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Pictorial: Cantonese Wonton Noodle Soup


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How about a nice chicken stock? 1 chicken, spring onions, ginger, and some time to gently simmer to develop the flavor. You can also try this with pork bones or a mix of parboiled chicken and pork.

I don't salt the stock since I never quite know what I'm going to do with a batch.

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I also use a light, clear chicken stock flavoured with a little bruised ginger, scallions, sesame oil, and cilantro. I don't like a strong soup broth as it might over power the often subtle flavours of the wontons.

-- Jason

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Unless you are making a big pot of chicken stock, 1 chicken seems extravagant.

Keep packages of fresh chicken necks, backs, and fresh carcasses in the freezer. When you have a hankering for chicken stock for wonton soup or whatever, throw some into a pot with slices of bruised ginger.

If you want to make a big pot of stock, you can use a whole chicken. Bring water to a boil, add slices of ginger and the chicken. Bring everything to a boil again, then simmer until the chicken is just done. This will give you full flavoured stock as well as "bak jam gai" for a main course! :smile:



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If you are making the wanton then you might want to save some of the shrimp shells for the stock. For a easy soup, just make basic chicken stock with some ginger, and sprinkle some young chives when serving. The more traditional soup is made with pork bone, da dee fish(大地魚), and dried shrimp roe.

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The tradition at our house is to always add Chinese seaweed and chinese greens to our wonton broth.

Chinese seaweed...the purple/greenish sheets used for making soup- jee choy? (or dee toi in Toisanese). I've never tried that. :hmmm:

I too add Chinese greens to my wonton soup, such as yeu choy or Shanghai bak choy.

If I don't have either in the house, romaine or iceberg lettuce will suffice.

For more flavour, I may also add slices of lapcheung. I prefer cilantro to green onions, and I must have chili oil and sesame oil with mine.



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Yes, the purplish/greenish stuff. We buy it as a big round disk of tangled dried seaweed, not pressed flat sheets like the japanese stuff. It's wonderful in all sorts of asian light broths, especially seafood inspired ones. A favourite simple soup is spring onion and dark soy quickly seared, then covered with water, seaweed, chinese greens, vermicelli and an egg stirred in near the end. Top with sesame seed oil and cilantro.

PS: I am a guy.

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Lap Cheung in wonton soup?  In the broth or in the filling? 

*drools*  Ahhh, lap cheung.  Shoot, why no thread on lap cheung?  =)

I put slices of lapcheung into the broth to cook at the same time as the wontons.

This adds flavour to the broth. The wonton filling is ground pork, shrimp, waterchestnuts and seasonings. This is enough for flavours inside.

Check here for a pic of the wonton soup from my foodblog last summer. :smile:




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I add a bit of Yunnan ham (or ham bone) to my chicken broth (which I usually make from bones, not the whole chicken). In the States you'd have to use Smithfield. I learned this tip from one of Florence Lin's books (the fabulous one on dumplings and breads). Not too much because the flavour shouldn't be overwhelming, just enough to deepen the flavour and add some salt.

Edited by aprilmei (log)
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  • 1 year later...

Cantonese Wonton Noodle Soup (鮮蝦雲吞麵)

Being a native Cantonese, I grew up eating wonton noodles. To us, this is the ultimate comfort food. Making wonton at home takes a little bit of work. But having the freshly wrapped wonton in soup with noodles as good as those made in Chinatown right at home is well worth the efforts. Involve your young children in wrapping the wontons. It is quite fun for kids. That's right, just like wrapping ravioli.

If you make more filling than you can consume in one meal, I would advise to freeze the filling and the wonton wrappers separately in the freezer. Wrap the wontons only shortly before you cook them.

Picture of the finished dish:


Serving Suggestion: 4 to 5



Main ingredients (from left, clockwise):

- 1 lb of ground pork

- 1 lb of shrimp with shell (or without shell)

- 2 stalks of green onions

- about 10 prigs of cilantro

- 1 package of Cantonese wonton wrappers

- 1 package of Cantonese egg noodles (see next picture)

- (not shown) some fresh vegetables

Typically wontons are made from fatty ground pork. I personally like to use lean pork. Adjust this for your personal taste. You may also use ground chicken or ground turkey in place of the ground pork. The typical ratio of ground pork to shrimp is about 1 to 1 by weight.


