Ji Cai Wonton (Shanghainese Shepherd’s Purse Wontons)

There’s no food that screams ‘home’ quite like ji cai wontons. It could be that nobody else’s wontons taste like mom and dad’s. It could also be because we spent many-a-weekend folding dozens and dozens of these wontons to stash in our freezer. It may also be because in every place I’ve lived, my dad has made sure I have had jicai wontons in the fridge for when I’m too tired to cook.

If you’re not familiar with ji cai (shepherd’s purse), it’s a savory, leafy green that’s part of the mustard family and a key part of shanghainese wontons. because it’s quite hard to find it fresh in the states, we usually buy it in a frozen block from the chinese supermarket. since jicai itself is quite flavorful, the seasonings required are quite minimal! homemade jicai wontons are one of our freezer staples. and while I’ve tried a few restaurant and storebought ones, they just never quite the same. plus, when you make them yourself, you can make sure every kiddo is a big boy 🙂

I used:

  • 1 pack of medium-thick wonton wrappers
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb shepherds purse
  • 1 egg
  • 1.5 tbsp shaoxing wine
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil, or alt neutral oil
  • 2 tsp soy sauce 
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • to dip: zhenjiang black vinegar

To make:

  • take shepherds purse from freezer and let the package defrost in a bowl of water for about 1-2 hours
  • cut up the shepherds purse finely (it’s a little easier to cut if not fully thawed IMO), disgarding any thick butts that you discover
  • squeeze out as much water from the sherpherds purse as possible
  • add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well until the ground pork has a sticky-like together
  • once well-combined, microwave a dollop of filling in the microwave for about ~30-40 seconds until it’s fully cooked, sample, and adjust filling to taste (it should be on the slightly saltier side to balance out the wrapper)
  • fold wontons and either cook immediately or freeze for future you
  • to freeze: place the wontons flat on a tray/plate and let them freeze for 1-2 hours. Remove from plate and store in a plastic bag for future eats
  • to cook: bring a pot of water to a boil and add in wontons and bring to a boil. Add half a cup of cold water and bring to a second boil. Remove wontons, giving them a rinse under cold water, and serve with black vinegar