Smell My Olive Pits

A blog dedicated to my love affair with all things food

Cantonese wontons May 24, 2009

Filed under: Chinese — smop @ 2:20 pm

Mum is the wonton / dumpling lover in the family.  She loves making them just as much as she loves eating them.  Often, she’ll make a large batch that goes in the freezer and will be eaten gradually over the next week or two. When I used to live at home, and whenever I go back home, Mum recruits me into helping her wrap them, and between the two of us, we’d end up with a hundred or so wontons made in less than half an hour.  She went through a phase of testing out using varying ratios of pork and prawn, using chives, adding shitake mushrooms, using wombok or diced bokchoy, adding ginger ‘juice’, using minced ginger, and adding other Chinese things that I have no proper English translation for.  The final verdict is that she believes that the ginger juice is the crucial thing in making dumplings taste good, and I don’t disagree — Mum’s wontons are delicious.  Mum tends to buy pork meat and mince it up in her 24 year old food processor.  I don’t have that luxury, nor the elbow grease to mince up pork with one knife.

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Cantonese wontons

Ingredients
As I am guided by instinct than measurements with cooking this, the following amounts are rough (but close) estimates.  The best thing to do is that once everything has been mixed, to wrap one and cook it to check that the seasonings is to your taste.

  • 300g pork mince
  • 200g prawns (after shelling)
  • 2cm knob of ginger, minced (or squeeze the juice out of the minced ginger and use that instead)
  • 1.5 tsp of chicken stock powder
  • 2 tsp of soy sauce
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp of sesame oil
  • 1 egg white
  • 50-60 wonton wrappers

Method

Prepping the mixture

  1. Place pork in a large bowl (preferably not metal).
  2. Wash prawns, devein prawns, and cut into small (~0.5cm) pieces.  Allow to drain, and pat dry.  Add to pork mince.
  3. Add minced ginger or ‘ginger juice’ to the pork and prawn mixture.
  4. Add chicken stock powder, soy sauce, sesame oil and egg white.  Mix everything well.  I find that chopsticks are the best tool for this, but anything would do.  As you keep mixing, you’ll find that the mixture starts to come together and becomes a bit more sticky, and that’s when I judge it as being ‘well-combined’.
  5. Gladwrap mixture and let the flavours develop for at least 30 minutes (if more, I would pop the mixture in the fridge).

Wrapping the wontons

  1. Flour a large plate that will be big enough to fit into a freezer (just in case you’re not cooking them immediately).
  2. Take 1 wonton wrapper and place a heaped 1/2 teaspoon in the middle.  (Make sure there isn’t too much filling otherwise it’ll burst or spill out when you bring the corners together.)  With one hand, bring all the corners together.  To ‘close’ the wonton, use your other hand and give the wonton a good squeeze just where the ball of filling ends – trying to get as close to the filling as possible but not squeezing any filling out.  If you give it a good enough pinch, the wonton will stick together because (as my mum tells me) of the egg white and the moisture in the mix.  However, if you do find that the wontons are coming apart, dab the wonton skin just outside of where you place the filling with some water before squeezing it shut.
  3. Repeat until all the filling or wrappers are used up, and place on the floured plate making sure that they’re not touching each other.  (I usually wrap one and cook it so I can taste it and adjust the seasonings before I wrap another 5o of them.)

With practice, you will be able to get it so that there is just the right amount for the number of wrappers.  (I prefer to err on the side of having too much filling as unused filling can be made into meatballs or stir-fried with veggies).

Cooking the wontons

If you are not cooking them immediately, place them in the freezer and let them to harden up (30-45 minutes) before putting storing them properly in the freezer.

My favourite broth to cook this to add some chicken powder, a knob of ginger, a good dash of mirin and a smidget of chilli oil to boiling water.

When the water returns to the boil, add the dumplings.  Stir them around occasionally to make sure they don’t stick to the sides and bottom of the pot.  Regardless of whether they are used fresh or frozen, they dumplings are cooked when the dumplings are floating on top, though I usually give them an extra minute or two after they have floated to the top.

They can be eaten by themselves or served with noodles, and garnished with some spring onions.

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