Make a version of P.F. Chang’s flaming wontons at home

Flaming Pork WonTons. (Jessica J. Trevino/Detroit Free Press/TNS)

By Susan Selasky / Detroit Free Press

Recreating restaurant dishes at home isn’t always an easy task. But there are some dishes you like so much you have to attempt them.

That was the case when I met friends for lunch at P.F. Chang’s, which had a special Chinese New Year menu featuring eight lucky dishes. (Chinese New Year begins this year on February 8.)

We opted to try the appetizer Flaming Pork Wontons. It is described as “pork wontons in a spicy garlic and sesame soy sauce finished with scallions.”

We were not disappointed. In fact, my friend Debbie liked them so much that she thought we could share another order. Another part of the dish description included how these fit in with Chinese New Year. “Shaped like gold and silver coins from ancient China, dumplings symbolize prosperity as they are stuffed and folded, sealing in wealth.”

Yes, there was good fortune in those dumplings. The sauce is terrific; it was spicy but not burn-your-mouth spicy. Given that it’s a soy sauce-based sauce it’s not too salty either. With a hint of sweetness, all is balanced out. The soy-based sauce is dynamite and one of the best parts of the recipe. The filling was simple, but very flavorful.

I wanted to give these a go in the kitchen. They make a great appetizer to serve for any gathering.

I began the building blocks of ingredients that were probably in the sauce using Sambal Oelek, a chili paste, for the spiciness. Sambal Oelek is hot and a little goes a long way, so add this according to your taste. And, of course, there is soy sauce. But use a low- or reduced-sodium one, because you don’t want it to be too salty. A vinegar gives the sauce a little tang and sugar brings all the ingredients into the right balance. The sauce should have a good spicy bite to it, but with a hint of sweetness that cools it off.

A Google search kept turning up the same recipe, which had a mix of ground pork and minced shrimp for the filling. Because the P.F. Chang’s menu didn’t list shrimp, I skipped it. But I am sure it wouldn’t hurt to add it. What works with this recipe is that the filling isn’t plain ground pork, it’s seasoned with ginger and sesame oil along with minced carrots and green onions and a hint of minced fresh ginger.

The only bit of a challenge is shaping the wontons. Once you make a few, you will develop your own method and technique for shaping them.


(Like P.F. Chang’s)

Makes: 36 (four servings)

Preparation time: 40 minutes

Total time: one hour


1/2 pound ground pork

2 tbsp minced carrots

2 tbsp minced green onions

1 tsp fresh minced ginger

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1/2 tsp sesame oil

36 wonton skins


1 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce (at least 50 percent less)

2 tbsp rice vinegar or white vinegar

1 tbsp chili oil

1 tsp chili paste (Sambal Oelek) or more to taste

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp minced garlic

Sesame oil to taste

For cooking:

1 to 2 tbsp of canola oil

1 cup chicken broth, divided


Sliced green onions

Chopped cilantro


In a medium bowl, combine the pork, carrots, onions, ginger, oyster sauce and sesame oil. Make sure the mixture is smooth. (If you don’t have ground pork, process 1/2 pound piece of pork tenderloin in a food processor until it’s in very small pieces.)

Have ready a small bowl of water and a brush. Working with six wontons at a time, set out the squares on a work surface. Place a scant 1 teaspoon of the pork mixture just slightly above center in the wonton. Moisten all the corners. Fold over in a triangle, sealing the edges. Grab the two corners at the long edge and bottom and turn them toward the center to meet. Pinch together.

In a small saucepan, combine all the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, keep warm, taste and adjust seasonings to your level of spiciness. In a large nonstick skillet, heat a small amount of vegetable oil over medium heat. Working in batches, add half of the wontons and cook until the bottoms are slightly browned. Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth, cover with a lid and cook for eight minutes. Remove to a platter, cover to keep them warm. Repeat with remaining wontons.

Using a shallow bowl or serving plate, pool desired amount of sauce on the bottom and place the wontons in the sauce. Garnish with green onions, cilantro and, if desired, a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

Adapted from several recipes.

Tested by Susan Selasky for the Detroit Free Press Test Kitchen. Analysis per one wonton.


***Nutrition fact: 47 calories (22 percent from fat), 1 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 6 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 313 mg sodium, 5 mg cholesterol, 0 g fiber.


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