I’ve been electrocuted twice. Once when I stuck my finger down an electric candle as a kid and once 11 years later, after meeting my husband. The first time he held my hand, I felt sparks flying off my fingertips. It’s corny to say, but I’ve loved him ever since.
You wouldn’t know it now, 13 years later, because we’re standing in the middle of our kitchen fighting. But not just any kind of fighting. We’re fighting about fighting, and both of us are too maddeningly stubborn to admit how ridiculous this really is. This leads us in circles, like dogs chasing our tails. Twenty minutes later, after he storms upstairs, I reach for the wonton wrappers and pull out a pot.
I’ve never made wontons before. They’ve always seemed so fussy, so fragile, so capable of breaking. I continue on anyway, mixing ground pork in a big bowl with ginger and garlic – then rolling the mixture into little balls for wrapping inside the wontons. It’s awkward at first until it becomes easy. And then monotonous. 40 wontons later, they’re ready to be boiled.
What I expect is a pork explosion. A sloppy wonton mess. What I don’t expect is for the dumplings to stick together in such assaulting conditions. To my surprise, every last one of them bobs up and down in the bubbling water, in tact, puffing up and turning somersaults.
By the time I call Dustin down for dinner, we’ve both evened our tempers.
“Sorry,” he says, as he scoops out a bite and flings it into his mouth.
“Sorry, too,” I say.
Funny how no one really prepares you for marriage. No one tells you how many times you’ll have to compromise. How many times it’ll come down to your natural ability to stick together when you least expect it.
“These are good,” Dustin says. “Were they a lot of work?”
“They were a project,” I say, “but worth it.”
And then he holds out his bowl for more.
Sichuan Pork Wontons
Recipe altered ever-so-slightly from Saveur.com (makes 40 wontons)
1 ½ lb. ground pork
3 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. dry sherry
2 tbsp. light soy sauce
1 tbsp. Chinese rice wine
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 4″ piece ginger, peeled and minced
40 3½”-square wonton wrappers
1 egg, beaten
Kosher salt, to taste
½ cup red chile oil, plus more for serving
1 bunch scallions, chopped
Mix pork, cornstarch, sherry, soy, wine, garlic, and ginger in a bowl. Saute in oil Center ½ tbsp. filling in center of each wonton, brush edges with egg, and fold in half, forming a triangle. Overlap the opposite corners, brushing with egg to seal together. Repeat with remaining wrappers and pork mixture. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. In batches, cook wontons until firm and cooked through, 15 minutes (Note: the recipe I used said to cook for 7 minutes, but I had to boil for more than double this time.) Make sure to test one wonton before removing all of them with a slotted spoon and draining on a paper towel. Transfer wontons to serving bowls. Season with salt and toss with oil and vinegar. Top with chopped scallions.