Homemade Wontons with Pork, Shrimps, and Shiitake Mushrooms with Chili Sauce

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.

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Ingredients:

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)

 

Directions:

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.

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Add a couple teaspoons of filling to one edge of a wonton wrap.

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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.

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Repeat the process until all the filling is finished.

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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.

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With a spoon, gently toss everything together.

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Bon appetite! O(∩_∩)O~

Shiu Mai with Chinese Sausages, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Sweet Rice

I posted Shiu Mai with ground pork, mushrooms and sweet rice before: https://www.yankitchen.com/english-blog/2018/11/13/shiu-mai-with-ground-porkmushrooms-and-sweet-rice

It is a very popular choice in Dim Sum restaurants.  Cantonese’s style shiu mai is usually made with shrimps and pork.  I personally prefer the ones made with sweet rice. 

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Shiu mai wraps are usually super thin and come with ruffled edges to achieve flower-like shape.  For the purpose of efficiency and easy operation, when making shiu mai at home, shiu mai wraps can be substituted with wonton wraps.

Ingredients:

1 pack wonton wraps (sold in most Asian grocery stores)
a handful fresh shitake mushrooms
1 cup of sweet rice
1 package of Chinese/ Cantonese/ Taiwanese style sausage  (sold in most Asian grocery stores)
1 to 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
3 to 4 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
salt to taste

 

Directions:

 Wipe the shiitake mushrooms clean with damp kitchen paper towel.

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I use Taiwanese style sausage this time.  They taste quite similar to Cantonese sausage.  

Wonton wrap is available in every Asian grocery market. 

Dice up sausages and mushrooms.

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Cook the sweet rice in a rice cooker.  Sweet rice requires less water than regular rice.  

Fold in soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce and ground white pepper.

Allow the rice mixture to chill for 10 minutes or so.

Fold in diced sausages and mushrooms.  Add salt to taste.  Gently mix everything together.

Add a couple tablespoons of sweet rice filling to center of the wonton wrap.

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Wrap the edges towards the center.  Brush the wrap with water or egg wash if needed. 

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Add a bamboo steamer lined with small squares of parchment paper.  

Repeat the process until all are finished.   The listed ingredients above yield about 50 to 60 shiu mais.  Freeze extra ones if they are too much for a single meal.

Fill a wok with water.  Cook over high heat until water boils.  Add steamer.  Continue to steam over high heat for 12 to 15 minutes.

Serve hot immediately.

The dipping sauce is made with balsamic vinegar + soy sauce + chili oil sauce. 

Smoked Asian Style Pork Sausages

中文菜谱: 熏猪肉肠

Summer has finally left Texas.  I have been enjoying the cool and dry weather lately, have you?

And of course, good weather means BBQ in the backyard!

This time I smoked some Asian style sausages.  They turned out great; golden brown and crunchy on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside.  The reason it is called Asian style is that seasonings used here are all Asian seasonings.  And the ground pork would be whisked/ beaten along with seasonings and corn starch until meat mixture is elastic and glutinous.

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Ingredients:

1 pack of pork shoulder; weighs about 4 to 5 lbs
1/3 to 1/2 cup of rice cooking wine
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 to 4 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 to 3/4 cup corn starch
3 to 4 tablespoons ground white pepper
4 to 5 tablespoons ground ginger
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken stock / water
sausage casing

Directions:  

Rinse the pork shoulder under running water.  If the pieces are too big, cut them into thinner strips.

Use a meat grinder to finely grind all the pork shoulder.

Add ground pork to a stand mixer bowl, along with rice cooking wine, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, ground ginger, corn starch, sesame oil and salt.

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Attach the flat beater to the stand mixer.

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Whisk/ beat the pork at speed two.

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When the ground pork mixture is well blended, slowly add chicken stock/ water.  Be sure all the liquid is absorbed before adding more.

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It is becoming more and more elastic and shiny.

When the pork mixture becomes very glutinous, elastic and kind of feels like meat jelly, it is ready.

Cover with lid and chill the pork mixture in fridge overnight.

Attach the sausage stuffer to meat grinder.  

 Slip a piece of rinsed sausage casing to the stuffing tube.  Seal the end with a knot.

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Stuff the casing with pork mixture. 

 Preheat the smoker to 250F/ 121C.  Load the smoking box with oak chips.

Add sausages.  

The waiting is really long and hard…

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Two hours later, the sausages are half way cooked.  But the links are too close to each other.  So I remove them from hooks and lay them flat on a rack.

About another two hours later.  The sausages are done!

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Aren’t they a beauty?  O(∩_∩)O~

The sausages are full of flavors and beautiful golden brown colors.  Score! O(∩_∩)O~

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Shiu Mai with Ground Pork,Mushrooms and Sweet Rice

If you have been to Dim Sum place before, you might be familiar with shiu mai already.  It is made with super thin wheat dough with fillings inside.  There are so many kinds of fillings for shiu mai.  They vary from area to area.  Pork and shrimps are a very popular choice in southeast part of China.  In the north, lamb, beef, and even sweet rice can be found in shiu mai fillings too. 

Each and every one of them is very tasty.  I personally prefer the ones made with sweet rice. 

 It is quite easy to make them at home too!  With a pack of store-bought wonton wraps, we can easily make a large batch of shiu mai.

