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
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
2 x 150g packets wonton wrappers (from the fridge of any Asian grocer)
300g pork mince
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)
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!