When it’s cold and dark outside and my hands and feet turn into deadly ice blocks, I look forward to nothing more than a comforting bowl of wonton soup. It’s like a grandmother’s hug. Warm, soothing and always pleasant. With every sip of hearty broth and every mouthful of meaty parcel, a hungry stomach will bounce in sheer delight.
I just love it when the entire house is permeated with the uplifting aroma of ginger, garlic and chicken stock. One that’s been on a slow simmer all afternoon. A sure sign dinner will be a tasty one. And damn right it’s tasty.
Wontons can be easily dressed up or down. They can be made with just pork mince, salt and sesame oil. Or when one is feeling fancy pants, predominantly prawns or like mine, full of various tasty bits. If you’re very naughty, you can even deep fry them, served with thai sweet chilli sauce.
Prep time: 2 hours + 30 minutes
35 wonton wrappers
300g of fatty mince pork
5-8 medium prawns, shelled and cut into ~1cm pieces
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
5-6 water chestnuts, finely chopped*
a small bundle of chives, finely chopped
2-3 dried shiitake, soaked and sliced thinly*
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp white pepper
a dash of Chinese five spice
salt to taste
whole chicken carcass or a combination of chicken wings, neck and feet
pork bones, optional
enough water to cover
2 small-medium cloves of garlic
1.5″ chunk ginger
egg noodles, glass noodles or rice noodles, optional
handful of fresh beansprouts
1 bok choy
1-2 tbs spring onion, finely chopped
1 tbs deep fried shallots
dash of white pepper
dash of light soy sauce
pinch of salt
1. BROTH. Prepare your broth a few hours ahead. Place chicken carcass, 1-2 garlic cloves and a chunk of ginger in a pot with enough water to cover. You can even add one shiitake mushroom or a few dried scallops. Bring to boil and allow to simmer for at least 2-3 hours. The longer the better. Season with salt and white pepper.
2. WONTONS. Place all wonton ingredients (except wonton wrappers) into a large mixing bowl. Massage all the ingredients together for a good minute until everything comes together nicely.
3. This is the painful bit. Separate as many wonton wrappers as you can at a time onto a clean surface. Dollop a heaped teaspoon of wonton mixture onto the centre of every wrapper. Wet the edges of the wrappers with some water with a brush or your fingers. Fold wonton over to enclose filling and form a triangle. Press edges together firmly to avoid air pockets or your wontons may rupture during boiling. There are many ways to fold wontons. This to me has worked out to be the easiest.
4. Bring a large pot of water to boil. I mean, really boil. Place a handful of wontons in at a time. You may have to split them into a few batches if your water isn’t bubbling hot. Boil for 3-5 minutes until they wontons float on the surface for roughly a minute. Remove with a slotted spoon. When done, toss all the leafy greens in for a few seconds.
5. SERVE In a large noodle bowl or however many portions you’re preparing, add a few ladleful of stock with a dash of light soy sauce, a few drops of sesame oil and a good dash of white pepper. When wontons are ready, immediately place your desired portion of wontons into each noodle bowl. Followed by leafy greens. Top with fried shallots, chopped up spring onion and coriander and a handful of fresh bean sprouts.