My mom came down and spent the week with us recently.  She is 93 years old and still lives in San Francisco in the same house I grew up in.  Her memory has faltered and her cognitive skills have diminished but she soldiers on.   I am thankful that she is still with us and grateful for the moments we have together.  It is now our turn to take care of her, everything comes full circle.


When she visits we talk about family.  She remembers snippets of when she was younger, she laughs at my exasperation with my kids.  She doesn’t do much cooking anymore but she does like to make won tons when she visits.  When I was in college she would make trays of won tons, freeze and pack them ready for me to take back to Berkeley after a weekend visit.  When the kids were small, during her babysitting stints, she would make won tons for them.

We head to the Asian market to shop for fresh water chestnuts (no canned stuff for her), pork (not pre-ground too mushy), mushrooms, wrappers and shrimp (raw & unpeeled).  At home she insists on making the filling as she has for so many years, chopping the pork and shrimp by hand and incorporating the seasonings at the same time.  We reserve some of the filling for mini stuffed omelettes called gai don kok (kid favorite) and then we sit, talk and fold won tons.  We fill as many trays as we have wrappers and filling and store them in the freezer for when the kids come home. These are the moments I will treasure.

My mom makes a classic pork and shrimp won ton, if you would like to make shrimp won tons as shown in the video below (mom wrapping!) I found a great recipe on  NoRecipes.  The recipe calls for soaking the shrimp in potassium carbonate which firms up the shrimp giving the won ton a nice bite.  You could probably forego this step.  I added 1 tsp Ponzu (or you could use soy sauce and a squeeze of lemon) and 1/2 tsp sesame seed oil to the minced shrimp filling for additional flavor.  Tasty!

These won tons can also be fried.  Heat oil in a large pot to 375 degrees.  You are deep frying these so you will need at least 2 inches in depth of oil in the pot.  Cook in batches of 6-8 won tons.  Fry to golden brown and remove to a paper towel lined pan to drain off excess oil.  Serve with a sweet and sour sauce or ketchup.


Won Tons


    Pork & Shrimp Filling
  • 3/4 lb ground pork
  • 1/4 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined and roughly diced
  • 4-6 fresh water chestnuts, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3-4 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 2 stalks of green onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 T oyster sauce
  • 1 T rice wine or sherry
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil (optional)
  • 1 T cilantro leaves, finely chopped (optional)
  • For wrapping
  • 1 egg slightly beaten with 1 T water
  • 1-2 packs of medium won ton skins (wrappers) I use Hong Kong Noodle Company


  • Start with coarsely ground pork, place shrimp and seasonings on top of pork that has been placed on a cutting board. Using a cleaver or large knife combine the ingredients by chopping and folding the ingredients together. Do not over chop ingredients. Transfer to a bowl.
  • To wrap won tons:
  • Gather bowl of egg wash, wrappers and filling and place on table in front of you.
  • Take a few wrappers out at a time, cover remaining won ton skis with a damp cloth of keep in original plastic casing.
  • Holding won ton wrapper in hand, place approximately 3/4 tsp of filling on corner closest to you.
  • fold wrapper over filling and roll towards opposite corner stopping 3/4 of the distance to corner edge.
  • Dip knife into egg wash and place a dab on the left corner, holding the right corner twist and fold towards left corner and press together. See video!
  • To cook:
  • Bring a large pot of water to boil, drop won tons into boiling water, stir to keep from sticking. Cook for approximately 2 minutes. Won tons will float to the top when done. Serve with soy dipping sauce or in soup.
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Watch Mom fold wontons!

Thanks for reading, comments welcomed!