Wednesday, May 12, 2010

International Incident Party - Dumplings

It's not a stretch to say that penny aka jeroxie is somewhat of a legend in the Melbourne food blogging community, and I was lucky enough to meet her recently. I am very excited to pack my little pink beauty case and jet off to her latest International Incident Party, where we will be being wanton with dumplings.

I do love how Penny encourages crazy variation on a theme. If you didn't know, I do have three dumplings of my own, and they are wont to split at the seams at the most inappropriate moments. This puts some constraints on my cooking flights of fancy, but at the same time, my three kids inspire me to weave interesting, healthy, multicultural things into our nightly meals. Wontons are a favourite of theirs, as they can help make them and they taste absolutely divine.

First, you will need to make the broth. Anh of A Food Lover's Journey recently told me that in Vietnam, the "first test" of a wife is whether she can make a good broth, followed by the quality of her nuoc mam cham (dipping sauce).

Chicken Broth (Canh)

Note this makes a huge quantity! It's so delicious, though, and great to freeze.

Chicken carcasses (12 frames or around 2.5 kg meaty bones)
Large knob of ginger, roughly chopped
About 5 cloves of garlic, bashed with a cleaver
Bunch of spring onions, white parts only
White sugar
Fish sauce
Light soy sauce

Place chicken, ginger, garlic and spring onions in a large pot and fill with water. Bring to the boil and then simmer on very low heat, uncovered, for at least 3 hours. Strain through a colander into a very large bowl and leave on the bench to cool overnight.

Before and after removing fat

Early next morning, place into the fridge. After about 8 hours, the fat will have congealed into a solid white "raft" that you can easily lift off and discard. Don't stress if you don't get it all.  Line a colander with a piece of muslin or an old teatowel and pour the broth through it into a clean pot.  Bring to the boil, and season very well. I use a ratio of probably 40:30:20:10 salt:sugar:fish sauce:light soy sauce. Mmm, chicken broth... so nourishing to body and soul.


2 x 150g packets wonton wrappers (from the fridge of any Asian grocer)
300g pork mince
10 prawns
3 spring onions, chopped
2 Tb finely chopped ginger
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 Tb light soy sauce
1 Tb fish sauce
1 Tb Shao Hsing cooking wine
1 Tb oyster sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp cornflour

Remove wonton wrappers from fridge. Place all ingredients (except wonton wrappers and cornflour) in a food processor and process to a semi-coarse paste.

Now, dissolve cornflour in about 1 Tb water in a small dish. Set up a tray dusted with cornflour and have a damp teatowel ready to cover the dumplings as you make them.

1. Place a teaspoonful of filling in the centre of the wrapper.
2. Using your finger, paint a small amount of cornflour mixture around the top edge and halfway down each side.
3. Fold the bottom part of the wrapper up over the filling and press to seal, making a rectangle.
4. Next, fold the top margin of the rectangle over, using both index fingers (one of mine had to hold the camera!)
5. Now, the tricky bit - sticking the bottom corners together. Here's a video of how it's done:

6. Make sure you use just a little dab of cornflour to stick the corners together, and fold them to one side so they sit flat. Place wontons on the cornflour-dusted tray and cover with a damp teatowel so they don't dry out.

Tricky? You will get better with time. Really, though, it does not matter what shape you do the wontons, as long as the filling is safely enclosed. The kids love to help me (although do be prepared for cornflour EVERYWHERE!)

Setting out wrappers for Mum to fill; "painting" cornflour around edges (with a clean paintbrush)

Next, cook whatever accompaniments you would like, in the simmering broth (such as green vegetables, noodles etc - make sure you cook the noodles really al dente as they will continue to cook when you add the broth at the end).  Remove each ingredient as it is done and place in individual bowls.  Cook the wontons last for about 5-6 minutes (you can always remove one and chop in half to check they are done).  Add to the bowls, ladle over hot broth, and garnish with chilli, chopped spring onion (green part), and fried shallots.

The translation of wonton is "swallowing clouds", and this soup really puts me on Cloud Nine.  Thank you Penny for hosting, and I look forward to seeing everyone else's heavenly creations!


  1. **blushes** thanks for the compliment :) And can I say I LOVE your canh. did you see how many bowls I drank that day?

    Thanks for flying to this party ;)

  2. Glad you joined the party - good work on the wontons! You must have a massive stock pot - 12 carcasses! Must've been a sublime stock :D

  3. I simply love kids in the kitchen!

  4. Woow! I didn't realise chicken broth was such an involved process. Such tasty-looking wontons too.
    Your cornflour-painting helpers are adorable :)

  5. Ah, getting cornflour everywhere is totally a legitimate part of the process.

    Looks like you would make a fine wife in Vietnam!

  6. Those wonton dumplings do look quite heavenly!

  7. Ah so fun to get the kids involved. great results on the wontons!

  8. That soup looks so good! Lucky, you got to meet our party hostess! Someday ...

  9. "Swallowing clouds" - I love it. Your soup looks awesome!

  10. Ha! I was wondering if you would post the Canh recipe! That alone is worth all the efforts! :)

  11. Great job! You look like you have some great kitchen help :)

  12. Penny - thank you for hosting! Look forward to the next one.

    Agnes - erm, I have two massive stockpots! *blush* Stock-makers Anonymous, sign up here.

    Shirley - it's so fun, isn't it. You just have to remember to BREATHE through all the mess!

    Emma - it doesn't have to be that involved. You can get good results just by boiling for an hour, straining, and you're done. I am just particular ;)

    Conor - ...except I can't make nuoc mam cham to save myself. ;)

    5 Star Foodie - thank you! It is just such comfort food to me.

    Evelyne - it is fun. They love it, and they don't bug me too much if they are being included.

    Trix - thank you! I hope you get to meet Penny too one day.

    Mardi - thank you so much.

    Anh - yes! I thought more people would like to read about dumplings in soup than soup after balut. ;)

    Kurichan - yum back at you!

    Casey - thank you! I do have little kitchen fairies. Fingers in everything!

  13. There is nothing like making your own stock (or in this instance I should say canh)

    Great work on being wanton with your dumplings!

    Hi Lauren. I'm an old Ascot Vale boy, pretty much in your backyard. Yep! You've done a terrific job with this recipe. It looks a picture and the taste must be divine. Thanks.

  15. Hi Amateur Cook! It is great. I would say I now cook the noodles separately after learning they have a kind of alkaline taste from the water used (to give "spring") and you need to cook and rinse them separately, ie in boiling water. Apart from that it is still a winner!


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