These are the egg noodles and wonton wrappers (wonton skins) that I like. In choosing the best noodles: the noodles should look yellow (from the eggs), not white (without eggs); very thin; prepared fresh and sold in the refrigerator section (versus the dried noodles). The wonton wrappers should also look yellow (from the eggs) and thin. There are many kinds of "dumpling" wrappers. Do not buy the thick, white dumpling wrappers that are only suitable for Northern Chinese dumplings (which are also called wonton).

I prefer to wrap small wontons and have more of them in a serving than to wrap big wontons and have few of them.


Trim off the shrimp head. Shell and devein each shrimp. Depends on the size of the shrimp you get. With the size of the shrimp shown in the picture, cut the shrimp into halves or 3 pieces.


Place all the shrimp pieces in a bowl. Marinate them with 1-2 tsp of sesame oil, 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of corn starch. Mix well.


Use a medium size mixing bowl. Add the ground pork. Add 1 tsp of sesame oil, 1/2 tsp of ground white pepper, 1-2 tsp of ShaoHsing cooking wine, 1-2 tsp of light soy sauce, 1-2 tsp of corn starch and a pinch of salt (suggest: 1/4 tsp).


Mix all the ingredients well.


At the end, combine the marinated shrimp with the ground pork.


Mix well again.


Prepare some fresh vegetables with the wonton noodle soup. Here I used some Taiwanese bok choy. In general, prepare about 1 stalk of small vegetable per person.


In the restaurants, they like to cut these vegetables lengthwise into 4 quarters because that's better for presentation. I found that a lot of dirt can be trapped where the leaf paddle joins the stem.

At home, I like to peel off each leaf and wash it under running water to get rid of the dirt.


Take each "ball" of egg noodle out of the package and shake it loose, make it fluffy before cooking.


To wrap the wontons: Take the wonton wrappers out of the plastic package, about 20 or so at a time. Break one egg and beat it well. Use this as a "glue" for the wrapper.


To make each wonton wrapper separate easier during wrapping, fan out the wrappers. Grab the stack of wrappers between your left thumb and index finger. Hold tight. Grab the other side of the stack between your right thumb and index finger. Twist your left and right wrists in opposite directions a few times. The wrappers will fan out nicely.


To wrap each wonton: first lay a sheet of wonton wrapper flat on your palm.


Use a small spoon, dip into the bowl of beaten egg, and use the back side of the spoon to spread a thin layer of beaten egg on top of the wrapper.


Use another spoon to scoop up some wonton filling and place on top of the wrapper. Try to get one or 2 pieces of shrimp in the filling.


Curl up your fingers towards your palm.


Use the other hand to give the edge of the wrapper a few pinches to close the top of the wonton.


Continue to wrap the rest of the wontons. As a general guideline, prepare about 7 to 12 wontons per serving, depending on the size of your wontons and how hungry your family is. Here I wrapped about 2 dozens of wontons.


Trim and finely chop the green onions and cilantro. Put them in a bowl to serve as a condiment at the dinner table.

Cooking Instructions:


I fully utilize the multiple burners of my stove. On one, start boiling 2 cans of chicken broth. (Typically prepare about 1 can of chicken broth per serving.)


Use a medium size pot, boil about 1/2 pot of water on a second burner. First add the vegetables.


Boil the vegetable for about 2 to 3 minutes until soft. Remove and drain off excess water.


Use the same pot of hot water for boiling the noodles. Wait until the water starts boiling again. Add the egg noodles. Cook until el dante, about 2 to 3 minutes.


Use a third pot to boil 1/2 pot of water. This is for cooking the wontons. I like to keep the wontons separate from the noodles. Definitely don't use the chicken broth to boil the noodles. Use plain water to boil the noodles and discard the water afterwards.

The wontons take about 3 to 4 minutes to cook through in boiling water. When done, they will float to the top as shown in the picture. Be sure to use a pair of chopsticks or a wooden spoon to stir and separate the wontons occassionally during cooking so they won't stick together.


When the noodles are el dante, remote from the pot and run some cold water over it. Drain off the excess water.


To assemble the wonton noodle soup: Use a medium/large size soup bowl, place the noodles at the bottom.


Add the cooked vegetables.


Scoop the cooked wontons into the bowl (but not the water).


Finally, add the boiling chicken broth onto the bowl. Serve immediately.

(Picture of the finished dish)

Add a few drops of sesame oil on top when served. Condiments: Chopped green onions and cilantro, ground white pepper, light soy sauce and red vinegar.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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That wonton soup looks great! Ah Leung. I love Shanghai bak choi with mine as well.

