One of my favourite cuisines would have to be Asian, I love the simplicity in much of the recipes as much as the variety of the flavours from country to country. Having journeyed to such destinations as Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand I have had a relatively decent exposure to the different cuisines and styles of cooking.
Travelling through Vietnam I fell in love with Pho. Travelling through Indonesia I hunted for the perfect Soto Ayam. Travelling through Hong Kong I was at a loss for words over the delicious varieties of Wonton Soup. All three are simple, delicious and heart-warming traditional soups which leave you satisfyingly full. Asian-style soups would have to be my “go-to remedy” when I’m sick, sad or just in need of some soul warming goodness.
I don’t pretend to be any sort of master when it comes to Asian cooking, but was determined this week to crack the most basic code for Wonton Soup. Leave your traditional mindset at the door please, I am only trialling my very first concept of this much loved soup. This recipe is a combination of some background reading into the art of wonton and from an assortment of information have created my own little version of this soup.
And please don’t be daunted at the prospect of wonton folding…there’s lots of great YouTube videos to get you started. Also, please cheat just as I did and buy your wonton wrappers, they are readily available at your local Chinese supermarket and are fantastic – every single sheet is in perfect unison with the next without variations in shape, size, colour or elasticity. Chinese supermarkets in general are fantastic, don’t be afraid to ask the staff to help you find things or explain what certain bottles and dried objects actually are – I find they are only ever too happy to help and relish in sharing their knowledge. I often enter with a list of four items and leave with 30, no joke.
For the soup:
500ml chicken stock
1 – 2 Tbs light soy sauce and rice vinegar (to taste)
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 shallot, cut into rings
2cm knob of ginger, skin removed and left whole
Thin rice noodles
1/2 red chilli, finely sliced (with or without seeds, leave for garnishing)
2 spring onions, finely sliced on the diagonal (for garnishing)
Coriander leaves (for garnishing)
For the wontons:
150g minced pork
150g raw prawns, shelled/deveined and finely chopped
1 small shallot finely diced
1cm piece ginger, grated
1 Tbs spoon coriander root, finely diced
2 tsp fresh chives, finely chopped
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp cornflour
30 wonton wrappers
- Mix all of your ingredients for the wontons in a bowl. Put 1 teaspoon of filling in the centre of each wrapper (please don’t overfill or they won’t close and may burst during cooking).
- Brush edges of each wrapper with a small amount of water. Fold the wrapper in half along the long edge and press gently around the filling and edges to seal. Use your thumbs to push down on the edges of the filling to make sure it stays centered in the middle.
- Dab a small drop of water on the corner of the wonton – the same length side as the filling is on
- Bring the corners up together (as if folding a sheet) and hold each corner in place between your thumb and index finger. Press firmly together. They should look like the pictured image above.
- To make the soup, add the chicken stock, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, shallot rings and ginger to a large pot and bring slowly to the boil. Once boiling, bring down to a simmer and add the wontons one at a time and cook for 5 minutes, they will rise to the surface once cooked.
- Whilst the stock is coming up to boil, turn your kettle on and boil water for your rice noodles. These require a 2 minute blast in boiling water to cook. Drain once warmed through.
- Add a small amount of rice noodles to each serving bowl and add 2 – 3 ladles of the stock to each bowl, then gently layer on equal servings of wontons into each bowl.
- Garnish with chilli, coriander leaves and spring onions.
Slurp. Chew. Enjoy