When you want turkey but don’t want to roast a whole bird, make these ground turkey wonton in mapo turkey sauce and satisfy that turkey craving, because turkey!
It’s almost Thanksgiving and that means…TURKEY! I love a good classic roast turkey, especially spatchcocked or sheet-panned, but I also love turkey as turkey. Seriously, these turkey wontons are one of the best things you can do with ground turkey.
Turkey is one one of those proteins people don’t use much of but when I see it at the store, it calls to me. Our grocery store sells ground turkey thighs on the regular and the other day we picked up a package with the express intention to make these turkey wontons in turkey mapo sauce.
These turkey wontons are the best thing for ground turkey ever.
Wonton are awesome because they are incredibly versatile little dumplings. You can put almost anything you want in those delicious slippery skins (I always go with store bought wonton skins for ease) and this time around I just used my usual wonton recipe, swapping out the pork for turkey. Green onions, ginger, soy, Shaoxing wine, and sesame oil give the filling some extra flavor.
And to boost the flavor even more I made mapo sauce: simply the meaty, spicy saucy part of mapo minus the tofu, minus the pork too, and with even more ground turkey. The result was tender little wontons in a ultra red turkey sauce that hugged the wontons in deliciousness.
What are turkey wontons?
Turkey wontons are the same wonton you know and love – a little meat filled dumpling wrapped in wonton skin – but made with turkey. I love playing around with different fillings in wonton and turkey (especially ground thighs) is perfect because it’s juicy and just a bit different from your regular pork and shrimp filling. Plus, I love making turkey things around Thanksgiving because, turkey!
Turkey wonton ingredients
We’re going with some pretty standard wonton ingredients, but with turkey: ground turkey (I prefer thighs), scallions, ginger, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, toasted sesame oil, cornstarch, and white pepper.
- Shaoxing wine: This is what will add extra oomph and flavor to your wontons. It adds a lightly sweet, nutty, earthy, and complex flavor. It’s worth it to get a bottle if you make a lot of Chinese food, read more about Shaoxing wine here.
- Toasted sesame oil: Use this on EVERYTHING to add instant flavor. It’s toasty, nutty, and so good. Don’t sleep on this. We love Kadoya, which comes in that iconic yellow topped bottle.
- White pepper: One of those things that if you don’t have it, don’t sweat it, but it’s used a lot in Chinese cooking to add a brighter and sharper peppery flavor with earthy, floral heat.
How to make turkey wontons
- Mix up the filling. The key to a good wonton filling is a little bit of cornstarch to bind everything together so you get a tender juicy wonton. Mix all the filling ingredients together until they form a paste. It might look a little on the loose/wet side, this is what you want!
- Shape the wonton. You can do this any way you want: fancy or easy. The easiest way is to just put some filling in the middle of the wrapper and pull all the edges up and gently squish into a pouch shape. Otherwise, you can put some filling in the middle, fold the wrapper in half, then bring the opposite bottom edges together, wet, and pinch to seal.
- Cook. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and when it’s rapidly bubbling, gently add the wonton, stirring to stop them from sticking to the bottom. The wonton will sink down at first and then start to float as when they’re cooked through. Take one and cut it open to make sure, then scoop them all out.
How to freeze wonton
To freeze, just lay out the wonton in a single layer on a plate or tray, not touching, and freeze until firm. Then gather them up and put them in a freezer safe bag or container. Cook from frozen, adding a couple of extra minutes on the cooking time.
What is mapo sauce?
Mapo sauce is the spicy red, pork-y, garlicky, super umami forward sauce that’s served with mapo tofu. It’s delicious with tofu but we like it so much that we eat it with EVERYTHING: wonton (duh), pasta, nachos, you name it, we’ve mapo-ed it. Read more about mapo and mapo tofu here!
Is this dish spicy?
The mapo sauce has a hint of spice, but I wouldn’t say they are burn your face off spicy. The heat comes from the doubanjiang, which you can adjust as needed. If you need these to be spicier, sprinkle on some extra ground Sichuan peppercorns. The wontons themselves aren’t spicy at all.
What if I can’t handle spice?
Why you should make mapo turkey wontons
- you love turkey all the time, any time
- you want to feel the spice!
- wontons are life
- you wanna celebrate thanksgiving every day because you are thankful for good food
If you’re looking to make turkey for Thanksgiving but aren’t looking to go all out and make a whole turkey dinner or if you just love turkey as a meat, this is the recipe for you.
The spice must flow!
In a bowl, mix together the turkey, ginger, green onions, soy, Shaoxing, sesame oil, cornstarch, salt, and white pepper.
Take a wonton wrapper and place 2 teaspoons of the meat filling in the middle. Dip your finger into water and lightly wet the edges of the wrapper. Fold in half and pinch to seal. Bring the opposite bottom edges together, wet, and pinch to seal. Alternatively, just wet the edges of the wrapper and bring together and pinch into a small pouch. Keep the wrappers and finished wonton covered with saran wrap as you work, to keep them from drying out.
Bring a large pot of water to boil over medium high heat and start on the mapo sauce. In a pot, heat up the oil over medium heat. Add the turkey and cook, breaking up, until the turkey is cooked through. Turn down the heat and add the doubanjiang and cook, stirring, until the oils release from the doubanjiang and everything looks bright red.
Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock and soy sauce and bring the heat up so everything comes up to a simmer. Stir in the cornstarch slurry and bring up to a gentle simmer, until the sauce is thick and glossy, about 1 minute. Set aside.
When the water for the wontons is at a rapid boil, add in your wonton. Stir gently so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Cook for 3-5 minutes (depending on size) or until cooked through – cut one open to check.
Drain well and toss in the mapo sauce. Enjoy with extra cilantro, green onions, and toasted sesame seeds if desired.