Gau gee is a Chinese-Hawaiian fusion dish, and it’s fantastic! As I was writing this post, I questioned just how to use the term “gau gee.” Is that a collective noun for the dish? Is it used in singular form for each wonton, such as one gau gee, two gau gee(s)? If you know, please comment.
Gau gee is basically just fried meat-filled wontons, but the filling is so good. There are several versions of this dish floating around, and I’m using a variation of some of the versions I had seen online. Whatever alternatives you use for the filling, it will surely be good.
If you add watery fillings, such as mushrooms and spinach, be extra sure to seal the wonton wrappers very tightly, so when the fillings cook, any liquid that may be released stays in the wrapper. If it leaks out, it will bubble up and cause the hot oil in which it’s cooking to possibly splash.
You’d probably want to use a good dipping sauce to accompany these when serving. A jarred plumb sauce would work well, as would the spicy mayo that I describe below. Or even spring-roll sauce.
What you’ll need
- 8 oz ground pork
- 2T soy sauce
- 4 oz. fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
- 2 oz. fresh spinach leaves, finely chopped
- 2T scallion whites and greens, finely chopped
- 1T sesame oil
- 2t brown sugar or palm sugar
- 1t fresh ginger, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced, or 1t garlic paste
- 1 large egg, whisked
- 3 – 4T corn starch
- 40 wonton wrappers (square or round work, but I used square because like the triangle shape)
- Neutral oil, for frying
- Dipping sauce (optional, see note)
What to do
Thoroughly combine the ground pork, soy sauce, mushrooms, spinach, scallions, sesame oil, sugar, ginger, and garlic in a large bowl. It’s best to use your hands for mixing. Cover and put in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or up to overnight.
Meanwhile, if you’re going to make a spicy mayo sauce, just mix mayo and sambal oelek or some other type of hot sauce at about a 2-to-1 ratio, mayo to sambal oelek. Cover and refrigerate until you cook and serve the gau gee.
When you’re ready to assemble the wantons, make sure you have large plates or a large sheet pan to accommodate all 40 of them—line the plates or sheet pan with parchment paper so the gau gee doesn’t stick. If you can’t add them to the plate without them touching, you’ll want to dredge each assembled wonton with corn starch, so they don’t stick together. Skip this step, if you’ll use enough plates so they don’t touch.
For assembly, whisk the egg in a small bowl. If you’re using the starch, put it in a small, rimmed plate or very shallow bowl. For each wonton wrapper, follow this process, one at a time: Add about a teaspoon of the pork filling to the center of the wonton wrapper. Using a small basting brush or even your finger, paint the perimeter of the wrapper with the egg wash. Fold the wrapper in half diagonally to form a triangle. For a different look, you could just fold over on the parallel edge, if you like. When the wrapper edges are lined up, press down on the area where the filling is to push out any air pockets, then, using the tines of a fork, firmly press along the line where the folded edges meet to seal them up. Lay the completed wontons on your prepared plates.
Now you’re ready to fry them. Add the oil to whatever vessel you’re frying in, to the depth of at least a couple of inches. Heat the oil to 375°F. An instant-read thermometer works perfectly for monitoring the temp.
When the oil is at 375 degrees, depending on the size of the cooking vessel, carefully adding one-by-one, fry 5 – 7 wontons at a time. Using a spider strainer, carefully stir them around so they don’t stick together. Let them fry for about 1.5 to 2 minutes, until they’re golden brown. When done, remove them from the oil with the strainer and drain them on a paper-towel-lined plate or a rack.
Serve warm with your preferred dip.
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