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The Noodle Series: Wonton Noodle Soup

Wontons and dumplings; delectable plump morsels of minced meat and prawns encased in thin pastry skins. With readily available pastry skins, it is easy to make dumplings at home. J & I spent many a late night in Hong Kong during our honeymoon last year, devouring bowls of wonton noodles. And it was incredibly satisfying. It ranked the highest in our ‘to eats’ for midnight snacks while we were there.   

Typically, a bowl of wonton noodle soup consists of fresh egg noodles, 4 to 5 wontons and some bok choy in a hot stock. (usually made with chicken, pork bones or a combination of both). For our dinner of homemade wonton noodle soup last night, I did not have fresh egg noodles, so I finished my packet of yee mee. Good nonetheless but fresh egg noodles taste far more superior with wontons, especially when cooked to the bite i.e. not soggy. It only takes 1 to 1 1/2 minutes to cook the fresh egg noodles al dente but one must always:-

  •  loosen the noodle strands with fingers before plunging them in rapidly boiling salt water; otherwise you will end up with a gunk of starch and you would not want to bite into this half-cooked doughy mass.
  • use chopsticks, tongs or other similar apparatus to vigorously separate the noodles in the boiling water. This helps to stop the noodle strands from clumping together.
  • place cooked noodles in a strainer and refresh immediately under cold rinsing water to remove any remaining starch. This also helps to separate the noodle strands. Once this is done, you can either re-warm it with hot water or pour hot stock over to serve.

I’ve listed here my own rendition of wontons; most often than not, using what’s available in my fridge and freezer but personally, I like an equal proportion of meat to prawns. Truth be told, I have a bunch of chives in the fridge which I bought on Sunday and these herbs don’t last too long. I’ve used half last night and the remaining half will go into my char kuey teow for tomorrow’s dinner. So if you end up with too much chives, chuck them in noodles, soups or better still, make wontons!

I’ve only listed the wonton recipe here as I did not make a proper chicken stock i.e. boiling the chicken bones for 2 hours so if you’ve got your own soup stock, by all means, use it. Usually, I’d boil my chicken bones for 1 1/2 hours with some fresh ginger slices (about a 5 inch piece) and adjust the flavour with a pinch of chicken stock powder and salt. To garnish, finely chop some spring onions and chives and sprinkle onto noodle soup.
For last night’s stock, I simply boiled water with ginger and 1/2 teaspoon chicken stock powder, salt and pepper and added some leftover frozen assorted hotpot items like fishballs and fish tofu which inadvertently add flavour to the soup. The cheat’s way..hehehe.

Ingredients 
makes 25-28 wontons

for wontons

180 g packet of wonton skins (see note)
175 g chicken thigh, minced (or pork mince)
175g prawns/shrimp, deveined and minced
40g fresh chives, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 small shallot, finely diced
1/3 of a medium sized carrot (use the tip), finely diced
1 small piece of ginger, finely chopped (about the size of the tip of your index finger)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons rice wine
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
dash of white pepper
pinch of salt
bowl of water, to seal wonton edges
 
To serve with

2 balls of egg noodles
2.0 litres water to cook the noodles
1/2 teaspoon salt. extra
2.5 litres of hot soup stock
Some leafy greens like bok choy, lettuce or chinese cabbage
additional chopped chives and spring onion to garnish 

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, except the wonton skins and water and mix well. (see note on mincing prawns)
  2. Spoon a teaspoonful of filling  onto the centre of the wonton skin.
  3. Dip finger into water and wet the wonton skin edges.
  4. Seal the edges and wrap filling into a small pouch; give the top a little twist.
  5. Bring soup stock to the boil.
  6. Drop the wontons into the boiling water (take care not to overcrowd the pot. If you have to, boil in two batches)
  7. Cook for 3 minutes; Add in the leafy greens to wilt (about 30 seconds to about 1 minute) and turn off the stove.
  8. In a separate deep pot, bring the 2 litres of water and 1/2 teaspoon  of salt to the boil.
  9. Separate the egg noodles until individual strands are loose; drop them in the rapidly boiling water.
  10. With a pair of chopsticks, vigorously stir the noodles to stop it from clumping.
  11. After 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, remove noodles from hot water and refresh under cold rinsing water.
  12. Drain well and serve in noodle bowls. Pour hot stock, wontons and greens over noodles. Garnish with additional chives and spring onion.

 Note:

  • For Melbournians, wonton skins are available in the cold section of any asian grocery store and I think even Coles and Woolworths sell them too, near the fresh pastas section)
  • When mincing prawns, instead of chopping with the sharp edge, try using the flat part of the meat cleaver and give it one good bash! Voila! minced prawn.
  • You can steam and deep-fry the wontons too for a snack.

Wrapped up wontons ready for cooking

Cooked Wontons

Last night’s wonton noodle soup with yee mee instead

but here’s one I made months ago after the Hong Kong trip, with the actual egg noodles, chilli oil and crispy onions as garnishing

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