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Sunday, September 30, 2007


I learnt how to make wontons by watching my mum make them. My parents used to own a small food business, and I worked there from when I was an awkward teen of 13 till I was 22 (gotta love family obligations). Nowadays I wonder what people thought when they came in. Even when I was young, I would be making burgers and frying up fish and chips. I wonder if that was ever considered weird.

I know that on the very few occasions when I got to a fast food "restaurant" like KFC or McDonalds I often have a little internal shudder when I see the youngies. It's another reason to not like those places – I don't quite trust teenagers cooking my food!

Right, I'll put my grandma persona away and get back to wontons. I tend to mix up a big batch of dumpling meat, then divide it into smaller batches and freeze. 200 grams of mince seems to make around 30 wontons (depending on how much meat you put in each). The recipe I use for the mince is below, along with a lesson on how to fold wontons.

Wontons can be deep fried, steamed or boiled. My favourite way is boiled in soup. I love biting into the meat and then slurping up the soft skin. I also use the same mince to make pan fried dumplings by wrapping it in gyoza skin. I must warn you though – while they taste great, dumpling burps can be something awful. Don't drink something fizzy during or immediately after eating!

Wonton soup

I served my wontons in home-made chicken soup with fresh shitake mushrooms, bok choy, sprouts and squid (left over from the lemon herb squid evening).

Wonton mince

1 kilo pork mince
1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
6 dried shitake mushrooms, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes then diced finely
1 tablespoon chinese rice wine
4 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, combine the pork, ginger, garlic, shitake mushrooms, rice wine, soy sauce, sesame oil, egg and salt. Stir until well mixed.

To shape wontons

Step 1: Take a small teaspoon of mince and place it near the top half of the wonton wrapper. Don't use too much mince, or the wontons will be hard to shape.

Step 2: Fold the wrapper over and flatten it around the mince.

Step 3: Wet one corner of the wrapper and bring the two edges of the wrapper together. Press the corners together until they stick.

Your wonton should look like this!

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