Wontons

Posted on April 5, 2009 by Aun

One of the most satisfying and simple comfort foods in Chinese cuisine is the wonton. A hot bowl of wonton soup is perfect when exhausted or ill. A serving of wontons sauced with a thick, reduced chicken stock is a delicious snack. A portion, tossed in a spicy homemade chilli-oil sauce, can be a fantastically exciting dish to serve friends. And when served with homemade noodles and charsiu (roast pork), they can become part of a bowl full of heaven.

Making wontons at home is something our mothers all did at some point in our childhoods, which also infuses them with that magical quality of nostalgia. For many, slurping down a bowl full of delicious wontons is nothing short of recapturing some of the best parts of their youth.

For the uninitiated, a wonton is a minced pork dumpling. Some scholars say the wonton may be China’s oldest kind of dumpling, having been consumed as early as the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-24AD). It’s amazing that they are still around today and still immensely popular. In Singapore, wontons are most frequently seen as part of a plate of wonton mee. Wontons are boiled quickly and served with blanched green vegetables, long thin egg noodles and thin slices of barbecued pork. This can be served dry — which actually means tossed in a slightly sweet, savory and often spicy sauce — or in soup.

Our favourite wonton recipe comes from Fuschia Dunlop’s fantastically well researched and written Sichuan Cookery (titled Land of Plenty in the USA). What we like so much about the recipe is that Dunlop mixes stock into the filling, which gives it a lovely savoury taste. Ever since discovering this recipe in fact, we’ve been feasting regularly on wontons, as well as serving them to friends. One of the easiest ways to serve them is tossed in a homemade chilli-oil sauce. Just combine some chilli oil with light soy sauce, a little bit of sugar, some stock and a little splash of white vinegar. How much you use of each of these components really comes down to your own tastes. I tend to like my sauce a little sweet while S likes to emphasize the vinegar when she makes it.

Wontons
Adapted from Fuschia Dunlop’s Sichuan Cookery

80 wonton wrappers
60g piece of fresh ginger, unpeeled
450g minced pork
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
100g cold chicken stock

Crush the ginger with the flat of a wide knife or heavy object and soak for 5 minutes in a 100ml of cold water.

In a mixing bowl, combine the minced pork, egg, wine, ginger-water (discard the ginger pieces), sesame oil, salt and pepper. Mix well, using your hand to stir briskly in one direction. Add the cold stock in several stages while mixing, making sure the liquid is absorbed fully before continuing.

You can stuff the wontons in a variety of ways. The easiest is to lay the wonton skin flat on your hand. Place a teaspoon of filling in the centre, then flip the skin in half diagonally, pressing the two sides together.

Lay the wontons out, separately on a lightly floured tray. You can either cook and eat right away, or when they have dried a little, put them in a bag and freeze them. Cook them in boiling water. When the wontons rise to the surface and the skins are pliable, they are ready to be gobbled.

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his bouncing baby boy!

What Others Are Saying

  1. Bruno April 5, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    Dear Aun,

    May I please have the recipe for the chicken stock you’ll use for this dish?

    Thanks so much!

    Bruno

  2. Pete at Kitchen Decanted April 5, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    One of those things that always seems to be quite a lot of hassle and hard work, but is actually pretty simple.

    Thanks for the recipe I’ll be giving it a shot over Easter.

    Is judging cooking time by letting the wontons float to the top always sufficient to ensure the pork is cooked?

  3. OysterCulture April 5, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    Wonton soup for us is simply part of the experience when we eat Chinese cuisine. We might seek out new dishes to sample but a non starter is no wonton soup = we judge the restaurants we visit based based on their preparation.
    I have all of Fuchsia’s books and have found them a delight to read. Living in a neighborhood full of wonderful Chinese restaurants, I confess to not trying as many of her recipes as I might like. Thanks for inspiring me.

  4. Annette April 5, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    That looks delish. I toss my wontons in the nam prik pao that I gave you guys. It’s my quick-fix supper.

  5. piqrt April 6, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    There are a number of variations for the filling. One of my favourites is to add chopped up pak-choi to the minced pork. It’s not only makes it a little crunchie it’s healthier since we eat less meat. If you don’t have any chicken stock at home after poaching mix them in a sauce of dark soya, a little sesame oil and some chilli oil if you like it hot. Very delicious !!

  6. Diana @ AppetiteforChina April 6, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Great photos, but it should be clarified the Sichuan wontons are different from Cantonese wontons, which you’re most likely to get in overseas Chinatowns. The latter includes at least half shrimp and is usually served in a noodle soup with egg noodles.

  7. Mel April 6, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    My mom JUST made wontons tonight for Sunday dinner. She used lots of flowering garlic chives. I will post a recipe soon. Nothing like mom’s wontons :)

  8. catherine at unconfidentialcook.com April 7, 2009 at 8:39 am

    I almost wish I had the flu so I could insist someone make this for me–it looks so soothing, healthful and yummy.

  9. Cookie April 9, 2009 at 7:21 am

    My mom makes Wontons at least once a month and she adds chopped shrimp to the meat mixture. She also likes to freeze them in batches so she can enjoy them whenever she wants. She boils them in chicken broth though with a few drops of sesame oil on top after they’re cooked.

  10. Lynne April 10, 2009 at 8:35 am

    my mom doesn’t know how to make wontons, so therefore, i do not have that youthful memory of wontons in that familiar setting…however, i still enjoy eating it at the restaurants. thanks for the recipe. i will definitely try to make this and start my own tradition of wonton nostalgia for my future family…

    yum pics!

  11. Delphine May 5, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    my hubby loves wontons and i cant wait to try out with the ginger water.
    I usually make mine with extrememly finely-diced water chestnuts and carrots. they add that extra crunch!

  12. tiina May 14, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    I love wontons, what a lovely post! I really like the glass in the background as well. I also have a few Ultima Thule glasses by Iittala. They look like the most beautiful ice sculptures!

  13. Tom Cook June 8, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    Hello Aun,

    A truly mouth watering combination of words and pictures in this post makes for a very hungry reader! As you elude to, not necessarily a difficult dish to master, Wontons are one of the most delicate and tasty Chinese ingredients and this recipe is one that I shall be trying myself. My wife loves them at our local restaurant, and I will be tested to the maximum in trying to achieve as good results as you have attained! Wish me luck.

  14. Wonton July 13, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    Yummy, wonton is so delicious and now i am mouth-watering, hah.
    Chicken wonton is my favorite wonton and all, I prefer add white rice vinegar and ground white pepper along with this delicious Chinese food, which is a paradise for me each time I enjoy them!

  15. Dana & Steve November 8, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Looks delicious! I can’t wait to try this. Thanks!

  16. Sali September 28, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    This looks so divine!! I am definitely adding the ingredients to my store list today.

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