Wontons (Wantans or Wuntuns) are a quintessential type of Chinese dumpling available in different forms like steamed, deep-fried, or combined with wonton soup. They usually contain meat, pork, shrimp, poultry, or vegetables like Chinese cabbage and spinach. The filling gets covered in a thin layer of a sheet made with wheat flour, wheat glute water, and corn or potato starch wraps. Being an all-coveted Asian Dish with a splendid choice of flavours, it is a favourable option if you want to fill a hungry stomach with healthy ingredients. The sumptuous dish is best as an appetiser and is quite nutritious.
Wontons: History at A Glance
Wontons are one of the varied and delicious foods belonging to Chinese cuisine. The dish is said to have originated hundreds of years back as one of the primary food items for the nobles and upper-class families in the Tang Dynasty. But after World War II, it became popular among all markets and stalls. As a result, different types of Wontons with varied flavours are available now to enjoy at your dinner with family or at celebrations with your friends.
Wontons: Nutrition Facts
A single serving of fried wonton with meat, poultry, seafood, and vegetables have:
- Calories: 36
- Fat: 2.1g
- Sodium: 88.7mg
- Carbohydrates: 2.7g
- Sugars: 0.5g
- Protein: 1.7g
These levels can vary when wontons are served with any sauce, adding the count of calories, fat, sugar, and sodium.
The nutritional information for steamed wonton with the same fillings differs from the fried ones, which includes
- Calories: 24
- Fat: 0.9g
- Sodium: 77.3 mg
- Carbohydrates: 2.3g
- Fibre: 0.2g
- Sugar: 0.4g
- Proteins: 1.4g
The nutritional profile of the wonton wrapper, which weighs around 8 g and is square, is as follows.
- Calories: 23
- Fat: 0.1g
- Sodium: 45.8mg
- Carbohydrate: 4.6g
- Fibre: 0.14g
- Protein: 0.8g
Rich in Protein
The fillings like tofu, meat, pork and shrimp in the wonton have a high concentration of protein, which helps you increase the source’s intake. In addition, chicken broth is a major ingredient in wonton soup, improving the protein content.
Rich in Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are the vital macronutrient that provide energy to your body. Each wonton comprises 2-3 grams of carbohydrates, depending on its wrapper skin and cooking method. The high level of carbs makes this dish delicious and a healthy and filling option that will keep you energised and ready to do various routine activities.
Rich in Vitamins and Minerals
The presence of vitamins and minerals in the dish aids in regulating the body’s normal functioning, including tissue repair, clotting of blood, nerve function, bone development, skin and hair, and healthy cell growth and development. Moreover, wontons and the soup contains vital vitamins – Vitamin A and B12 that plays a critical role in DNA synthesis.
It also has Vitamin K, B6, Thiamin, Pantothenic Acid, and Riboflavin. Experts also said Wonton soup enhances a person’s immunity, increasing their resistance to disease or pathogens with the presence of Vitamin C.
High in Fibre
Wonton soup benefits cardiovascular health because of its high fibre level, low-fat content, and less to no cholesterol (depending on the filling used).
The HealthifyMe Note
The health benefits of wontons are ambiguous. Depending on the ingredients, the benefits vary. Even when considered in the nutritional aspect, Fried or steamed wontons have no standard health benefits. However, due to the presence of some ingredients, this authentic Chinese dish provides energy for the effective functioning of the human body.
Health Benefits of Wontons
Even though there are no proven sources, wontons may have the following health benefits.
Enhance your Muscle Mass
As mentioned, wontons contain carbohydrates that prepare you for a better fitness journey, aiding your muscle-building power. Apart from fueling your day with energy, the rich protein content of this food, derived from meat fillings, will also help you gain lean muscle mass and increase your strength.
Promote Cognitive Function
A study found that individual with a high level of Vitamin B6 has increased memory as they age compared with those with less Vitamin b6. Moreover, the protein content in wonton soup will help optimise brain function and improve thinking ability.
Consuming the wontons with the soup and healthy fillings will enhance the rate of your metabolic process, thereby increasing the conversion speed of food into energy. As a result, it will not only support your body in performing internal and external activities but also aids in weight loss.
Helps Prevent Cancer
The Vitamin B6 content in wontons may play a crucial role in cancer prevention. According to a study, a low level of Vitamin B6 may stimulate the chances of certain kinds of cancer, especially a 20% increased rate of developing colon cancer. Even though there is no direct relationship between Vitamin B6 and cancer, research is going on to prove it.
Keeps You Satiated
The high protein and carbohydrate levels of wontons will make you feel fuller for a long time. Hence it is suggested to consume this Chinese dish during breakfast or lunch, which will help you withstand heavy activities throughout the day.
