Pinsec Frito

Looking for the ultimate appetizer? Try Pinsec Frito! These crispy Asian dumplings are filled with a tasty meat filling and fried to perfection. Served them with sweet and sour sauce for a sure crowd-pleaser!

Pinsec Frito are a type of dumpling wherein wonton wrappers are filled with ground meat or seafood filling and deep-fried until golden and crisp. They are commonly served as an appetizer or snack with a sweet and sour dipping sauce.

Like its close relatives, lumpiang shanghai and siomai, the filling can be made according to preference, and possible additions include carrots, water chestnuts, green onions, and mushrooms.

For my version, I like adding minced Chinese sausage to the usual pork and shrimp mixture for a taste of sweetness and salty. I also use kinchay and garlic for aroma and flavor. The dumplings come out so crisp and tasty; they’re gone before I can say READY!

Ingredient notes

  • Ground pork– usually from pork shoulder or also known as Boston butt. Choose one with a good percentage of fat for juiciness and flavor. You can use minced beef or chicken for variety.
  • Shrimp– use the freshest available for the best flavor; if using frozen, thaw completely as the excess liquid might water down the filling. Coarsely chop the shrimp or as finely as you want. Use a knife or a food processor for convenience. You can also substitute crab meat.
  • Chinese sausage– dry pork sausage with a sweet and salty taste; also called Chinese Chorizo, Chorizo de Macau, or Longaniza Macau. Mince with a knife or pulse in a food processor.
  • Egg– acts as a binder for the ingredients.
  • Kinchay– adds color, aroma, and flavor, also known as Chinese parsley. You can also use chopped scallions or garlic chives.
  • Garlic and ginger– add aroma and flavor.
  • Soy sauce– adds a salty and umami taste
  • Salt and pepper– enhances flavor and adds zing
  • Sugar– balances the savory flavors with a touch of sweetness
  • Wonton wrappers – are thin sheets of dough made from flour, egg, and water and cut into small squares (around 3 x 3 inches); they are also called wonton skins or molo wrappers.
  • Oil– use a neutral-tasting, heat-stable oil suitable for deep frying, such as peanut, grapeseed, avocado, canola, or vegetable.

The meat filling

  • Mix the filling with your hands until it’s slightly tacky. This is to release myosin from the meat, which will keep the filling from falling apart during cooking. However, do not overmix to the point where the mixture is too homogenous, as it can toughen the texture.
  • Do not overstuff the wrappers to prevent them from bursting during frying. Make sure the filling is not too wet to cause tears on the wrapper.
  • These fried wontons are traditionally folded in simple triangle shapes, but you can use any dumpling fold technique you like.

Frying techniques

  • Use enough oil to allow space for the wontons to brown and cook evenly.
  • Watch your temperatures! Heat and maintain the oil to the optimal 350 F to 375 F for the best results. Too hot, and the wrapper will brown before the filling is sufficiently cooked. Too low, and the fried wontons will absorb a lot more grease.
  • Do not overcrowd the pan and fry in batches as needed to prevent the temperature from plummeting. Heat the oil back to 350 F and skim any stray food pieces in the oil before adding the next round.
  • Drain the fried wontons on a wire rack set over a baking sheet to catch oil drips. Do not drain on paper towels, as the escaping steam can make the wrappers soggy.

Serving suggestions

Pinsec frito are delicious as an appetizer or main dish with your choice of condiment for dipping, such as sweet and sour sauce, banana ketchup, or plum sauce.

Storage instructions

As with most fried foods, these crispy dumplings are best enjoyed freshly cooked as the wrappers get soggy over time. I suggest storing them uncooked. You can freeze just the filling or the wontons already assembled.

  • Filling– transfer to a resealable bag, letting most of the air out before sealing. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months. If you don’t want to wrap any leftover filling, form it into patties and pan-fry until golden brown and cooked.
  • Assembled wontons– arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze for about 20 to 30 minutes or until firm. When frozen, transfer to resealable bags and freeze for about 2 months. This method will keep the dumplings from sticking together.

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