I remember a few TV chefs from when I was a kid, but none with as much awe as Ken Hom. Back in the days when Chinese food was something you only got from a takeaway, Ken Hom brought via gogglebox the possibility that there may be something to this ancient and delicious cuisine beyond sweet and sour pork, egg fried rice and chop suey.

This recipe, for me, is a marriage of many loves: my love of Ken Hom’s gentle, quiet simplicity in creating culinary magic, my love of Josh Emett’s ability to bring so many dishes, flavours and memories together into one place and one book – and my absolute adoration of wonton soup. Wonton soup for me is everything; it’s comfort food, but it’s also my go-to dish for ordering in new restaurants as it tells me everything I need to know about the eatery. And done well, it’s quite simply one of my favourite dishes in the entire world.

Wonton Soup

Ken Hom

COMPLEXITY: MODERATE | PREP TIME: 1 HOUR | COOK TIME: 10 MINUTES SERVES: 4 TO 6

Ingredients

  • 9 oz (250 g) wonton skins

FILLING

  • 9 oz (250 g) peeled uncooked shrimp/prawns, de-veined and chopped coarsely
  • 9 oz (250 g) ground/minced pork
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground white pepper
  • 1½ tbsp (22½ ml) light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp green onion/spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 egg white, beaten lightly

SOUP

  • 2 pints (1 litre) chicken stock (click link for recipe)
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

GARNISH

  • green onion/spring onion, chopped

METHOD

Put shrimp/prawns and pork in a large bowl, add salt and pepper and mix well, either by kneading with your hand or by stirring with a wooden spoon. Add all the other filling ingredients and stir them well into the shrimp/prawn and pork mixture. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for at least 20 minutes.

When you are ready to stuff the wontons, put 1 tablespoon of filling in the centre of the first wonton skin. Dampen the edges with a little water and bring up the sides of the skin around the filling. Pinch the edges together at the top so that the wonton is sealed; it should look like a small filled bag. Repeat to stuff all the wontons.

When the wontons are ready, put stock, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a large pot and bring to a simmer over a medium heat.

In another large pot, bring lightly salted water to the boil and poach the wontons, in batches if necessary, for 1 minute or until they float to the top. Remove them immediately and transfer them to the pot with the stock. This procedure will result in a cleaner-tasting broth. Continue to simmer the wontons in the stock for 2 minutes. Transfer to either a large soup bowl or individual bowls. Garnish with green onion/spring onion and serve immediately.

JOSH’S NOTES

Preparation: Buy good-quality wonton skins from your local Asian food store.


Ken Hom’s Wonton Soup from The Recipe by Josh Emett, image copyright © Kieran E. Scott, design copyright © Blackwell and Ruth Ltd, 2019.

Upstart Press, $49.99 RRP, on sale 4 April 2019. Copyright © Josh Emett