You know what I love? Noodles. What a surprise! I hear you exclaim. I can tackle a bowl of noodles from a metre away, and I'm not ashamed of it.
My ultimate comfort food is any sort of soupy noodles. It is unfortunate, then, that Danni is not a big fan of soupy noodles. Last week, after suffering a very large amount of the blahs, I really wanted noodle soup, and so we negotiated: lots of wontons for Danni, lots of noodles for me.
I've made jiaozi before, and I'll confess, my wonton making is remarkably similar to my jiaozi making, except I use different wrappers.
Wontons are pretty straight forward to make. I like to either steam them or boil them, and serve them in a bowl filled with vegetables, noodles and soup. I promise that picture above has soup in it. It is just covered by a lot of noodles.
a palmful of chinese cabbage
a palmful of enoki/golden boy mushrooms
small amount of fresh chives (chopped)
one clove garlic (minced)
half a cupish of firm tofu (approx 100g)
three or so shakes of dark soy
Evenly dice the cabbage and mushrooms. In a wok, fry the mushrooms and cabbage with the garlic, in a small amount of peanut oil. After the cabbage starts to soften, add the chives, tofu, and soy. Smush and stir until it is well mixed and evenly coloured, for about three or four minutes. You may want to season with pepper, but this is not my thing. Put this aside to cool.
The wrappers need to be defrosted, but preferably fresh from the fridge. This makes them easier to handle. Please also note that the wrappers do dry out quickly, so don't leave them out for too long. Some people recommend working with the waiting wrappers covered, but I can never be bothered dealing with that.
Separate from the top, one by one. Place a small amount of cooled filling in the centre (about half to three quarters of a teaspoon). Moisten finger with water, and run around the edge of the wrapper. Fold up at the middle. Pinch in at the sides (not pictured), so that instead of being a semi-circle the wonton looks more like a trapezium.
I like to bring a big pot of stock to boil. My preference is for a soup with a full body, so dried vege stock won't be quite enough. I've got some celery pieces in the freezer, so into a pot (with vege stock in it) I'll throw one of those, plus to top of a carrot or two. This pot simmers away whilst I'm folding the wontons, then I scoop out the celery and carrot so it's just liquid.
Into the pot, by this point boiling, I will gently drop my wontons. For this step (and many of the following), the above pictured cooking implement is key. I don't know what it's called, I just know that it's essential in this style of cooking, and also for steamboats (mmm, steamboats). Anyway, using this golden wire scoop, gently lower four or five wontons into the boiling stock. Let them boil away for six or seven minutes, or until they're floating on the top (mine always float from the very start, which is why I have to time them). Put these aside.
Back to the pot, I'll add my vegies (in this instance, one carrot that has been julienned, and two or three bunches of bok choy that hav been sliced in half lengthways). After a minute or two, I will pull those vegies out, and put them in bowls, and put in some noodles, giving the same treatment.
Serve them up in large bowls. If the wontons have cooled too much or are sticking together, I will sometimes drop them back in the pot for thirty seconds to heat them through. Then pour soup over the whole lot, and serve hot, perhaps with some chopped chilli in soy sauce.