I would normally not attempt making wontons at home. It looks tedious and living in Singapore meant that it was easy to find a local neighbourhood restaurant that did a good version.
I owe my wonton making to a friend – Xun, with whom a few of us did a casual Chinese cooking lesson several years ago. It was eye-opening in many ways, and as it turned out making wonton soup wasn’t that difficult. It’s easy to find frozen (and fresh in Singapore) wrappers which makes the whole thing a darn sight easy.
The broth or stock is key, so use either homemade stock or a good quality shop bought one. Nothing from a cube or a powder will work.
I recall Xun finely hand-chopping the pork (with a massive meat cleaver!). I am sure it tasted the better for it. However, to save time and chopping, I do buy ready mince pork. Feel free to be a purist. Xun also cooked the wontons in boiling water and then placed them in the clear stock. That does create a perfect looking soup. I cook the wantons directly in the simmering stock as I wanted to simplify the process for a weekday meal.
Another little trick I learned from Xun is to cook a small dollop of the filling before filling all the wantons, to check and taste seasoning. The measurements of the seasonings are approximations and the seasoning light. Therefore it’s quite important to taste and balance the flavours before filling the wrappers.
Homemande Wonton Soup
This is a foundation recipe. Experiment with other additions like prawns, mushrooms or use other greens. Also to make the dish more substantial, add some rice or egg noodles or more vegetables to the soup base.
Blanch the pak choy or Shanghai greens for 2 minutes in boiling water. Drain, squeeze out excess water and mince / chop very finely.
In a mixing bowl place all the ingredients for the filling. Using your hands mix all the ingredients together very thoroughly.
Drop a teaspoon of the filling into a small pan of boiling water (or microwave for a 1 minute or so). Cook and taste seasoning and adjust as needed.
Now fill the wontons as shown in the photos. Place a heaped teaspoonful of filling in the top third of the wrapper. Moisten the edges using your fingers dipped in a bowl of water. Fold over to create a rectangle. Then bring the 2 corners (not the folded side) together to create a boat shape. If the wrapper splits, it’s easy to patch up with another piece of wrapper. It will hold up during the cooking.
The filled wantons can be stored under a moist tea cloth or cling wrap in the fridge for 1-2 hours. (You can see some that have been patched up!)
When you are ready to cook, bring the chicken stock to boil in a large saucepan. Add the greens if using. Season with salt, pepper, dash of sugar and a little soy sauce if needed, depending on the saltiness of your broth.
Gently drop the wontons into the stock. The moment they float to the top, they are cooked and ready to serve. See the bottom photo.
Divide amongst large soup bowls, garnish with spring onion & coriander and serve hot.