Easy Way to Prepare Homemade Wontons at Home
It is easy to prepare wontons in your home using simple everyday ingredients. You can make tasty Wontons belonging to the Chinese cuisine at your home by following the recipe mentioned below.
- All-purpose flour: 250 grams
- Ginger: 1 tsp
- Carrot: 1 cup
- Mushroom: 1 cup
- Cabbage: 1 cup
- Cheese cubes: ½ cup
- Ajinomoto: ¼ tsp
- Spring onions: 4 nos
- Soy sauce: 2 tsp
- Garlic: 2 tsp
- Green beans: 1 cup
- Mushroom: 1 cup
- Green chilli: 3 nos.
- Refined oil: 1 cup
- Salt: As required
- Water: 1 cup
- Take the flour in a cup, add 3/4th of the water and a pinch of salt, and mix well.
- Keep the mixture aside for 20 to 25 minutes, covered in a damp cloth.
- Knead the dough until it is entirely smooth, and make dough balls.
- Light a pan and add oil, chopped ginger, garlic, carrots, beans, and green chillies.
- Add salt, mushrooms, chopped cabbage, and some cheese.
- Once the filling gets prepared, add one tablespoon of it to each wonton wrapper and join its edges.
- Pour oil into your pan and heat it for deep frying the wontons.
- You can serve the snack after deep frying all the wontons.
Like many other popular cuisines, wontons also have their allergic symptoms that may affect certain people, depending on the ingredients.
- Shrimp: Adding shrimp to wonton is common. However, people who are allergic to shellfish have to make sure to avoid it.
- Pork or Chicken Allergy: Other common allergies might occurs due to chicken or pork-filled wontons.
Depending on their allergy history, some people must avoid wonton. Wheat and shrimp are some of the common ingredients that can trigger allergies. Studies have found that shrimp allergies might cause cross-contamination and leads to symptoms including stomach cramps, hives, vomiting, dizziness, confusion, shortness of breath, and swelling. Moreover, there are possibilities of chicken and pork allergies, which are relatively uncommon.
Potential Adverse Effects
Besides their countless health benefits and fantastic taste, it is always better to be aware of the adverse effects before consuming them. The ingredients in the wonton, including MSG, will cause harmful effects.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Monosodium Glutamate is one of the common food additives used in Asian cuisines as an alternative to sodium. Also, studies show that this additive contributes to some adverse health effects, including headache, fatigue, general weakness, palpitations, burning sensation in the neck, blistering on arms, etc. In addition, it is bad for metabolism and has neurotoxic effects.
To avoid this, you can ask to remove it while ordering from a restaurant or prepare your wontons at home to prevent the addition of MSG.
People diagnosed with gluten sensitivity or irritable bowel syndrome and those following a low FODMAP diet must avoid wontons since the wrappers contain gluten. In addition, sometimes, the sauces (soy sauce or brown sauce) may contain gluten. However, they can opt for wontons made with rice paper, and rice flour, since they won’t stimulate the symptoms.
According to research data provided by the Americal Heart Association, the ideal range of sodium consumed by an individual is 2300 mg. A single fried wonton has around 70 to 80 mg of sodium. Hence, those sensitive to high sodium content must take necessary precautions before consuming them.
Generally, wontons ordered from restaurants or prepackaged ones have a high chance of causing adverse reactions. Besides this, when you eat wontons with sauce, you are adding a level of sodium.
Not all wontons would have the mentioned ingredients. Hence make sure to read the label before moving ahead.
Other Potential Side Effects
- Since the wonton wrappers are high in carbs, they are unsuitable for the ketogenic diet.
- Red meats such as beef and pork have an increased concentration of saturated fat compared to chicken, fish, and vegetables. Hence the wontons with that red meat would raise your blood cholesterol level and eventually leads to severe heart-related conditions.
- Avoid the soup if you experience any skin allergies, vomit, or diarrhoea that might occur due to shrimp or other meat.
- Be sure to pick fresh ingredients to avoid poisonous effects.
- High consumption of the soup with pork fat might lead to cardiovascular problems as it has high-fat content.
The HealthifyMe Note
You must opt for homemade wontons. Also, depending on your preference, you can make gluten-free wraps and put fillings of your choice. When making them at home, pay attention to the wrap, as the thickness plays an important role. You must know that the thin line between a wonton and a dumpling is the thickness of the wrap. However, if you buy the wraps from outside, please check the expiry date and ingredient list.
It is no surprise that wontons are delicious. In addition, they are versatile and can include diverse ingredients. However, it would help if you tracked your daily activities and diet plan to stay healthy. Wontons could be a great addition to a healthy diet since they can improve general health in people, providing at least 8% of the daily requirement of Vitamins and other nutrients. However, you must avoid them if you are allergic to some ingredients to prevent adverse effects and allergies.
