Before I had my beautiful daughter, life was carefree! Sure, I’ll have another beer. Why not stay out late on a Saturday night? Hey, let’s go away for the weekend! I had so many opportunities to spend my extra money and extra time. Especially when I became sick. If I felt ill, all I had to do for a quick recovery was to take the day off, ingest cold medicine, sleep all day and make myself frozen wontons.
Now that I am a happily married mother of one busy toddler, I no longer am able to enjoy the same luxury of ‘taking a day off’. Sleep all day? HA! I barely get to sleep uninterrupted through the night. I barely get a chance to sit down in between chasing my daughter away from sticking her fingers into electrical sockets, confiscating markers (which she uses to draw on the floor and herself) and wrestling a toddler in the midst of a full tantrum off the local playground. Rest is for the childless.
So, in the past week, when I have been unfortunately under the weather, I took pleasure wherever and whenever I could. This included several helping of wontons cooked in a salty chicken broth with ginger and garlic. Those soft little noodle-skin parcels of seasoned pork and shrimp helped to warm my tired soul and soothe my cough. Forget the chicken soup-just give me a big bowl of these and I’ll feel better.
250g (~9 oz) pork shoulder (you can substitute with any other cut of pork just as long as it has a good amount of fat on it and isn’t too lean)
400g (~14oz) frozen shrimp (about 1.5 cups when defrosted, washed and drained)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp ginger (chopped and peeled)
5-7 cloves of garlic
1 cup of scallions (finely chopped)
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp Chinese celery* (finely chopped)
50-60 wonton wrappers
*If you can’t find Chinese celery, just substitute with celery leaves.
4 L (1 gallon) Chicken broth (I’ve used homemade chicken stock, pre-made chicken stock and bouillon cubes and all work great.)
7 cm/3 in of ginger (peeled and sliced thinly)
4-5 cloves of garlic (crushed)
a small handful of Chinese celery (roughly chopped)
1-2 large bunches of bak choy (washed with leaves removed from the base)
- Chop up pork shoulder into small pieces and add to a food processor along with ginger, garlic, celery, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, scallions, sugar and salt. Mix until smooth.
- When mixture is smooth with no big chunks of meat, add shrimp and mix until smooth.
- Add a teaspoon amount of filling to the center of the wonton wrapper.
- Using a pastry brush or the tips of your fingers, wet two connecting sides of the wrapper.
- Fold moistened edges over the day edges and seal together forming a triangle.
- Take edges of the triangle and pull center up and diagonal and fold one over the other. Wontons should look like it is hugging itself.
- Place on a flour surface or non-stick paper until ready to cook. If not cooking right away, place in freezer until ready to cook.
1.In a large pot or wok, bring to a boil chicken broth.
2. Add sliced ginger, crushed garlic and chopped celery. Let boil together for 5 minutes or so until broth has taken on the flavors of the ginger, garlic and celery.
3. Gently add wontons carefully to the broth and top with bok choy leaves.
4. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and let gently simmer for 15-20 minutes. DO NOT STIR. When it comes to cooking wontons, slow and steady is the way to go. If cooked at too vigorous of a boil, the wontons risk falling apart. So hold off on stirring it together until the very end so as to avoid broken wontons.