The only differences between your recipe and mine are the finely chopped waterchestnuts in my filling, and my way of wrapping.

I have a 2 cup mini-chopper, and I use it to chop up the shrimp and waterchestnuts. I find it easier to wrap. Instead of cornstarch, I mix up the ingredients with my mixer, or beating it by hand to give it the "springy mouth feel".

When we had the restaurant, we'd make up the filling with 40 lbs of ground pork, 1 large restaurant-size can of waterchestnuts, 5 lbs of shrimp, etc. My son had the job of chopping up the shrimp and waterchestnuts by hand, using 2 cleavers.

I have a picture of my soup in the blog I did acouple years ago. Had to scale down the recipe for Jason Perlow as he didn't want to make 50 lbs of wonton filler! :laugh::laugh:

For even more flavour, I sometimes add slices of lap cheung when I add the wontons.

I don't like to wash up, so I just use one pot: cook up the noodles, rinse the pot, bring stock to boil, add wontons, lap cheung, vegetables, serve over noodles topped with a dollop of ma la oil.



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That wonton soup looks great! Ah Leung. I love Shanghai bak choi with mine as well.

The only differences between your recipe and mine are the finely chopped waterchestnuts in my filling, and my way of wrapping.

I have a 2 cup mini-chopper, and I use it to chop up the shrimp and waterchestnuts. I find it easier to wrap. Instead of cornstarch, I mix up the ingredients with my mixer, or beating it by hand to give it the "springy mouth feel".

When we had the restaurant, we'd make up the filling with 40 lbs of ground pork, 1 large restaurant-size can of waterchestnuts, 5 lbs of shrimp, etc. My son had the job of chopping up the shrimp and waterchestnuts by hand, using 2 cleavers.

I have a picture of my soup in the blog I did acouple years ago. Had to scale down the recipe for Jason Perlow as he didn't want to make 50 lbs of wonton filler! :laugh:  :laugh:

For even more flavour, I sometimes add slices of lap cheung when I add the wontons.

I don't like to wash up, so I just use one pot: cook up the noodles, rinse the pot, bring stock to boil, add wontons, lap cheung, vegetables, serve over noodles topped with a dollop of ma la oil.


Would you please advise us of your receipe for: "Ma La Oil" it took me quite a while to learn it's nuances and the one available on the internet doesn't even come close to my remembered taste from Hong Kong.


I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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I like the idea of cutting the shrimp into chunks instead of dicing them.

Aren't some yellow wrappers made that color from red dye #6 and not eggs? I often read the lable and not all have egg, but are yellow in color. I like the egg flavored ones better. Better flavor and texture.

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Ah Leung,

You mentioned to me that ground turkey was an option for your wontons. What do you mix it with? Still shrimp?

I have made wontons with ground chicken, chopped waterchestnuts and ginger.

Just doesn't "do it" for me, but my Muslim friends appreciate it.

Wesza: For ma la oil, I slice up shallots, garlic , slivers of ginger, and Thai chili peppers. On medium high heat, bring a pot with peanut oil to a point where a piece of shallot will sizzle when added. Carefully add all the fresh ingredients and take the pot off the stove.

Let the ingredients continue to cook in the oil, cool and bottle.

For the restaurant, I used canola oil as we often used the ma la oil to cook rather than flavour. I have been known to add habanero peppers or crushed dried chili peppers if fresh ones were not available. You can add szechuan peppercorns also for the numbing effect.

The shallot, garlic and ginger will look burnt, but they taste really good when you bite into a bit...nutty flavour.

A note of caution: GOOD VENTILATION is a must when making this stuff.

I haven't made any for a long time...not since I found Saigon Chili Oil at the Chinese grocery. It's got lots of cayenne chili peppers and garlic.



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Neat.  I like wontons.  I wrap them a little bit differently.  Instead of smushing the top in like a siu mai, I fold it in half into a triangle, and then connect the two corners, similar to a tortellini.

That's what I've done, too. Or fold in half to a rectangle, pull the tails together, and make a nurses cap. OR using a wooden depressor, put the mix on the depressor, put the wonton over it and pull the whole thing off, squeezing the filling in.

But, it looks like hzrt's method looks nice and quick. I'm going to give that way a try.

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Thank you all for your comments and kind words.

Aren't some yellow wrappers made that color from red dye #6 and not eggs? I often read the lable and not all have egg, but are yellow in color. I like the egg flavored ones better. Better flavor and texture.