Ingredients:

1 pack wonton wraps (sold in most Asian grocery stores)
1 handful dried wild mushrooms / shiitake mushrooms
1 cup of sweet rice
100 g fresh ground pork
1 to 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon rice cooking wine
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon white ground pepper
salt to taste  

Sweet rice might look like regular white rice.  But they are more glutinous when cooked.  That is why sweet rice is also called sticky rice and glutinous rice.

Dry wild mushrooms are sold in most Asian grocery stores too.  They are packed with tons of earthy, nutty, and fragrant flavors; and can be used in soups, stews, or stir fries.  

They can be substituted with shiitake mushrooms too.  Shiitake mushroom is another kind of mushroom with distinctive fragrance and are wildly popular in Asian countries too.  You shall be able in find them in almost every Asian grocery stores.

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Soak the dried wild mushrooms in cold water for a couple hours.

Cook the sweet rice in a rice cooker.  Sweet rice requires less water than regular rice.

Allow the rice to chill for 10 minutes or so.

Rinse the wild mushrooms under running water and drain them well.

Chop the mushrooms in a food processor.

In a large bowl, add cooked sweet rice, along with ground pork, mushrooms, oyster sauce, rice cooking wine, ginger, sesame oil, sugar, white ground pepper and salt.

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Gently whisk with a pair of chopsticks.

Add a couple tablespoons of ground pork and sweet rice filling to center of the wonton wrap.

Wrap the edges towards the center.  Brush the wrap with water or egg wash if needed. 

Add a bamboo steamer lined with small squares of parchment paper.   

Repeat the process until all are finished.   The listed ingredients above yield about 50 shiu mai.  Freeze extra ones if they are too much for a single meal.

Fill a wok with water.  Cook over high heat until water boils.  Add steamer.  Continue to steam over high heat for 12 to 15 minutes.

Serve hot immediately. 

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Isn’t it easy and quick?  

Sriracha sauce is great dipping sauce for shiu mai.  I also use it for dumplings too.  

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Pan-fried Dumplings with Pork and Zucchini

中文菜谱: 鲜肉西葫芦煎饺

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Zucchini became an important vegetable when we were still living in a small town in Michigan.  We were far away from Asian grocery stores.  So I shop at the local farmer market a lot to get fresh produce and sometimes grass fed steaks, which, by the way, were super tasty and amazing. 

Leafy greens thrived in early summer.  When July came, most vegetable booths begin to sell local zucchinis, peppers, potatoes and corns. 

That was when I bought so many zucchinis and learned to develop different ways to cook them.  Besides stir fried zucchini, my favorite way is to dry them first a little, chop them up and then put into dumplings.

Chinese dumplings are like Italian pasta.  The ingredient and flavor combinations are endless.  Any ordinary ingredient like zucchini could be used in dumpling fillings and shine like a flavor star. 

Ingredients:

1 lb pork shoulder
5 to 6 zucchinis
1 pack of dumpling wraps (sold in frozen food section in most Asian grocery stores)
1 tablespoon rice cooking wine
1 to 2 teaspoon oyster sauce
1/4  teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4  to 1/2 teaspoon corn starch
1/4  teaspoon ground ginger
1 stalks of green onions, chopped
Chicken broth/ water  
salt to taste
cooking oil
white sesame seeds
water/ egg wash (for dumpling wrapping)


Directions:

Thinly slice the zucchinis.  Use a food dehydrator to partially dry the zucchinis slices just until they are dry to touch and the edges begin to wrinkle. 

If you don’t have a food dehydrator available, air dry and sundry methods are both ok too.

Grind the pork shoulder with a meat grinder.  If you don’t have a meat grinder, remember to ask for help to do so in the store, or you can also buy the ground pork.

Add ground pork to a medium bowl, along with ground white pepper, oyster sauce, rice cooking wine, ground ginger, and corn starch.  Whisk with a pair of chopsticks or a wooden spoon.  Gradually add chicken stock/water while whisking.  The more and harder you whisk, the tender and more elastic the ground pork filling will be. 

Use a food processor to finely chop the zucchini slices. 

Add to the ground pork mixture.

Add salt to taste.  Mix with a pair of chopsticks until well combined.

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Brush the dumpling wrapper’s edge with a little water or egg wash. 

Add a couple tablespoons’ pork filling to its center.

Wrap it up.

Repeat the process until all the dumplings are finished.

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Heat a small cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Add 1 to 2 tablespoons oil, and then about 10 dumplings.  Use more oil and a larger pan if you want to cook more than 10 dumplings at a time. 

Pan-fry the dumplings for a couple minutes. 

Add 1/3 cup of water.  Cover with lid immediately after adding water to the pan.

When all the water evaporates, reduce the heat to medium low.  Sprinkle with remaining chopped green onions and white sesame seeds on top.

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The bottoms of dumplings are golden brown.

Remove from heat and serve them hot immediately.

There two of my personal dipping sauces for pan-fried dumplings.  One is a combination of chili oil sauce + soy sauce + balsamic vinegar.  The other is sriracha sauce hot chili sauce.

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The crunchy golden bottoms of the dumplings are the best part! 

Zucchini’s flavor really stands out in the dumplings.  The fillings taste juicy, tender and with a significant sweetness from zucchinis.  Yum!