This summer, I won a copy of Simple Thai Food: Classic Recipes from the Thai Home Kitchen by Leela Punyaratabandhu during a giveaway on her blog, She Simmers. I already had the cookbook on my Amazon wishlist, so I was incredibly excited when I won. This is also the first Thai cookbook I have had the pleasure to cook through. Chapters include Noshes and Nibbles, Rice Accompaniments (Stir-Fried and Deep-Fried Dishes, Salads, Soups, Curries, Miscellaneous), One-Plate Meals (Noodle Dishes and Rice Dishes), Sweets, and Basic Recipes and Preparations. In these chapters, I found many familiar dishes from local Thai restaurants along with a few that were completely new to me. I love that Leela makes Thai cooking accessible to those in the Unites States while keeping the authenticity of each dish. There is also an incredibly informative ingredients glossary at the end of the book for those new to Thai cooking.
The recipe for Thung Thong (Thai Crispy Dumplings, also known as Gold Purses or Golden Bags) jumped out to me immediately. I have seen this dish listed on menus in Thai restaurants, but had not actually ordered them myself. The recipe wasn’t overly complicated and I ended up doubling the ingredients to freeze a few dumplings for future use. You can also make them up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerate them covered until ready to fry. Be gentle in forming the dumplings to keep the wrapper from tearing. I added about a tablespoon of filling to the center of each of my wrappers. This may differ slightly based on the size of your wrapper. Just make sure you leave enough room around the edges to gather them over the filling and secure them easily.
In addition to the Thung Thong (Thai Crispy Dumplings) I am sharing with you today, I also made the Kuai-Tiao Phat Khi Mao Kai (Rice Noodles “Drunkard’s Style” with Chicken), Mu Sate (Pork Satay), Kuai-Tiao Nuea Sap (Rice Noodles with Beef-Tomato Gravy), Rat Na Nuea (Rice Noodles with Beef and Chinese Broccoli Gravy), and Phat Wun Sen (Stir-Fried Glass Noodles with Chicken). Everything turned out absolutely perfect. All the recipes I tried were straightforward and I never ran into any issues. Most of the ingredients were fairly easy to find. I did have to stop by the local Asian food market for a couple of key items like wide rice noodles and Chinese broccoli. Leela also offers alternatives for those herbs and vegetables that may be more difficult to find. If you are new to Thai cooking and looking to add a Thai cookbook to your collection, Simple Thai Food is definitely the one to try.
Thung Thong (Thai Crispy Dumplings)
Adapted from Simple Thai Food: Classic Recipes from the Thai Home Kitchen
7 green onions
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for frying
1 tablespoon aromatic paste, ingredients below
4 ounces white mushrooms, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
8 ounces ground chicken or pork
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 (8 ounce) can whole water chestnuts, drained, rinsed, patted dry, then diced into 1/4 inch pieces
18 square or round wonton skins
3/4 cup sweet chile sauce for serving
1 head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
1/4 tablespoon whole white peppercorns or ground white pepper
2 1/2 cilantro roots or 1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro stems
To make the aromatic paste: grind together the garlic, peppercorns, and cilantro in a food processor (grind the peppercorns first in a spice grinder if using food processor) or with a mortar and pestle until a smooth paste forms. Set aside 1 tablespoon for the dumplings. The remaining can be frozen for up to a month.
Separate the green blades of the green onions and set aside. Discard the roots and thinly slice the white parts.
In a large wok or skillet, drizzle 1 tablespoon oil over high heat. Once thoroughly heated, add the white slices of the onions, aromatic paste, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until softened. Mix in the ground chicken, soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and water chestnuts. Cook, breaking up the chicken finely, until chicken is no longer pink and no liquid remains. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to come to room temperature.
Bring a saucepan filled with water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water and place next to the saucepan. Add the reserved green parts of the onions to the boiling water, making sure they completely submerge. Blanch for 30 seconds, then immediately transfer to ice water. Remove once they are cool enough to handle and lightly pat to dry. Use a knife to split each blade in half lengthwise or quarters if large.
Place a wonton wrapper on a dry work surface. Cover the remaining wrappers with a towel. Place a small bowl of water next to work surface. Put a 1-1 1/2 tablespoons of the cooled filling in the center of the wrapper. If needed, moisten the edges with water and gather together over the filling. Pinch together to seal and lightly form the bottom so it is rounded. Tie one of the blanched green onion blades around the pinched area of the dumpling and double tie to secure. Trim off the ends. Repeat with remaining wrappers.
Pour oil into a wok or saucepan until it is 3 inches deep. Heat until the oil is 325 degrees F. Gently add a few of the prepared dumplings with a slotted spoon, being careful not to overcrowd. Fry until golden brown, then transfer to a towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining dumplings.
Allow to cool slightly before serving with sweet chile sauce.