I believe in the old Chinese saying – “we eat with our eyes first”, and that a real pleasure comes from food that looks appetising, tastes wonderful and is truly nourishing.
There is something exceptionally comforting about wonton soups and it is no wonder, the word itself “wonton” translates to “swallowing clouds” and yes, they absolutely do look like little clouds floating in a sea of rich chicken stock!
It takes a bit of time and a little extra effort to prepare all of the elements to this soup, but if you are as an adventurous a cook as I am and like to try your hands at preparing dishes “from scratch” then you will enjoy every minute invested and your results will be especially rewarding.
I took my time and prepared the various elements of this soup intermittently over the course of two days. I made the Chicken Stock and Chili Oil on the first day and the Wonton Wrappers and soup the next day. The reason why I decided to split the dish into four individual recipes is that it makes it easier to follow the instructions and doesn’t come across as an overly overwhelming venture.
Of course, you can always substitute by using ready made wrappers, they are sold in any Asian food delicatessen, and with the store bought chicken stock – I’m sure the results will be just as fabulous!
300g pork mince
200g peeled prawns finely chopped
1/4 cup finely diced spring onion ( about 3-4 large spring onions )
1 tbsp grated or minced ginger
1 clove garlic minced
1 carrot grated
20-30g dry, sliced shitake mushrooms
1 cup hot water
1 tsp sesame oil ( optional )
1 tsp salt or you may wish to replace salt with 2 tbsp soy or fish sauce
Pinch of freshly cracked white pepper or black pepper
60 wonton wrappers – I believe shop bought wonton wrappers are a bit larger than the ones I make at home. I normally end up with about 90-100 wontons when using my homemade wonton wrappers. If you wish to make your own wrappers ( it’s not as difficult as you might think ) the recipe is here Homemade Wonton Wrappers
Place shitake mushrooms into a bowl, pour hot water over the top, cover and leave to soften for 20-30 minutes.
Drain the mushrooms well squeezing all of the liquid out, then finely dice.
In a large bowl mix all of the ingredients together.
You are ready to start making wontons!
Prepare a work bench and a little cup of water ( you will need it to wet the edges of the wrappers to help them stick together ).
Lay some of the wrappers out and place about 1 tsp of the pork mixture in the centre of each wrapper.
Run a damp finger along the edges of the wrapper and seal the sides together creating a triangle.
When sealing the wontons ensure that there are no air pockets to avoid them from splitting during cooking.
Bring both ends of the triangle together, placing one on top of another and press to seal.
Place the ready made wontons on a bench or tray lightly dusted with cornflour.
Once finished making the wontons you can cook them straight away or freeze them for later use.
To freeze the wontons place them on a tray lightly dusted with cornflour and freeze for 5-6 hours before transferring them into an airtight container. This way the wontons will stay individual.
8-10 cups of Homemade Asian Style Chicken Stock ( can be made ahead )
60 wontons ( depending upon the appetite of the diners and the size of the wontons you may need more or less )
1 bunch pak choi
1 tsp sesame oil
Chili Oil ( a very easy to make Asian condiment, and in my opinion is a must have with these wontons )
Fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to the boil.
In another saucepan bring the stock to simmering.
Place wontons one at a time into the boiling water. You may need to cook them in two batches.
Stir them gently and bring back to the boil, stirring gently occasionally. Once the wontons start to float it indicates that they are ready.
Carefully move the wontons into the simmering stock using a large strainer spoon.
Add pak choi and turn the heat off.
Serve the soup in bowls, individually dressed with the Chili Oil to taste.
Add any vegetables of your preference to the soup.
You can also steam the wontons or fry them and serve with the Chili Oil , soy or tamari sauce for dipping.