“Wonton” is a Cantonese dish. Legends has it that when Northern Chinese-speaking people invaded and colonized the Yue/Viet (Malay-speaking people) people in the southeast (in today’s Guangdong and Fujian provinces) in around 100BC, they missed eating dumplings. Hence, using local products, they invented wontons, which are a variation of the northern meat dumplings.
Pronounced as “waan-taan”, these dumplings’ most important ingredient is fresh large prawns. In Cantonese, the word is written as 雲吞, meaning swallowed clouds, probably referring to the puffed-up appearance of wontons in clear broth.
My golden wontons are really popular during Chinese New Year. I once made a hundred of these and served them when family and friends came to visit. Somehow people believe anything that looks like gold will bring them wealth in the new year. Plus, these are delicious!
You may go: But these look more like boats. That is because Chinese silver and gold nuggets used to look like that. Since the Tang dynasty (8th century AD), nuggets of such form were in currency until the end of the Qing Dynasty in the 20th century.
I have done a step-by-step instruction with pictures, so that you can follow it to the dot.
- Wonton skin
- 1 egg
- 100g lean pork, minced
- 100g prawn meat, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 stalk spring onion, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 2tsp light soy sauce
- 2tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- Vegetable oil
Serving: Makes around 30 wontons
- Break your egg, separate the yolk from the egg white. Take a large bowl, mix your lean pork, prawn meat, garlic, spring onion together with egg white. Add in your seasoning: salt and pepper, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil. Set aside.
- Oil a large plate on which you will place your wontons.
- Take a wonton skin. Place a teaspoonful of meat filling in the centre. Put a bit of egg yolk on all the edges of the wonton skin. Fold the wonton skin into half along the edges, so that it forms a triangle. Take two ends along the folded side of the skin and pull them together, while making sure that the centre rounded part of the skin gets pushed up. Seal those two ends with egg yolk.
- Proceed to make as many wontons as you can. Make sure you do not add too much meat filling otherwise it is difficult to make the gold nugget form.
The quantity which I have indicated should form more or less 30 wontons.
What can you do with them?
You can either deep-fry them in oil and eat them with mayonnaise or ketchup, or cook them briefly in boiling water before adding them to clear chicken broth with noodles. If you cannot finish them, you can carefully wrap them up in cellophane wrap and freeze them for later use.
Enjoy your wontons!