Food dye? I never thought of it. I supposed it's possible. I never really read the fine prints on the package (if they state it at all). We get the same kind of noodles in Hong Kong though.

The reason why I separate the soup and noodle/wonton boiling water: These noodles (and wonton wrappers too) bear a lot of soda-based substances. The taste is a bit nasty. While I can use the same boiling water for wontons and noodles, definitely keep the soup separate.

And my father-in-law, as many other Chinese do too, eats these noodles with a spoonful of red vinegar. They believe in neutralizing the alkaline substances with acid to avoid kidney stones.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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      This is what available in the markets and supermarkets in the winter months - i.e now. I'll update as the year goes by.
      December sees the arrival of what most westerners deem to be the standard mushroom – the button mushroom (小蘑菇 xiǎo mó gū). Unlike in the west where they are available year round, here they only appear when in season, which is now. The season is relatively short, so I get stuck in.

      The standard mushroom for the locals is the one known in the west by its Japanese name, shiitake. They are available year round in the dried form, but for much of the year as fresh mushrooms. Known in Chinese as 香菇 (xiāng gū), which literally means “tasty mushroom”, these meaty babies are used in many dishes ranging from stir fries to hot pots.

      Second most common are the many varieties of oyster mushroom. The name comes from the majority of the species’ supposed resemblance to oysters, but as we are about to see the resemblance ain’t necessarily so.

      The picture above is of the common oyster mushroom, but the local shops aren’t common, so they have a couple of other similar but different varieties.
      Pleurotus geesteranus, 秀珍菇 (xiù zhēn gū) (below) are a particularly delicate version of the oyster mushroom family and usually used in soups and hot pots.

      凤尾菇 (fèng wěi gū), literally “Phoenix tail mushroom”, is a more robust, meaty variety which is more suitable for stir frying.

      Another member of the pleurotus family bears little resemblance to its cousins and even less to an oyster. This is pleurotus eryngii, known variously as king oyster mushroom, king trumpet mushroom or French horn mushroom or, in Chinese 杏鲍菇 (xìng bào gū). It is considerably larger and has little flavour or aroma when raw. When cooked, it develops typical mushroom flavours. This is one for longer cooking in hot pots or stews.

      One of my favourites, certainly for appearance are the clusters of shimeji mushrooms. Sometimes known in English as “brown beech mushrooms’ and in Chinese as 真姬菇 zhēn jī gū or 玉皇菇 yù huáng gū, these mushrooms should not be eaten raw as they have an unpleasantly bitter taste. This, however, largely disappears when they are cooked. They are used in stir fries and with seafood. Also, they can be used in soups and stews. When cooked alone, shimeji mushrooms can be sautéed whole, including the stem or stalk. There is also a white variety which is sometimes called 白玉 菇 bái yù gū.


      Next up we have the needle mushrooms. Known in Japanese as enoki, these are tiny headed, long stemmed mushrooms which come in two varieties – gold (金針菇 jīn zhēn gū) and silver (银针菇 yín zhēn gū)). They are very delicate, both in appearance and taste, and are usually added to hot pots.


      Then we have these fellows – tea tree mushrooms (茶树菇 chá shù gū). These I like. They take a bit of cooking as the stems are quite tough, so they are mainly used in stews and soups. But their meaty texture and distinct taste is excellent. These are also available dried.

      Then there are the delightfully named 鸡腿菇 jī tuǐ gū or “chicken leg mushrooms”. These are known in English as "shaggy ink caps". Only the very young, still white mushrooms are eaten, as mature specimens have a tendency to auto-deliquesce very rapidly, turning to black ‘ink’, hence the English name.

      Not in season now, but while I’m here, let me mention a couple of other mushrooms often found in the supermarkets. First, straw mushrooms (草菇 cǎo gū). Usually only found canned in western countries, they are available here fresh in the summer months. These are another favourite – usually braised with soy sauce – delicious! When out of season, they are also available canned here.

      Then there are the curiously named Pig Stomach Mushrooms (猪肚菇 zhū dù gū, Infundibulicybe gibba. These are another favourite. They make a lovely mushroom omelette. Also, a summer find.

      And finally, not a mushroom, but certainly a fungus and available fresh is the wood ear (木耳 mù ěr). It tastes of almost nothing, but is prized in Chinese cuisine for its crunchy texture. More usually sold dried, it is available fresh in the supermarkets now.

      Please note that where I have given Chinese names, these are the names most commonly around this part of China, but many variations do exist.
      Coming up next - the dried varieties available.
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