With winter on its way, are you looking for rainy (or snowy) day boredom busters to keep your kids entertained? How about a fun food activity that is not only educational and an opportunity to develop your children's creative skills, but also delicious and something whimsical you can serve at dinner? Making edible origami with wonton wrappers is a kid-friendly project that will teach your family about the art of origami as well as give you the "coolest" garnish on the block.
What is origami?
Origami is the ancient Japanese art of folding paper into intricate designs and animal shapes. Though originating in Japan, origami has now become an international art and pastime. Instructional books and a beautiful variety of origami papers are available at many book and craft stores, and step-by-step picture instructions are widely available on the Internet.
Best yet, you don't need to use special artisan papers to practice this ancient art form. Plain white paper, dollar bills or even newspaper and magazine pages can be transformed into still life shapes and figures. Perhaps one of the most inventive ways to do origami, however, is with wonton wrappers.
Wonton wrapper origami
The following instructions are adapted from The Hungry Scientist Handbook
by Patrick Buckley and Lily Binns.
Wonton wrappers are strong and flexible, making them ideal for folding into origami designs. Buckley and Binns recommend that you practice your craft on paper first, then try your hand with wonton wrappers. Once you have your wonton origami complete, microwave or deep fry it and use the shapes as interesting croutons for soups and salads, intriguing garnish for entrees or as fun-to-eat snacks.
For foolproof folding:
Don't over-fold your wrappers - they can break and you may not be able to re-glue them with water. Because they easily dry out and get brittle, keep your wonton wrappers sealed in a plastic bag or covered with a damp cloth until you are ready to use them.
1 package thin, square wonton wrappers
Vegetable oil for frying
Deep-fry or candy thermometer
1. Get an origami book from your local bookstore and pick one or two designs for you and your kids to practice. You can also pick up The Hungry Scientist Handbook
for instructions on making an origami crane (the book has a number of other fun food projects you can do on your own or with you kids).
2. Search the Internet for origami shapes and step-by-step instructions (see below).
3. Create your own folded shapes with wonton wrappers.
Microwave instructions for finished wonton origami
Place origami on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on HIGH until the surface of the origami bubbles. Buckley and Binns warn that microwaved origami are rather bland and taste like a dried out flour tortilla - but their pale white color contrasts well with colorful salad greens.
Deep-frying instructions for finished wonton origami
Pour an inch of vegetable oil into a high-sided heavy-bottomed pot and place it over medium-high heat. When the oil reaches 375 degrees F. (use your deep-fry or candy thermometer), gently grab one origami at a time with tongs and lower slowly into the oil. Deep fry briefly on each side until it turns golden brown on the edges. Remove from oil and let cool on a plate lined with paper towels. Store cooled origami in an airtight container.
Since this activity requires microwaving or deep-frying, please supervise your kids so they don't end up getting badly burned. They can make the origami and you can do the cooking. No need to turn your afternoon boredom buster into a trip to the hospital!
Edible origami at Origami-Resource-Center.com
Instruction for crane croutons at EvilMadScientist.com
Picture diagrams of origami at Origami.as
(click Instructions, located at the top)