Wontone of my wontons?
Seems like I'm on a quest to make daintier and daintier things. Having pigged out on junky bar food early in the evening at BQ Bar with Jean and Hema, supper on Monday night was a wholesome and homemade bowl of pork and ginger wontons in dashi.
As an aside, this was my first attempt at making wontons, and it occurred to me that there was a sufficient variety of wonton skin folding techniques to warrant an origami book on the subject. A quick flip through my little library of cookbooks revealed triangles, flat crescents, ruffled crescents, hats... Reminded me of Primary 1 art class where one of our first assignments was to make curry puffs out of plasticine. I'm telling you, those little pleats are tough to make! Now, every time I look at a curry puff it's with a nod of respect to the hands that made them.
(As an aside to this aside, the subsequent art class was about making Chinese New Year lanterns out of angpows. What you're supposed to do is take the top end of the angpow envelope and staple it to the bottom of another, and same for the sides, and continue till you somehow derive a lantern shape from it. What you're not supposed to do, even at the foolish and tender age of 7, is to accidentally staple your own thumb. No prizes for guessing which one I succeeded at. My art teacher was not pleased.)
Fortunately, my wonton attempt proved much less eventful. I'd decided to use dashi as my broth, so thought I'd give the wontons a slight Japanese influence as well by first marinated the minced lean pork in a soy-mirin marinade. I then tossed in some chopped water chestnuts for crunch and a generous amount of finely chopped ginger for spice (a nod to our jiaozi eating days in Beijing).
As for folding, I eventually settled on a simple squish-the-edges-together technique, detailed below.
Pork and Ginger Wontons in Dashi
Makes 16 wontons
For the wontons:
- 150g minced lean pork
- 2 small water chestnuts, chopped, approx. 2 tbsp
- 1 small knob of ginger, finely chopped, approx. 1 1/2 tbsp
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 16 store-bought wonton skins
For the broth:
- 1 large strip of dried konbu
- 2 cups bonito flakes
- 4 cups water
Begin preparing dashi by soaking dried konbu in water for 10 minutes.
Marinate pork in soy sauce and mirin; set aside while choppnig chestnuts and ginger. Mix all ingredients together.
Heat water and konbu in a pot over medium high heat. Just before water starts boiling, remove konbu and add bonito flakes. Cook for 1-2 minutes over high heat, then turn off heat. The dashi is ready when the bonito flakes sink to the bottom of the pot. Strain to remove bonito flakes and keep warm.
Lay out wonton skins. Place a small ball of the filling (approx. 1 tsp, depending on the size of the wonton skin) in the center of each skin. Dampen edges of wonton skin with water using your fingers. Seal by picking up diagonally opposing corners of the skin and bunching them together, sealing these and any smaller openings with a light squeeze.
Cook wontons in a pot of boiling water. Wontons will be cooked fairly quickly, approx. 2 minutes or when wontons float to the surface and the skin has become translucent. Serve immediately in warm dashi.
Optional: garnish with konbu and bamboo shoots as desired. Freeze any remaining dashi for future use.
(Dashi recipe from Harumi Kurihara's Harumi's Home Cooking)