Ironically, I am likely the only blogger whose mother doesn’t actually read her blog.
This, instead of the blogger whose only reader is their mom, which I guess would be worse!
The irony is this: Today, I am going to talk about my Mom’s first published recipe. One that I published in my first (and only) cookbook.
Okay, so it was self-published. And I wasn’t the only cook in the book.
And this was twenty-some years ago?
Well, perhaps thirty.
The cookbook was a project in JA (Junior Achievments). I wish I still owned a copy. It is currently out of print. I guess all of the moms bought them up?
If Mom were reading this, she would probably tell you I have it all wrong. Which, let’s face it, likely, I might. This is my story to tell though, so I’ll pretend not to hear her. She’d probably agree that I’d do that too.
We ate pretty straight-up meals for dinner when I was a kid; roast beef, meat loaf, the occasional salmon cake and the like. Lots of vegetables, as long as they came from the freezer or out of a can. Salad. We did eat salad. I was usually in charge of that (and still am).
Most nights it was your typical family dinner. Scott and I took turns setting the table (Mark was too young). We discussed the news and our school work, while I picked at my plate.
We were expected to finish everything, yes, even our daily glass of milk (which explains why my piano teacher had to keep telling me to cut my fingernails).
I liked eating dinner at my best friend Mary’s house; they drank water over there. And ate homemade pizza for dinner. And chicken dumplings. Ice cream was often for dessert. No washing dishes for me on those nights; I wasn’t even allowed to clear my plate from the table. Those were the days.
However, on occasion, Mom would surprise us and make fried won tons. For dinner! Those nights were the best. “Junk food” for dinner, and we were not usually allowed to eat junk.
Unless Grandpa Edwards was around. Then we drank soda pop, ate potato chips, and only used milk to dip cookies. But I digress.
Tuna won tons sound unusual, even to me. But trust me, they’re delish! Mom would open up the Starkist Tuna (2 cans) and dump them into a mixing bowl.
Then she unwrapped the silver foil from the Philly cream cheese after removing it from its’ box.
Onion was chopped (which always made me shed tears), Worcestershire sauce, mustard and lemon juice; I think that was it. All mixed up in the bowl, then plopped onto the square dough wrappers and carefully closed up.
I loved watching the oil. It was bubbly hot as the packages dropped into the pan. They spurted and spat as they started to crisp.
Mom flipped them over, toasting the other side before removing them to a plate lined in paper towels where she would sprinkle them with salt and playfully slap our hands away as we tried to sneak one before supper.
The best part was the simplicity of their deliciousness. No salad, no can of peas. Not even milk. We ate them happily, pulled from a large bowl placed centrally on the table, one after the next.
My version is a little fussier but not much. Tom reacts much the same way I used to when told tuna won tons were on the menu for dinner; on his best behavior because he too is a fan.
I use green onions rather than red, add cilantro and wasabi (because we like the kick), and serve a simple sake sauce next to a garnish of fresh greens and slices of grapefruit or pickled ginger.
In other news, we welcome a new member into the extended family this month. Kiki Edwards, a Havanese, weighing in at 4 pounds at 4 months-old was adopted last Saturday by my brother Mark’s family in Alaska. Her cousins are already eagerly awaiting a visit!
Us, We couldn’t be more thrilled! She looks like a feisty one with a bit of Bitsy (Mark’s childhood dog) and our Ginger mixed in.Print
Tuna Won Tons with Sake Sauce
An easy week-night supper or an appetizer that can be fried a few hours ahead and reheated just in time to tantalize your guests.
No skills required to make these., other than opening cans, mixing ingredients and folding things somewhat accurately.
Hot oil required, don’t make without parental supervision for the youngsters (and some adults).
- Yield: 16-18 Won Tons yield dinner for 2 or appetizers for 4 1x
- Category: Dinner or Appetizer
- Method: frying
- Cuisine: Asian fusion
For Won Tons
1 5oz can of 100% Albacore Tuna (sustainably caught), preferably packed in spring water)
2 heaping TB soft cream cheese (preferably organic)
1 large or 2 small Green Onions, chopped
1 TB Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp Soy Sauce (low sodium)
1 tsp Wasabi Paste
2 TB chopped, fresh Cilantro (approximately a large handful)
1 TB freshly-squeezed Lemon Juice
16–20 fresh Won Ton Wrappers
Peanut Oil for frying
For Sake Sauce
1/4 cup Sake
1/8 cup Soy Sauce (low sodium)
2 TB Rice Wine Vinegar
1 tsp Coconut Sugar (or cane sugar)
1/2 tsp chopped Jalapeño (seeds removed)
For the Won Tons
In a medium-sized bowl, with a rubber spatula, mix the tuna with its’ juices, cream cheese, green onions, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, soy sauce, wasabi paste, cilantro and lemon juice together until completely mixed.
Drop 1 tsp full of mixed ingredients onto the middle of each won ton wrapper.
Fold over into a triangle, pressing the mixture toward the center and sealing gently with your fingers.
Single corner pointing up, fold the two parallel corners toward the single corner, pressing gently to tuck the mixture in. Use a dab of water if needed to seal.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to cook. Meanwhile make the sauce (recipe below).
When ready to cook, pour enough oil into a wok or sauté pan to cover the won tons halfway (approximately 1″).
Heat the oil until hot. Test by throwing in a small piece of won ton wrapper. If it begins to bubble quickly but not burn, it is ready.
Add enough won tons to form a single layer; it will be a few batches.
Stand over them (carefully), checking to see when the first side browns and turn to brown the other side.
Remove to paper towels.
Prior to serving, place in a 350-degree F oven for 5-10 minutes or until heated through. Serve immediately alongside the sake sauce.
Combine all ingredients into a small sauce pan (I use a mini stainless steel saucepan) other than the jalapeño.
Simmer over medium heat for a few minutes until sugar is dissolved and it just starts to bubble and slightly thicken. Let cool.
I use less cream cheese than Mom did so feel free to add a bit more if you want. The texture should be thicker than a dip, but lighter than a brick.
This version ebbs toward the Asian flavor but not overtly so. They are pretty versatile and forgiving. Skip the sauce altogether if you don’t want to fuss, but its a nice touch.
Tuna wontons sound delish especially with the sauce that you always need to add and make so wonderfully. Pretty soon, Scott will look good for dinner…the snowmageddon is upon us. HELP. Keep cookin inspiration so I can hope the power stays on and I can cook something wonderful!
Stacey Bender said:
We foolishly did not make it to grocery prior to snow but as luck has it we always have tuna in the cupboard.
Scott might be tasty to you but perhaps you have been taken over by desert island syndrome in reverse.
Lois Casto said:
What a great easy peasy recipe. We haven’t made wontons in years but these sound perfect. Welcome to Kiki Edwards, she is a cutey (almost as cute as her WA cousins;)
Stacey Bender said:
These really are so easy and actually fun to make (even more fun to eat). We can’t wait to meet Kiki in person
What do you mean I don’t read your blog???? Of course I do!
Oh how we all loved the tuna wontons but I haven’t made them in a long time. I still have a food-stained copy of the cookbook and surprisingly refer to it often. It even has Great Grandma’s recipe for peanut butter barbecue sauce. Sometimes its fun to re-try the old recipes.
Love you lots,
Stacey Bender said:
I stand corrected and am so glad I was (wrong)!
I love that you still have a copy of the book – and that you still cook from it!!
I forgot about Great Grandma’s peanut butter barbecue sauce; I used to anticipate dinner when you made ribs with that. Can you resend it to me?