Crispy wonton wrappers add cheerful crunch to an asian salad, but shouldn’t they be… more interesting? Presented here is the ideal upgrade. No more must you clutter your salad with amorphous crispies or chow mein noodles to obtain the requisite crunch: Crane Croutons will be your piece de resistance.
Wonton dough is strong, flexible, and comes in a nearly square form. If it is not square enough for your taste (you perfectionist, you!) it can be easily edited to the correct shape with a pizza cutter. We do not suggest using chinese style spring roll/egg roll wrappers. They are somewhat foamy and do not hold their shape well, which makes them difficult to work with.
After we got excited about this idea, we checked to see if it had been done before. (Yes, we know that most good ideas are rediscoveries.) The Paper Discovery Center mentions an origami artist who has used wonton dough, but we can’t find substantial documentation of it anywhere.
We recommend making a crane with paper before you try with wonton wrappers. There are many sets of origami instructions out there. A couple of acceptable ones for cranes are here and here. If you’ve made cranes before, you can probably follow along here just fine.
A couple of things to keep in mind as you are folding:
If you fold paper back and forth enough times, it will break; the same is true for wonton wrappers, only more so. You can do a little bit of regluing with water, but don’t rely too much on that.
Absolutely square is ideal for origami paper, but since wonton wrappers are a little bit stretchy, you can usually make them do your bidding even if they aren’t quite perfect.
While you are folding, keep the rest of the wrappers sealed in a plastic bag or covered with a damp cloth. As they dry out they become brittle, which is not helpful.
Here is a supply of origami paper/wonton wrappers/embryonic crane croutons. We get them at a local asian market.