Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Beijing Wontons in Rich Broth

This month's Cook the Books Club selection was The Last Chinese Chef, an adult adventure and romance that rises out of the sudden widow-hood of a childless food writer and her subsequent trip to China. There she takes part in the dual projects of investigating a paternity suit against her late husband and covering the story of a Chinese-American chef who is competing for a place in the Beijing Olympic culinary competition.
A tapestry of food and history unfolds in this book that delights the senses as well as the heart, a wonderful summer read. For my cooking selection, I chose Beijing Wontons in Rich Broth. A delicious meal that my family loved. Enjoy!

Beijing Wonton Tang
Beijing Wontons in Rich Broth
Cecelia Chaing, The Seventh Daughter

5 ounces ground pork shoulder
1 tsp peeled, minced fresh ginger
1 tsp minced green onion
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp Asian sesame oil
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
Flour, for dusting
2 large eggs, lightly beaten (I don't know why she calls for two, one was more than enough)
1 package wonton wrappers
Homemade chicken broth, simmered with ginger
Thin sliced green onions, for garnish (I used Chinese chives)
*If you like spicy (as I do) drizzle the soup with hot chili oil

To make the filling, combine the pork, ginger, green onion, salt, sesame oil, wine, and soy sauce in a bowl until well combined. Using your hands, gently mix together all of the ingredients just until combined. You want the filling to be a little loose.

To assemble the wontons, lightly dust a rimmed baking sheet with flour and set it aside. Open the package of wontons and cover with a lightly dampened towel so the skins don't dry out. For each wonton, hold a wrapper in one hand so it looks like a diamond rather than a square and place 1 tsp of the filling in the center. Dip a finger in the water and run it along the perimeter of the diamond, then fold the wrapper up so the bottom point meets the top point, forming a triangle. Press the edges closed and using your finger again, dab a little egg on the two opposite side points of the long edge of the triangle. Bring the two points together to they overlap, and press to seal. Place the wonton on the floured baking sheet and repeat with the remaining wrappers. At this point, the wontons should be cooked within an hour.

For four servings, bring 3 to 4 quarts of water or chicken broth to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Carefully drop in 8-12 wontons, decrease the heat to medium-low to maintain a lively simmer, and cook until they float to the top, about 2 minutes.

To serve, place 2 or 3 wontons in the bottom of 4 small soup bowls, ladle a 1/2 cup or so of the broth over the wontons, and garnish with a sprinkle of sliced green onions. (I put in about 8, this was dinner for my hungry family!)

Delicious Beijing Wontons in Rich Broth for Souper Sunday.