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Pan-Fried Beggar's Purses

I love this starter course. It has lots of flavor, interesting textures and is loaded with protein so it satisfies your guests. For a special occasion or a simple, light meal, these can't be beat.

Extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 red onion, small dice
Organic soy sauce
Generous pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 small leek, split lengthwise, rinsed well, small dice
Mirin or white wine
8 ounces extra firm tofu, coarsely crumbled
10-12 eggless won ton wrappers
10-12 scallions, split lengthwise, ends trimmed, blanched for 30 seconds
4-5 chives, cut into 4-inch lengths, for garnish

Place a small amount of oil, garlic and onion in a skillet over medium heat. When the onion begins to sizzle, sprinkle with soy sauce and red pepper flakes and sautee for 2-3 minutes. Stir in leek, sprinkle with soy sauce and saute´┐Ż for 2 minutes. Sprinkle generously with mirin or wine and stir in crumbled tofu. Season to taste with soy sauce and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Lay a won ton wrapper on a dry work surface and spoon about 2 tablespoons of filling onto the center. Roll, jelly-roll style and lay on seam side. Using steamed scallions, tie each end of the wrapper, creating an oblong "package." Set aside and repeat with remaining won ton wrappers and filling.

Place enough oil to lightly cover the bottom in a skillet over medium-high heat. Lay beggar's purses in hot oil and cook, turning as they brown, to brown evenly. It is best to fry in batches, because if the packages are arranged too tightly in the pan, you will not be able to turn them without breaking. When the beggar's purses are properly browned, drain them on paper, arrange on a platter and serve hot.

Makes 5-6 servings.

Note: you may serve these on their own or with a spicy dipping sauce of your choice. 


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