When consumed in moderation, steamed wontons or wonton soup can be a healthy addition to your balanced diet. Despite the misconceptions about Chinese dishes, wonton is known far beyond its delectable flavours and for its health-boosting ingredients. Carefully noting the ingredients and balancing the protein, carbs and vegetables can provide you with necessary nutrients and promote your overall well-being. It is also a fun option for your child’s tiffin. For example, instead of cheese, you can replace it with tofu. Similarly, you can opt for lean protein like chicken instead of pork.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What are the wontons made of?
A. Wontons are triangular dumplings with meat or vegetables similar to the versatile food dumplings. The wrapper of wontons contains different ingredients, including wheat flour dough, eggs, and water. However, if you prefer gluten-free, remember it is difficult to find one among the most commercially available options. Nevertheless, you can make delicious wontons by finding a reliable gluten-free recipe. Rice paper is a common ingredient that replaces wheat in a wrap. Rice paper is made from tapioca and rice flour.
Q. What is wonton filling made of?
A. Wontons are best-known as the famous Chinese traditional dish, which is usually filled with minced pork and onions and made into triangular pockets. People prefer to use it as an appetiser, blending delicate chicken broth with chives.
Mushrooms, tofu, or a combination of chopped mixed vegetables are the key ingredients of vegetarian wontons. However, you can add Chinese cabbage, lettuce, fennel leaves, daikon, spinach, cheese, or squash to get wontons with exquisite flavours, taking inspiration from different cuisines.
Q. What is the difference between wontons and dumplings?
A. When it comes to wontons and dumplings, people tend to think they are the same. Even though it is partially true, some important things could differentiate these dishes. Wontons are a dumpling with some fillings, either meat or veggies, by stuffing and moulding them into the desired shape. Dumplings are dishes with different shapes, sizes, and flavours depicting distinct Asian cuisines.
Q. Do wontons have meat?
A. Yes, traditional wonton fillings are traditionally made with pork, which is either boiled or fried. Moreover, different wontons have ground meat, including chicken, turkey, beef, and seafood such as crab or shrimp.
Q. Is fried wonton the same as crab Rangoon?
A. Even though they are almost similar, fried wontons and Crab Rangoons are two different dishes. Fried wontons are classical Chinese food made with boiled meat or other preferred fillings stuffed with cream cheese and covered using fried wonton wrappers. However, Rangoons are a popular dish in Southern Asian countries with deep-fried dumplings that use crab or cream cheese as fillings.
Q. Do you put raw meat in dumplings?
A. Generally, using raw meat directly in dumplings is not a healthy option. But technically, Asian or Chinese dumplings are made with raw meat. It is because when the fillings are in a wet texture rather than sticky, they might stray away from the wrapper during the steaming or frying process.
To cook the fillings thoroughly, you should use a considerate amount of meat in the dumplings. Eating uncooked or undercooked dumplings may result in food-borne diseases with symptoms including abdominal pain, fever, diarrhoea, and headaches.
Q. Are wontons healthy?
A. fried or steamed wontons don’t have any proven health benefits. However, this traditional dish is known as the best option for people who prefer to consume food with low energy, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and rich fibre content.
Depending on the fillings added, whether it’s meat, poultry, or seafood, wontons could benefit you as the source of protein that plays a significant role in building and maintaining muscle mass.
Q. What is wonton broth made of?
A. The standard Chinese wontons are served in a clear and seasonal chicken broth. Since it contains protein sources, it aids in enhancing energy levels, metabolic rate, and overall health in general.
Q. What is the difference between wontons and potstickers?
A. Wontons and Potstickers are the types of dumplings that belong to Asian cuisine. Even though potstickers contain various unique fillings, including meat and vegetables, they differ in their origin, the thickness of the dough, and the cooking method. Potstickers have a thin wrapper. It is to get the crispy golden bottom layer when fried, making the filling taste juicier and splendid.
Q. Is wonton and momos the same?
A. Wontons and momos are not the same and can be easily differentiated from each other with their appearance and taste. Wontons are special dumplings stuffed with meat, seafood, or vegetables and fried or boiled with ginger and garlic, making them impeccably flavoured. They usually come submerged in a clear bone broth.
Momos originated from Tibet, but it is not an ideal option for dinner like Wontons. Momos are steamed food items that contain veggies or meat of your choice and that use wheat flour as the wrap. They get served with a dipping sauce and a side of a clear soup containing bone broth and herbs. The texture and the taste are quite different. They all belong to the family of dumplings.