1 cup dried sliced shiitake mushrooms
150 grams raw prawns
240 grams pork mince
1 thumb size piece of ginger, skin removed, grated finely
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 large clove garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 pack wonton wrappers (available from the freezer section of Asian supermarkets)
280 grams packet egg noodles
2 litres good quality chicken stock
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
4 heads of bok choy, ends thinly sliced, leafy tops reserved, large ones cut in half down the middle
Fresh chilli, diced
Chilli oil or sesame oil
2 spring onions, sliced
A handful mung beans, sprouts (optional)
Wonton soup is one of my favourite things and is something I love to order when I eat out. Or a Tom Yum with wontons, yum! I think I actually prefer soft wontons in broth over the fried ones. These are a little fiddly to make, but if you’re in the mood, once you get your rhythm, it’s quite fun. There are all kinds of ways to fold these little parcels; I actually went onto YouTube to look at a few techniques. I love the combination of pork and prawn, and I also added shiitake mushrooms for extra flavour.
Put the shiitake mushrooms in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside. Remove tails from the prawns (if they are on) and chop. I didn’t chop them too fine as I like to see chunks of the prawn in the wonton. Combine in a mixing bowl with the remaining ingredients. Take the mushrooms out of the water, chop finely and add to the mix and combine well. Don’t throw away the mushroom water; put this in a large pot and the stock for the soup will get added to this later.
To make wontons: Wet your finger and run a little water around the edges of the wrapper. The cornflour on the wrappers and water together seal the wontons. Place a heaped teaspoon of filling in the centre of a wrapper and fold to your desired shape. It can be as simple as making a triangle, or try a more intricate shape like a “nurse’s cap” or “flower bud”. The main thing to make sure, no matter what shape you choose, is that it is sealed really well and there are no air pockets, so water doesn’t get in when they cook. When they are all done, keep in the fridge until you are ready to use.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Once boiling, add the egg noodles and cook for around 8 minutes or until cooked through. Drain and divide into the bottom of 6 bowls. Add the stock to the large pot with the shiitake mushroom water, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce to a medium heat. Cook the wontons in batches by dropping about one third in at a time into the stock. They have to be completely covered with stock, when they are cooked they will float to the surface. They should cook for around 5–6 minutes. Add 5–6 cooked wontons per bowl. It’s okay if they are sitting while the others cook – they will get refreshed at the end when the soup is ladled over.
Once the wontons are cooked, add the bok choy ends to the soup and cook for 1 minute, scoop out and add to the bowls. Cook the leaves for 30 seconds and add to the bowl. Ladle over the soup between the bowls. Top with whatever garnishes you want – a little sesame and/or chilli oil, mung beans and spring onions. If you want it a little saltier, add a dash of soy sauce.
Cook's tip: This recipe makes 35 and each person would need around 6–7. Any spare or extras, can be frozen. To freeze uncooked wontons, lay them on a baking sheet so they don’t touch and put the baking sheet in the freezer until the wontons are frozen solid. Once frozen, the wontons can be transferred to a freezer bag for storage.