Recipe, Guide And Tips From A Hong Kong Kitchen
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3 Wonton Recipes From Different Parts Of China

Wonton, or Chinese dumpling, is a staple food popular throughout China. As a Cantonese I am proud to say that the word Wonton comes from Cantonese rather than Mandarin, as the dumplings were likely introduced to the West by early settlers in Chinatown, who came primarily from the Cantonese-speaking coastal cities in Southern China.

In Chinese, wonton means “swallowing clouds“. If you are familiar with Chinese art you may also find that the wonton, floating in the soup, resembles the traditional “spiral cloud” motif in Chinese handicrafts. One famous example: The Torch for the Beijing Olympics is known as the “Lucky Cloud Torch” in Chinese.

Wontons are slightly different in various part of China. May I give you an introduction?

Cantonese Wonton

The Cantonese wonton has a yellow wrapping (made from flour and egg: think pasta sheet) typically filled with minced pork and shrimp. The dumplings are usually served in egg noodles, a type of thin, very chewy (almost like rubber band) noodle prevalent in Southern China.

Interestingly, the preparation of the broth is an art in itself — all the best wonton shops have their own secret recipes for the soup base; but in general, shrimp shells is believed to be a major ingredient.

Shanghainese Wonton

shanghai wonton recipeThis type of Chinese dumpling has a white, thicker wrapping (made from flour only) and the filling includes minced pork and Shanghainese bok choy. In some variations chopped leeks and spring onions are added.

For the soup, the soup base is usually made from mixing soy sauce, water and a bit of seasoning, mostly to give color to the unappealing white appearance. (White is a taboo color for traditional Chinese because it is associated with death).

While minced pork remains the most popular ingredient, international cuisines have inspired a lot of new varieties: chicken with mushroom, carrot, beans with corn, preserved vegetables with black fungus… exciting!

Sichuan Wonton

Known as “Chao Shou” (crossed hands), they also have a white, relatively thick wrapping. Chao Shou is boiled and served in very, very spicy sauce, as in almost all Sichuan cuisine.

As to why this particular dumpling is called Chao Shou, I think its name originates from how it is wrapped: the wrapping is first folded into a triangular shape and the two sides of the triangle is brought to the front, overlapping each other, resembling a person folding his arms.

The Shanghainese wonton is also folded into a triangle, but a slight twist in the second folding gives it a lovely shape. For the Cantonese style, the wonton is simply wrapped by bringing the four corners together and squeeze. Cantonese wontons first appeared as street foods, and hawkers got to find the quickest way to wrap up the wontons.

You may have noticed that I never mention fried wontons. Yes, we never fry our wontons. They are boiled, then served in plate or in a bowl of broth. That’s why they are also known as the Wonton Soup.

FAQ

What’s the Difference Between Jiaozi (Gyoza) and Wonton?

Oh, they are different. Jiaozi, or Gyoza in Japanese, are basically potstickers: they have a thicker wrapping, with texture similar to thick ravioli wraps. They also take a longer, flatter, horn-like shape (”Jiao” sounds like “horn” in Mandarin).

Depending on the provinces in China you can taste jiaozi made from pork, beef, lamb, chicken or fish mixed with a wide variety of vegetables. They can be boiled, steamed, or pan-fried, and are served with dipping sauce. Red vinegar, soy sauce and chili sauce are among the most popular.

Want to make your own wonton now?

七月 4, 2011   No Comments

Pork Chop Noodle In Soup

Pork Chop Noodle in soup

This delightful meal is great for the summer! Children love it — as long as the pork chop is tender enough. The trick is to pound it using the back of the Chinese chopper.

Ingredients and Measurement

Ingredients

  • 2/3 lb pork chop
  • Spring onions, chopped
  • Noodles
  • Chicken broth as soup
  • Good for 1-2 adults and 2 young kids

Pork Chop Marination

  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 2/3 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp rice wine
  • 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 egg (or 1 small egg will do)
  • 1.5 Tbsp corn starch

Tip #1: Get Fresh And Premium Pork Chop

pork noodle soup: measuring ingredient

I mentioned all over my site that you need good ingredients to make a good meal. Having said that, good ingredients doesn’t need to be expensive, and pricy ingredients may not equal good quality.

