While living on the west coast of Canada in Vancouver, I had access to the best in Cantonese cooking-restaurants, cuisine expos, cooking classes. Chinese food recipes were commonplace in the Food section of local newspapers. Each time I visit the Vancouver area, a must is my favorite Chinese café in Richmond, B.C.-Danny's Wuntun-for their, you guessed it, Wonton Soup.
It is difficult to find good Chinese food recipes because it seems that often a crucial ingredient is omitted! The Chinese food recipe for Wonton Soup shared below is a result of much trial and error on the chef's part until perfection was finally achieved.
1 package wonton wrappers, thawed if necessary (usually contains 50)
1 lb. ground pork
2 beaten eggs
25 small shelled and de-veined shrimp, cut in half
1 8 0z. can water chestnuts, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon soya sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
6-8 cups Chicken Stock (either canned broth or recipe for stock follows)
3 Green onions, sliced
Preparing the Wontons
In a large bowl, combine the first 13 ingredients and mix well with a fork.
Place one wonton wrapper in the palm of your hand, wet corners with pastry brush;
Spoon 1/3 teaspoon of meat mixture onto the middle of the wrapper, close to the top corner;
Roll and tuck top corner slightly under the meat;
Fold two outside corners into the center and press lightly.
Place in damp paper towel-lined bowl or cake pan. As you add more wontons, place more dampened paper towels between the layers.
*This is time-consuming and messy work!
*Keep unused portion of the wonton wrappers under a dampened paper towel at all times otherwise they will dry up!
Preparing the Wonton Soup
In a soup pot of boiling water, drop in 10 wontons at a time, boil for about 4 minutes or until the wontons float. Immediately scoop out with a slotted spoon, gently place in a colander and rinse with cold water; transfer and let sit in bowl of ice-water.
Reheat chicken stock to boiling;
Strain wontons of excess water, then place in chicken stock; bring to boil.
Add sliced green onion and serve.
Serves 6 people with generous servings or 8 smaller servings
If you are making your own chicken broth (highly recommended), then this is the first step.
8 cups filtered water (be prepared to add more as the liquid evaporates)
4 lbs. chicken backs, legs, wings all chopped into 2-3 inch pieces (your butcher will do this for you if you ask nicely)
2-3 large onions, washed and quartered
6 celery sticks, washed and quartered, include the leaves
4 carrots, washed and roughly chopped into quarters
1 head parsley, washed and roughly torn
1 Bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soya sauce
In a soup pot or Dutch oven, boil the water;
Once boiling add the chicken parts and vegetables;
Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 hours, adding additional boiling water as the stock evaporates;
Add Bay leaf, salt, and peppercorns and continue to simmer for an additional hour;
Remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm; strain stock through cheese cloth; set aside.
When ready to prepare the wonton soup, reheat the stock and add the sesame oil and soya sauce.
This recipe is time-consuming and can get messy at times-but, is it ever worth it!
For other authentic Chinese food recipes, I recommend Chinese Cuisine: Cantonese Style, edited by Lee-Hwa Lin.