Thursday, May 19, 2011

Huntun Tang (Wonton Soup)

Throughout the world, Wonton Soup is a dish as well known by name as Chow Mein, Chop Suey, and Sweet and Sour Pork.  In China, where it has been known for as many as 2,000 years, it is also popular everywhere, and has variations such as the Sichuanese Long Chao Shou.  The Chinese word huntun has some lyrical interpretations, such as the doubtful story that the dumplings were named after two tribal warriors in Ancient China named Hun and Tun.  In cantonese, the characters, pronounced similarly as wahn tan, 云吞, is translated as "swallowing clouds." Traditional variations include the addition of noodles, (huntun tang mian 馄饨 汤面), and of additional ingredients, such especially cabbage or spinach.

This recipe is quite easy to prepare, especially if you have chicken stock on hand.  It's not recommended to make the wonton skins from scratch, since the traditional recipe calls for such a thin wrapper.  Many good store-bought skins are available, even in Western supermarkets

50 -100 wonton skins
1/2# shrimp (Weigh after deveining and shelling) chopped coarsely
1/2# Pork, minced with cleaver
2 small green onion, minced
1 scant TAB soy
1 TAB rice wine
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
dash black pepper
1/2” x 3/4 “ pc peeled ginger, finely minced
2 tsp cornstarch
1 round tsp sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
--makes 50 to 70 wontons

Chop the shelled deveined shrimp; finely mince into a paste 1/3 or so of the chopped shrimp. Combine all the filling ingredients except sesame oil and stir vigorously and thoroughly in one direction until the mass coheres and is well blended. Add sesame oil and continue to mix until oil is incorporated.
Put a round tsp or so of filling in the center of the square wrapper and wet two adjacent edges.

Fold the wet edges over the filling, align with the opposite edge and press together securely to form a triangle. Now wet one of the pointed ends at the longest side, and pull it and the other point back around to make the two ends of the longest side overlap. Press the ends together, and the dumpling is completed. (You will need about 10 pcs for this recipe, but huntun can be arranged on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, frozen, bagged and frozen).

To make the Soup:

10 won ton
3 cups chicken stock (for 1 lg bowl or two small bowls)
3 very thin slices of ginger
3 small-med bai cai or napa cabbage leaves (or six small spinach leaves)
dash of white pepper
1/2 to 1 tsp of sugar to taste
Salt to taste.
1/2 green onion, thinly sliced on an extreme diagnonal for garnish
Sesame oil for garnish

Blanch cabbage leaves for 1-1/2 minute, drain and cut out thickest portion of spine and slice into 1” diagonal pieces. Set aside. Slice 1/2 green onion on sharp diagonal for garnish.
When you are almost ready to serve, begin heating the soup with ginger slices, salt, sugar and white pepper to a very gentle simmer, tasting and adjusting seasoning; in the meantime place approximately 10 dumplings into boiling water, stir occasionally, and cook for 2 1/2 minutes. Remove and cover for a few moments while the soup is prepared. As soon as the soup barely simmers, put the cabbage or spinach into a serving bowl or two individual bowls, then the wontons, and pour in the soup. Garnish with sliced onion and sesame oil.

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