Wontons and dumplings are two of the most popular and widely popular breakfast choices across the whole mainland China. There are restaurants, diners, food vendors selling all kinds of wontons.
But the best ones are not always found in fancy and expensive restaurants, but on the streets. Some food vendors and small diners have been making and selling wontons for generations. Years of experience make them experts in very single steps of making wontons from broth to seasoning.
I learned how to make wontons by eating them for breakfast for a long time. The best ones are freshly made, cooked and served. So a lot of wonton restaurants have been wrapping and cooking nonstop since they open the door in early morning. During my wait, I always peeked through kitchen window to see how it is done.
I did that out of bore and curiosity at first, but soon I got attracted and fascinated watching the cooks in kitchen wrapping wontons at lightning speed.
A bowl of good wonton soup is made up with freshly made wontons and seasonings. Both are equally important to how the final product taste.
200 g ground pork
160 to 200g fresh shiitake mushrooms
10 to 12 fresh shrimps, peeled, divined and chopped
1 to 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon rice cooking wine
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon corn starch
1 egg white
a few drops of sesame oil
salt to taste
1 package of wonton wraps (sold in most Asian grocery markets)
These are not regular shiitake mushrooms. They are smaller in size but packed with intense earthy mushroom aroma. They have signature cracks on the caps.
Use a damp kitchen paper towel to wipe clean the shiitake mushrooms. In Asia, people believe rinsing fresh mushrooms under running water could ruin their delicate aroma. The best way to clean them is with damp cloth or paper towel.
However, there is too much dirt on the bottoms of shiitake mushrooms. I have to rinse them to get rid of all the dirt.
Add cleaned shiitake mushrooms to a food processor and finely chop them.
In a large bowl, add chopped shiitake mushrooms, shrimps, and ground pork, along with oyster sauce, rice cooking wine, ground white pepper, ginger, starch, egg white and sesame oil.
Whisk with a pair of chop sticks or wooden spoon clockwise for7 to 8 minutes, or until the filling becomes smooth and silky.
Season with salt to taste.
Add a couple teaspoons of filling to one edge of a wonton wrap.
Roll the wonton half way through, and then pull both ends towards center and overlap them. Brush with a bit of water or egg wash so that wonton will keep its shape.
Repeat the process until all the filling is finished.
Add wontons to a large pot of boiling water. Cook until all wontons float to surface. In between, when the water boils again, add 1 cup of cold water to the pot. Repeat the process one more time later when the water boils again. Adding cold water to a boiling pot is a traditional Chinese way to cook dumplings and wontons, so that the wontons can be fully cooked without the outside wraps getting too soggy and mushy.
Add wontons along with a ladle or two broth to a bowl. Some of my favorite seasonings are but not limited to: sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic water, Sichuan pepper oil, chili oil sauce, vinegar, chopped picked vegetables, chopped pickled daikon, green onion, cilantro, and crushed dry roasted peanuts.
With a spoon, gently toss everything together.
Bon appetite! O(∩_∩)O~