CRISPY WONTON SOUP

The freshly cooked crisp wontons are supposed to sizzle and "sing" in the hot soup as they are taken to the table.

SERVES SIX
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 wood ears (Chinese dried mushrooms), soaked for 30 minutes in warm water to cover
  • 1.2 litres / 2 pints / 5 cups chicken stock
  • 2.5 cm / 1 in fresh root ginger, grated
  • 4 spring onions (scallions), chopped
  • 2 rich-green inner spring greens (collards) leaves, finely shredded
  • 50 g / 2 oz drained canned bamboo shoots, sliced
  • 2.5 ml / 1½ tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2.5 ml / ½ tsp sesame oil
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • For the filled wontons
  • 5 ml / 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1.2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 115 g / 4 oz finely minced (ground) pork
  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • groundnut (peanut) oil, for frying
  1. Make the filled wontons. Heat the sesame oil in a small pan, add the onion, water chestnuts, and pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is no longer pink. Tip into a bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper and leave to cool.
  2. COOK'S TIP
    The wontons can be filled up to two hours ahead. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet lightly dusted with cornflour (cornstarch) to prevent them from sticking and leave in a cool place.
  3. Place the wonton wrappers under a slightly dampened dishtowel so that they do not dry out. Next, dampen the edges of a wonton wrapper. Place about 5 ml / 1 tsp of the filing in the centre of the wrapper. Gather it up like a purse and twist the top or roll up as you would a baby spring roll. Fill the remaining wontons in the same way.
  4. Make the soup. Drain the wood ears, trim away any coarse stems, then slice thinly. Bring the stock to the boil, add the ginger and the spring onions and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the sliced wood ears, shredded spring greens, bamboo shoots, and soy sauce. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, then stir in the sesame oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper, cover and keep hot.
  5. Heat the oil in a wok to 190C / 375F and deep-fry the wontons, in batches if necessary, for 3-4 minutes, or until they are crisp and golden brown all over. Ladle the soup into six warmed soup bowls and share the wontons among them. Serve immediately.
Crispy Wonton Soup