Wontons are like little wrapped-up presents—a meaty center strategically folded inside a wonton wrapper waiting to be dipped in soy sauce and then tossed in your mouth.
Traditionally, a wonton might have chicken, pork, shrimp or vegetables in its center. But why just leave it at four stuffing contents? Manhasset resident Kristine Marrale thought the same thing and decided to do something about it.
It all started with the original wonton, the traditional Asian crispy chicken, a passed-down recipe which Marrale would fold with her mother and grandmother. Today, Marrale folds those same wontons with her children.
“My kids don’t help with official orders, they help me fold wontons for personal meals and they love it,” she said. “In this day and age, rushing around, having family time and folding the wontons together, we talk about things.”
While Marrale was home one weekend, she wondered what it would be like to put some of the other food her three kids love into the wonton wrapper.
“I went to the supermarket and bought everything to make the recipes,” said Marrale, who made hundreds of wontons then taste tested them. “I thought they were good and I just took the jump and went for it.”
And so Wonton Palooza, a wonton catering company, was born.
Tapping into the Italian dishes she learned to cook from her ex-mother-in-law, Marrale started with the chicken Parmesan wonton and then the eggplant Parmesan and sausage and pepper wontons followed. The menu has expanded to include breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert wontons, all baked as a healthier alternative to fried.
A breakfast wonton bar can include ham, egg and cheese wontons, French toast wontons or smoked salmon and cream cheese wontons. With more than 15 different types of wontons to choose from for a lunch or dinner bar, one can create themed bars from pizza, with options like triple cheese, veggie and pepperoni pizza wontons, to kids favorites, with mac and cheese, pigs in a blanket and cheese slider wontons. Some of the most popular wontons: the Buffalo chicken wontons, which are filled with shredded chicken and Buffalo sauce, add a nice spice; the Spanikopita, which offers a healthy taste of Greece; and the Mexican Ole, which tastes like a taco in wonton form. Adorning the dessert wonton menu are flavors like very jelly donut, lemon crumb, chocolate chip cookie, cherry cheesecake and chocolate chip cannoli filled with a creamy ricotta filling.
“I just enjoy cooking,” Marrale said. “I’ve always done it and entertained and people have always loved eating my food. When you have three kids and they want all different things and come from a blended family, you have to put a good meal on the table.”
While Marrale sometimes uses her wontons with a signature fold as on-the-go meals and snacks for her kids (which many others are looking to do, including a few who asked Marrale to prepare some frozen boxes of wontons to heat up when needed), Wonton Palooza is a catering company that offers anything from basic delivery of the freshly-made wontons to full service at a gathering or party.
“I love doing it and it came naturally,” said Marrale of making the wontons. “When you have a passion, nothing is ever too much work. I’m constantly always on, thinking of new ideas, doing social media and marketing and contacting customers for follow ups.”
Wonton Palooza, which delivers to the tristate area, is based in a commercial kitchen in Port Washington. Half trays of 50 serve six to eight people and cost $40; full trays of 100 wontons serve 10 to 12 people and cost $70. To do a combo half tray with two flavors, it’s $50, and for combo trio full trays, it costs $90.
For more information or to order, visit wontonpalooza.com or call 833-496-6866. Follow @WontonPalooza on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.