In the case of pork chop, or pork in general, it’s be best if you can get a piece that looks freshly cut i.e. the cross section should have a very thin layer of moisture on it. The meat is to have a natural pink color, the fat portion creamy white and the surface should shine with a healthy luster. If the fat looks yellowish, it means the meat has been cut for quite a while.

We bought 1 lb of pork chop for our family of four – J, myself, Big M (6 years old) and Little M (2.5 years old).

Preparation Before The Cooking

If you buy pork chop from a Chinese wet market, some nice vendors will offer pounding the pork chop you. However, I prefer to do my pounding at home because it is better to wash the meat first before pounding (and with my own nice and clean chopper).

Quickly wipe the pick chop with paper towel.

Tip #2: Pound And Slap!

pork noodle soup: how to choose fresh pork

Pound pork chops well. How? Using the back of the Chinese chopper, hammer each pork chop vertically first (about 0.5cm apart for each “pound”), then repeat horizontally…

pork noodle soup: pounding a critical step

… and finish with a big slap using the side of the chopper. Try it and you will notice that the weight of the Chinese chopper makes it an excellent hammer.

Do take some time to do the pounding properly, because this is the most critical part of this recipe. The rest is quick and easy.

Marinating The Pork Chop

Now, marinate the pork chop based on the measurement above.

pork chop noodle: how to marinate

Tips on an even and thorough marination:

Sugar is very hard to dissolve under room temperature. It is better to put salt, sugar, and light soya sauce in a measuring cup and the microwave it for 10 seconds (don’t over heat the soya sauce or else it will be spoiled). Stir until the salt and sugar dissolves.

Wine evaporates quickly, so I wouldn’t include it in the microwave heating.

After the marination is done, let the meat sit for at least 15 minutes (can be longer if weather isn’t too hot).

Cooking The Noodle

While we let the meat sit, let’s cook the noodles first. I like to use the Shanghai-nese rice noodles which is  shown here, because its mild taste goes well with the savory pork chops. But many other types of noodles, even spaghetti, are good choices.

I usually prepare:

  • 4 oz for J
  • 3.5 oz for me
  • 2 oz of Big M
  • 1 oz for Little M

But I run out of white noodles today so we settle with 8 ounces. Which is fine because we tend to eat less on hot summer days.

Pork noodle soup: how much noodle to cook?

Bring water to boil with a pinch of salt so the noodle will stay firm. Note: white noodles need to be attended because it easily overboils. It should be stirred occasionally as well so the noodles won’t get stuck to the bottom of the pot.

After cooking for 8-10 minutes (for white noodles — for other types you can pinch the noodle to test the firmness), wash and soak in cold water for a refreshing bath. This will prevent the noodle from getting too sticky and soggy.

pork noodle soup: cooking the noodle

Drain well, then mix with some oil (same reason: so the noodle won’t stick together). Dish on bowl.

It’s Pork Chop Time

Take out your drying pan and deep fry in hot oil until well-cooked. I normally don’t use the big wok because I tend to waste a lot of oil using that. But if you don’t mind the wastage it works just as well, if not better.

Pork chop noodle: how to fry the pork chop

After the pork chop turns golden in color, take out and drain. Cut into smaller pieces if preferred.

pork chop noodle - frying the pork

Final Step

Boil up stock and season to taste. You can use any soup such as chicken broth or left-over Chinese soup you had the day before. I simply boil some veggie (with some salt and oil) and retain the water for a light veggie soup.
pork noodle soup: how to prepare the pork chop
Pour in soup, and add pork chop. Sprinkle in spring onions and if preferred, spice up with a dash of sesame oil.

Here Is The Pork Chop Noodle — Pleasing To The Eyes… And The Taste Bud!

Pork Chop Noodle in soup

Final tip: the pork chop itself makes great afternoon snacks!

 

七月 4, 2011   No Comments