faint of heart. Seriously, if you have a heart condition, don’t eat three or four egg yolks for lunch.
So keep wonton wrappers around. Don’t make me keep coming up with good reasons.
More awesome lunch hacks on Food Republic: