Pork and coriander wontons

Wontons are one of the few things I’d make with my grandmother when I was young. I’d be watching her wrap them and she’d motion me over to join her. I loved sitting there companionably with my grandmother as we silently created dozens of dumplings for lunch.

A classic wonton recipe is really easy to find online and in cookbooks. They usually contain minced pork, prawns, shitake mushrooms and spring onions or slight variations on this. These pork and coriander wontons were inspired by a Northern Chinese style dumpling I had in a restaurant. They taste very fresh and lighter than the classic wonton due to a lower proportion of meat. Plus as a bonus for us lazy people, it’s less prep work!

Since I was taught to wrap wontons a certain way, I consider it the ‘correct’ method. So I’ve also included instructions on how to do this below. Enjoy!

Wonton filling should be half coriander (cilantro)

Wonton filling should be half coriander (cilantro)

Align the wonton pastry so it's a diamond

Align the wonton pastry so it’s a diamond

Place a small amount of filling towards the base of the diamond

Place a small amount of filling towards the base of the diamond

Roll pastry over filling until a small triangle remains at the top

Roll pastry over filling until a small triangle remains at the top, then twist the right and left sides across each other.

Ta-da!

Ta-da!

Pork and coriander wontons

Start recipe: 1 hour before eating
Serves: 8 hungry people

  • 2 x packets of wonton wrappers (choose the yellow squares made with egg)
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten (optional) – this is to bind the pastry when wrapping. You can choose to mix 1 teaspoon of cornflour with a splash of water to create a cornflour slurry instead.
  • 500 grams of minced pork
  • 1 thumb sized piece x ginger, minced
  • 2 x large bunches of coriander (preferably with roots attached)
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 1 x egg yolk (optional)

Filling:

  1. Chop the coriander finely, including roots which add a lot of flavour.
  2. Mix the coriander with the pork, salt, pepper, ginger, sesame oil (and optional egg yolk) in a large bowl – the filling will look very green and should seem to be almost half pork, half coriander. If not, add more coriander (it depends on how big your bunches are).

Wrapping:

  1. Place the wonton square so it’s aligned in a diamond shape. Place a small ball of filling near the bottom of the ‘diamond’. Try to keep the filling size consistent so they cook evenly. Resist the urge to overwrap – it’s best if the dumplings remain small.
  2. Take the bottom of the diamond and roll the pastry over the filling until you see a small triangle of pastry at the top of the diamond.
  3. With your finger, dab some egg white (or cornflour slurry) to end of the right side of the wonton. Now bring the left and right sides together below the ‘ball’ of filling, using the egg/cornflour to act as a glue. Place onto a plate.
  4. Continue to wrap wontons until you have no more filling, making sure to keep them in a single layer on the plate(s).
  5. Wontons can be pre-wrapped several hours beforehand but are best cooked within a couple of hours as moisture in the filling can make the pastry soggy and stick to the plate prior to cooking.

Cooking:

  1. Fill a large pot or wok with 2-3 litres of water and bring to a boil on high heat.
  2. Once boiling, drop in the wontons at about 10 at a time.
  3. Let it cook for 15 seconds and then stir the pot/wok with a wooden spoon to ensure the wontons aren’t sticking to the bottom.
  4. The wontons will rise to the surface of the water as they cook. Once this happens, continue to cook for another minute and then quickly remove.

Eating:

Serve in a flavourful chicken broth with a sprinkling of sliced spring onions & fresh coriander. It’s also common to include a handful of boiled Chinese egg noodles with the wonton soup. But why fill your stomach with noodles when you can eat more wontons? Let’s make the obvious choice here!

Otherwise to eat them as is, toss cooked wontons quickly with a tiny drizzle of sesame oil, half a teaspoon of soy sauce and chilli oil/sauce (amount to taste) to lightly dress.

Note: Uncooked wontons freeze beautifully. Place dumplings in a single layer onto a large plate and put in the freezer for at least 2 hours. Once frozen solid, place wontons into a freezer bag holding one portion each (if not serving with noodles, a serving is about 12 dumplings or up to 20 for the truly ravenous). To cook, drop frozen dumplings straight into boiling water and cook for an extra 2 minutes.

Wonton dumplings ready to cook

Wonton dumplings ready to cook

Wontons are cooked when they're floating

Wontons are cooked when they’re floating

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