In my recent Chinese cuisine escapades I am most obsessed with wrapping meat in Chinese pastry mainly because it’s super easy, flexible and once you get the hang of it, it’s a quick meal/snack to make.
The two types I have made so far are a type of dumpling called Hún dùn and the more commonly known spring roll (recipe to come soon).
Hún dùn is the Mandarin word for Wonton. The pastry is made from a mix of flour, water, egg and salt. The pastry is a little delicate and tends to tear when too much force is applied. Spring roll pastry on the other hand is a lot more elastic and can withstand some tugging and pulling. Both are sold at the Oriental plaza grocery stores much to my excitement because making those pastries from scratch is not something I’m ready for quite yet.
As with all pastries, it is stored in the freezer and moved to the fridge in preparation for use. To prevent drying out, cover with a damp cloth while you wrap your dumplings.
The filling can be a combination of whatever ingredients you like, as long as the main one is meat and it is accompanied by some kind of vegetable. There are tons of filling recipes online! I used the ones suggested by the Chinese cook book that I have but you can let your imagination run wild! You can go for a spicy, savoury, sweet, sweet and sour or vegetarian filling etc, whatever makes you happy. The Chinese prefer to use pork or shrimp or both as the protein ingredient then you can add finely chopped cabbage or bamboo shoots, minced garlic, green onions and grated ginger. To add some flavour a mixture of soy sauce, cooking wine and peanut oil can be added. And don’t forget the pinch of salt to balance it all out. A teaspoon or two of Cornflour is used as a binding agent, you could also use one egg. I made two types of filling that I shall explain in detail below.
This was a beef filling and contained the following:
- One 250g pack of minced meat
- two handfuls of bean sprouts, finely chopped
- 4 green onion stalks, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons of garlic
- 1 inch of grated ginger
- a teaspoon of soy sauce
- a teaspoon of oil/peanut oil
- a tablespoon of cooking wine
- 2 teaspoons of cornflour
- 500g of minced pork
- 4 stalks of green onion, finely chopped
- 2 bamboo shoots, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons of Chinese 5 spice
- 1 inch grated ginger
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon of white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of peanut oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
The filling mixtures were thoroughly combined and set aside. I then set up my “work station”. A chopping board, a dish for the completed dumplings, a teaspoon for spooning the fillings, a small bowl of water and a damp cloth to cover the wrappers with while I wrap.
The wrapping methods differ depending on which region of China the recipe you are following comes from (Read here for more info). The one illustrated in the photos below is from the Sichuan region and is called chāo shǒu.
Step 1: place a small amount of filling in the center of the wonton wrapper (about half a teaspoon full)
Step 3:Face the top corner of the triangle towards you and then using your index finger, form a crease along the bottom of the dumpling.Step 4: Take one side corner and fold it to the middle of the dumplingStep 5: Fold the opposite corner over the first one using a drop of water to make the flaps stick to each other.
Below is another batch of dumplings I made and I made these the easy way. I placed the filling in the middle as above, then scrunched up the edges pressing the air out at the same time to form a little pouch. These didn’t need any water to close them, you just press the dough tightly to close.