Monday, October 14, 2013

Shanghainese Wontons

My mum's Shanghainese, and I've grown up eating many delicacies that Shanghainese cuisine is known for, such as braised bamboo shoots, stewed meatballs with vegetables, beancurd skin strips with Chinese ham and pork and Shanghainese rice dumplings, which are long not triangular in shape. Even hairy crabs are something that we would dig into every year, at home. Grandmummy would buy from her favourite Shanghainese shop in Causeway Bay (they lived in Hong Kong) and would estimate about two to three crabs for each adult, depending on the size. Then she would steam it at home, and at the dinner table, we will proceed to break and tear open the crabs ourselves. There's even a tradition of young children eating the legs first, before advancing to the main body when they get older. The whole meal would just be of crabs, maybe an additional vegetable dish, but nothing more. I've never eaten hairy crabs in a restaurant; it's just better and more appetizing to 'attack' the crab yourself, rather than letting the wait staff do it. And, nothing beats eating it in the comfort of your own home, with the company of family.

The other culinary tradition we have has to do with Shanghainese Wonton. When I was younger, Grandmummy, mum and sometimes my aunt would sit together at the table and make wontons, trays and trays of it. From a young age, I've joined this 'ladies group' and was taught how to make Shanghainese Wontons by Grandmummy, like how mum learnt to make it from her Grandmummy. I still can't wrap as fast as mum, but I like to think that my skills have improved over the years (though mum still sometimes nag that I either put too much filling, or don't close the wonton skin well).

So it's just a matter of time before EV gets assimilated into this. While we were making the wontons for this post, I was comforted by the sight of my mum showing EV how to make the wontons. EV's learning has started.

Shanghainese wonton 3
Making Shanghai Wontons is not difficult, but a bit of effort needs to be put in during the preparation stage. Here's our family recipe to share.

Shanghainese Wontons 
Ingredients (Makes 108 wontons)
6 packs of 250g wonton skin, from Yue Hwa Emporium Singapore
1.5kg xiao bai cai
500g pork mince
400g prawns, devein, peel and cut into 1cm pieces
3 tbsp light soya sauce
2 tbsp Hua Diao wine
2 tbsp sesame oil
1.5 tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp salt
A pot of pork bone stock
Sichuan vegetables, minced
Spring onions, chopped

When buying the wonton skin, you can choose from big size or small size. The size actually refers to the thickness of each individual skin. We got the big sized skin, and each pack contains about 18 skins.

Shanghainese wonton 6
Preparation - Vegetable & pork mince filling
1. Blanch the xiao bai cai in boiling water until cooked.
2. Chop the xiao bai cai into mince.
3. Squeeze the excess water from the chopped vegetables.
4. Add the cooking oil and salt, mix and and set aside.
5. Add the light soya sauce, Hua Diao wine and sesame oil to the pork mince. Mix.
6. Combine the seasoned chopped vegetables and pork mince together and mix thoroughly.
7. Put the filling into the the fridge for about 15 to 30 mins.

Shanghainese wonton 1

Shanghainese wonton 2

Shanghainese wonton 4

Shanghainese wonton 5
Preparation - wrapping the wonton
1. Put a small amount of corn flour into a saucer and add some water. This mixture will help to seal the wontons.
2. Hold one wonton skin in one hand, and put the vegetable and pork mince filling, about the Size of a 20-cent coin, in the centre.
3. Add a slice of prawn.
4. Fold the wonton skin into half and gently press down around the filling to keep it from seeping out from the sides.
5. Gently fold into half again, twisting such that the two folded ends meet.
6. Dab a little of the corn flor mixture to seal the folded ends.
7. The wonton should look like an ingot.
8. Set it aside on a tray lined with paper towels, then proceed to make the next one.

Shanghainese wonton 8

Shanghainese wonton 7
Cooking the wonton
1. In a big pot of boiling water, put in the wontons, about 8 to 10 at a time.
2. Once the wontons floats up, or the skin becomes translucent, the wontons are cooked.
3. Use a strainer to scoop the wontons into a bowl.
4. Pour some of the pork bone stock, which has been prepared separately, over the wontons.
5. Add preserved mustard green and spring onions for that added punch.
6. Add fish sauce, light soya sauce or pepper to taste.

Shanghainese wonton 9

Shanghainese wonton 10
Ta da! A piping hot bowl of handmade, hand wrapped Shanghainese Wontons! Enjoy!

Shanghainese wonton 11

Linking up with:


This is part of a 'What's Cooking' blog train / party where, together with some blogger mummy friends, on the second week of each month (from Sept - Nov), we will be bringing you home recipes featuring different 'cuisines'.

Next up on this blog train is Alicia Tan of Beanie N Us!. A mother of one, she will be sharing with us the secrets of making Cantonese Soup. A traditional soup which has been passed down fromher mum's side of the family, this soup is both flavorful and nutritious. Black eye beans is the base ingredient here as it adds a smoky flavour to this chicken soup which is peppered with meaty mushrooms and slivers of abalone.


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10 comments:

  1. Wow Winnie, though I am not a pork fan, these looks real good! I love the way they are 'folded' too, very pretty! Looking at the seasoning with the Hua Diao Jiu and the Sesame Oil, I'd say that these wontons are really flavorful! Thanks for sharing Winnie!

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    1. Thanks Alicia! I had so much fun making this, and eating it too! I think I ate about 10 wontons! Hahaha.. Thanks for having me on your blog train!

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  2. I love wantons & these looks very yummy! Adding vegetables makes it a balance meal. Lovely... May I ask what is "Preserved mustard green"? Can it be found in Cold Storage or NTUC?

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    1. Thanks for popping by. It's actually Sichuan vegetables that we used. Sorry for the wrong name. Sichuan vegetables are also known as 'za cai' and can be found at supermarkets. Hope this helps!

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  3. Winnie, I know that famous Shanghainese restaurant in Causeway Bay. My mum used to buy the rice cake there and no where else! We tried to use the wrappers from NTUC but they just don't have the same texture. Will try Yue Hwa then :-)

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  4. Thanks for popping by. Yup, the shop is very near Times Square. We tried the ones from a Giant too, but the ones at Yue Hwa are still the best. Do try them!

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  5. I had a roommate in college that used to make these all the time. I love that your daughter is learning to make them.

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  6. Ooo these Shanghainese wontons look great. Though they look simple, but each one is lovingly hand wrapped with love :)

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    1. Haha.. I love the way you describe it. Thanks for dropping by! :)

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