Wontons in a Smoky Broth

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    3–4

    as a Starter

Appears in

My delightful friend Rachel is luckily rather little as she lives in the tiniest of apartments, in which she runs Paris’s smallest underground restaurant: La Petite Cuisine à Paris. From her family visits to Malaysia she remembers an old Chinese man riding his bike, which he had turned into a mobile kitchen, ringing his bell and shouting, ‘Wonton man is here!’ People would come out of their houses with empty bowls and return home with bowls of steaming Cantonese dumpling soup… cooler than a Mr Whippy.

Ingredients

For the Filling

  • 125g/oz raw prawns, shelled and deveined
  • 4tablespoons finely chopped bamboo shoots
  • 1teaspoon finely chopped spring onion (white part only, save the rest for the soup)
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon dry sherry
  • A pinch of white pepper

For the Wontons

  • 20—25 wonton skins (can be found in Asian supermarkets or bought online)

For the Smoky Bacon Broth

  • 200g/7oz smoky bacon
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • A pinch of sugar
  • 1 litre/ pints cold water

Method

Mince the prawns and mix with the rest of the filling ingredients. You can make the filling up to a day in advance and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge. Moisten the edges of one of the wonton skins with a little water and place a teaspoon of filling into the centre. Twist to seal the edges — the wonton should resemble a money bag. Repeat until all the filling is used.

Put the smoky bacon, salt, sugar and water into a pan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, then pour the liquid through a fine sieve to remove the bacon and little bits.

Bring the strained broth to a simmer again and add the wontons. Cook for 5 minutes. Divide the soup and dumplings between your bowls and garnish with finely sliced spring onions and a drizzle of soy sauce. For a spicy kick, serve with chilli sauce.

If you’re having this as a light lunch, add some roughly sliced pak choi or other green leafy vegetables of your choice to the broth at the same time as cooking the wontons.

To serve

  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • 2—4 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • Chilli sauce
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