Have you ever been to the popular American restaurant The Cheesecake Factory? Where they not only serve a staggering array of cheesecake that will thrill any sweet tooth (and I don’t even like cheesecake), they have fantastic main course food to boot? With portions so large anyone is guaranteed a take-home bag? If not, make it on your to go list. And no, sadly, I’m not getting any money for saying that.
Being Canadian, we only got to visit this restaurant a few times a year when we crossed the border into Buffalo (although I am told there is one back home now, and of all places, Yorkdale Shopping mall, my home away from home when I was a kid!).
I find their menu a little overwhelming, and on one visit, I just couldn’t decide on what I wanted, I wanted a little bit of everything! Then I noticed that they had an appetizer sampler, where they took five of their most popular appetizers and gave you four pieces each. I begged my husband to share with me and he obliged. We weren’t disappointed. Two of my favorite appetizers from that restaurant were on the platter, including this one.
It truly is amazing, isn’t it, when something with so few ingredients can taste so good? I made these a few times before I discovered how we like it best. The recipe below is one of those that has very loose measurements. The first time I made them I only put a drizzle of sauce inside that that was just not enough for us wing sauce lovers. So now I chop up the chicken, stir in the sauce and cheese, and fill the wonton wrappers. You can use more or less sauce as you prefer, just be careful it’s not too wet or else it will leak out of the wrappers and break apart frying. Place the filling diagonally across the wonton wrapper. Brush edges lightly with egg white, and fold over diagonally to seal. I use a fork to help seal the edges.
If you’ve never deep fried before, here’s a few tips. In order to save oil, I usually use a medium size pot. I pour vegetable oil about 2/3 of the way up the sides and heat. How do you know when it’s ready? Insert your wooden spoon into the oil. If it bubbles around the stick then it is ready to go. If it is smoking, it’s too hot, which can be dangerous and ruin your food.
I only fry two or three at a time, flipping them over after about a minute, then draining them on a rack or some paper towel. These are best served soon after frying.
Here’s to restaurants giving us great ideas that we can copy and edit to our tastes at home.
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup cup buffalo wing sauce
- 3/4 cup grated cheese, mozzarella and/or cheddar cheese
- 2 eggs
- about 1 cup flour
- 2 cups panko crumbs
- 30-40 wonton wrappers
- about a jug of vegetable oil for deep frying
Put chicken breasts in a large skillet of water. Cook on medium-high heat until chicken is cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. Drain and cool.
Chop chicken and put into medium sized bowl. Add wing sauce and cheddar. If you want more sauce, add it now, just be careful to not make it too ‘soupy’ or it will leak.
Lay out wonton wrappers. Put about one tablespoon in the centre of wonton. (It may seem like a lot, but if you put less than this you’ll get a lot of ‘air’ inside your wonton so it’s better with more filling). Fold over diagonally. Seal with a fork. Repeat until all wrappers and chicken are used. (if you find they are not sealing, brush the borders of the inside of the wonton with a little water before folding and sealing).
In a medium sized pot, pour in deep fry oil up 2/3 of the way and turn heat on to medium high.
While waiting for the oil to heat, begin the breading procedure. On one plate put your flour. In a separate bowl, beat eggs with about a tablespoon of water. On another large plate, pour your panko onto. Keeping one had for wet and one had for dry, first dip wonton in flour, then egg mixture, then panko. Gently press the panko into wonton, making sure it has a good covering.
Your oil is ready when it’s 350. If it’s smoking, it’s too hot and will burn the breading. If you don’t have a thermometer, put a wooden spoon into the oil. Insert your wooden spoon into the oil. If it bubbles around the stick then it is ready to go.
Put wontons carefully in oil with a slotted spoon. They will float to the top. Flipping over once, let them fry about 1-2 minutes until golden brown, but not dark brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels or a rack. Repeat until finished.
Makes about 35.
BLUE CHEESE DIPPING SAUCE
- 1 cup blue cheese crumbles (about 4.5 oz)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 TAB milk
- salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until combined.