1/3 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut into pea-size pieces (4-1/2 ounces total)
1/4 pound ground pork, fattier kind preferred, coarsely chopped to loosen
1 scallion (white and green parts), finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch of black or white pepper
48 small square wonton skins
Canola or peanut oil, for deep-frying
1. To make the filling, combine the shrimp, pork, scallion, cornstarch, sugar, salt, and pepper in a bowl and use chopsticks or a fork to mix well. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes before using, or refrigerate for up to a day in advance. You should have about 1 cup.
2. Before assembling the wontons, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly dust with cornstarch. Fill each wonton skin with about 1 teaspoon of the filling, creating triangles or nurse's caps (see below). As you work, put the finished wontons on the prepared baking sheet. When all are made, loosely cover with a kitchen towel to prevent drying. The wontons also can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for several hours; let them sit at room temperature to remove the chill before frying.
3. Put a wire rack on a baking sheet and place next to the stove. Pour oil to a depth of 1-1/2 inches into a wok, deep skillet, or 5-quart Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat to about 325°F on a deep-fry thermometer. (If you don't have a deep-fry thermometer, stick a dry bamboo chopstick into the oil; if it takes about 2 seconds for bubbles to rise and encircle the chopstick, the oil is ready.)
4. Working in batches of 4 to 6, slide the wontons into the hot oil and fry for about 1 minute on each side, or until golden brown. Use a skimmer to transfer to the rack to drain.
5. Arrange the wontons on a platter and serve hot as finger food along with the sauce for dipping.
To shape triangles: 1) Fill the skin and wet the edges with a chopstick. 2) Fold the skin into a triangle an dpress firmly with your fingers to seal.
To shape nurse's caps: 1) Bring the lower edge of the filled skin up to meet the upper edge, forming a rectangle. 2) Bring together the two corners of the folded edge, overlapping slightly, and press to seal.
Sweet and Sour Sauce
1/4 cup sugar or lightly packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon light (regular) soy sauce
3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar or cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
1. Combine the sugar, salt, ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar, and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a near boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Give the cornstarch a stir and then add it to the pan. Continue cooking, stirring, for about 15 seconds, or until the sauce comes to full boil and thickens.
2. Remove from the heat, transfer to a serving bowl, and set aside for 10 minutes to cool and concentrate in flavor. Taste and add extra salt, if needed. Serve warm or at room temperature. Feel free to prepare this sauce a day in advance.
Reprinted with permission from Asian Dumplings: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More by Andrea Nguyen, copyright © 2009. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.