*The below is from GLN student Sean Wilson, who took Mandarin this fall from GLN teacher Xing Gao
We were brainstorming about what we should do as our class project, and being a Chinese class, we all wanted to make some delicious Chinese food.
I think it was fellow GLN student Madison who suggested we make wontons, since we could use a rice cooker (In chinese, rice cooker is “電鍋”, or “dian guo”, literally meaning “electric pot”) to boil them.
Fun fact – besides being used to steam rice, rice cookers can be used to make 100 other things!
Ben, another GLN student, knew how to make dumplings, and volunteered to show us all how to make the dumpling “skin” from scratch. The filling of wontons and dumplings can be the same (usually some meat, egg, and finely chopped mixed vegetables), but the “skin” of a dumpling is much thicker, and much stickier before cooking, than that of a wonton.
Our teacher, Xing, volunteered to bring in several ingredients. The students all volunteered to bring things in as well.
For the filling, we mixed the meat, eggs, and finely chopped mixed vegetables together that everyone had brought.
Then we placed scoops of filling on the center of the wonton skin.
Since Madison knew how to fold the wontons properly, he showed us all how – dip your finger in water, run it along the edge of the skin, and fold in half – wetting the edges sealed them up tight, as if by magic.
After learning how to fold them, Elliott, Lyli-ann, and Kate folded wontons like there was no tomorrow.
When the wontons were all folded up, we threw them (along with the dumplings, with the skin hand-rolled by Ben ) into the boiling water in my rice cooker.
Precious and Rachael volunteered to brave the cold and go pick up something for us to drink.
Finally, we made dipping sauce from soy sauce and vinegar, dipped the freshly cooked meat packages in, and enjoyed ourselves.
Everything came together like clockwork, since everyone in the class pitched in to help!
The best part (besides the food!) is that since our class is in a GWU classroom on the weekend, tour guides were bringing parents of prospective students past our classroom all day – There must have been 50+ people who gazed at our food through the door window — all stopping to stare and drool!
While we all contributed, it took the class as a whole to pull the whole thing off — So, what I will remember most about the experience is how we all came together and Macgyvered our way to a delicious feast!