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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Wonton Noodle Soup 云吞汤面

This wonton noodle soup is made in accordance with the one request put forward by hubby. Not so much of the Hong Kong type of wonton noodle I would say, and I reasoned this with the different kinds of wonton used to begin with. Those in Hong Kong comes with wontons wholly made of shrimps, while this is shrimps:pork = 1:1. Chewy noodle cooked al dante on a bed of shrimp wontons served in a savory broth is what one sees at first glance of a typical bowl of Hong Kong style wonton noodle. This, on the other hand, comes lined with a portion of Chinese barbequed pork (char siu) on top of all those aforementioned. This of course is not limited to just that, it could have been the roasted duck, roasted pork or any of these combinations.

A good bowl of Hong Kong version of wonton noodle soup has the savory broth made with dried flounder and shrimps, some with shark bones even. This featured here had used a broth made of anchovies and chicken instead (or some made with pork bones simply). And last but not least, bowls of wonton noodles in Hong Kong are deliberately sold in smaller portions, an effort made to ensure that the noodle texture stays the same throughout the dining experience or so it seems. The one here comes in the size of a typical bowl of noodle soup, probably measuring up to about twice of that in Hong Kong. All things considered, this is the wonton noodle soup more commonly seen in Malaysia, having come under the many influences of the local Chinese community there.  

wonton noodles, wontons and Chinese barbequed pork
The wontons made for this bowl of noodle soup somewhat resemble the extended and a more elaborated version of the Fried Pork and Shrimp Wonton that I had posted on a while ago - the same few basic ingredients but lightly further enhanced with some additional additives and seasonings. Firm, springy noodle served with a generous amount of plump wontons and Chinese barbequed pork in a savory soup balanced with a tad of sweetness, these make a simple dish with a satisfaction somehow not-as-simple describable.

Wonton Noodle Soup 云吞汤面
Serves 4
1/4lb ground pork
8 shrimps (weighing around 1/3lb), shelled and deveined
3 shiitake mushrooms, rinsed and soaked to soften then finely chopped
2 stalks spring onion, finely minced
1½" ginger, finely minced 
1½ tsp cilantro, finely chopped
1½ tsp Shaoxing wine
1 tsp light soy sauce
a pinch of salt 
1 tsp corn starch 
20 wonton wrappers
5 bundles of fresh wonton noodles (about 100g each)
1lb Chinese barbequed pork, thinly sliced
a bunch of Chinese mustard green (choy sum)
~ 2L anchovy stock   
400ml chicken stock (ready made)
a pot of boiling water 
enough pickled green chilies to serve alongside each bowl   
1 stalk spring onion, chopped for garnishing 

Meat marinade
a dash of white pepper powder
1 tsp light soy sauce  
1/2 tsp sesame oil   
1/2 tsp corn flour 

Shrimp marinade
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar     

1. Begin with making the wontons. Marinate the pork with the meat marinade and set aside. Coarsely chop the shrimps and marinade with salt and sugar. In a large bowl, combine the minced pork, shrimps, mushrooms, finely minced spring onion and cilantro. From the minced ginger, using hands, squeeze out as much ginger juice as possible into the bowl. Add in half of the remaining pulp into the bowl, discarding the rest. Add in the Shaoxing wine, light soy sauce, a pinch of salt and the corn starch. Mix well. 
2. With a wonton wrapper in hand, place about 2 tsps of filling and place right in the center of the wrapper. Bring two diagonal ends to meet, forming a triangle. Gently pushing the filling down, gather up the sides by baking small pleats around the filling forming a small pouch. Finish by pressing hard on the gathering point to seal or wet lightly to seal really well. Repeat with the rest of the fillings. Cover the wontons loosely to prevent them from drying out.

3. Wash and trim the Chinese mustard green. Have them cut into sections about 2" in length, separating the stems and leaves. Bring the anchovy and chicken stock to boil in a stock pot. Blanch first the stems before bringing in the leaves. Once wilted and turning slightly translucent, remove with a strainer, drain well and set aside. These Chinese green mustard with a sweet nature in itself would have added a tinge of sweetness to the broth in the end.

4. Bring a pot of water to boil. Drop in the wontons gently and stir to make sure that they do not adhere to one another. They are ready when the skin starts turning translucent, crinkled and then appear floating onto the surface. Scoop up the wontons with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl, lightly immersing them with some of the soup base. I have always prefered having the wontons cooked separately in another pot rather than boiling them with the stock. A personal preference of course, but this is done so to preserve the broth clarity instead of having them slighly clouded up from the starchy wonton wrappers.

5. Using the same pot of boiling water, loosen up the bundles of wonton noodle and let cook in the boiling water according to the package directions. Do not overcrowd the pot at anytime. Do in it batches if necessary. Once cooked al dante, drain and divide into the individual bowls. 

6. Ladle in the broth just enough to cover the noodles. Arrange on the side with some greens and top with the sliced barbequed pork. Distribute the wontons among the bowls. Garnish lightly with some chopped spring onions.
7. Serve with the pickled green chilies on the side.

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