This past one month of cooking for my family has taught me a lot.
I learn time management and the value of planning ahead when I sit down and write the meal plan and grocery list for the week.
I learn to think on my feet when there is nothing left in the fridge and we have to entertain unexpected guests.
I learn to multi-task to ensure that the soup doesn’t boil over while the cake bakes and to always have the right answer to “Can we eat now?”.
I learn to listen. To accept criticisms and to fulfil a food wish.
I learn that some days, I would go into the kitchen at 11.30am and never come out till 8.30pm and it gets tiring and I would want to give up. But when the family gathers around the dining table with the occasional “What is that?” and “This is pretty good”, it makes it all worth it.
This past one month has also taught me to be a better cook, sister and daughter.
I want to make things better; not necessarily reinventing the wheel, but rather improving on what is tried and tested.
I am learning to cook better food and take better pictures.
I have learnt so much but I believe there is so much more room for improvement.
Pork wontons are comfort food.
I remember the ones my grandmother made – swimming in broth and filled to the point of almost bursting.
Sometimes she would deep fry them and let us eat all of it before Mum comes home.
But always, always she would count how many there were so she can buy number that night.
Mama always mixed in the shrimps into the minced pork. That is delicious in its own right, but I want to have a bursty, sweet prawn to go with my flavourful pork filling – the hallmark of a good wonton.
After some research, I found that by doing a few extra steps, you can ensure that you don’t have mealy, rubbery prawns.
Keep the flavourings simple. Get the best minced pork you can afford, make sure it has fat in it. When buying the wrappers, get the ones made with egg. They hold better when boiled, and has a chewier texture. The ones you find in the super market may be yellow in color – this is not an indicator that it is made with egg. Try to find them at the non-halal section of your supermarket.
You can make yours in soup, or steam them and cover them in garlic and ginger oil.
Either way, practice restraint and do not overfill them.
And always, always count how many you made.
24 shrimps, de veined and shell removed
24 egg wonton wrappers
300g minced pork, with fat
1/2 cup of finely sliced chives or spring onion
1inch of ginger, grated finely
1/2 tsp of baking soda
2tsp of sugar
1 tsp of soy sauce
2tsp of sesame oil
Broth of choice (I used this awesome one)
Ginger and garlic oil
1. Place shrimp in a small bowl. Add baking soda, 1tsp of salt and 1/4 cup of water. Mix and set aside for a minimum of couple of hours. Overnight is best. Drain and set aside when ready to use.
2. In a bowl, mix pork, grated ginger, chives sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil. To test for seasoning, place a small amount in the microwave for a minute and taste. Add more salt if necessary.
3. In the middle of the wonton wrapper, place a teaspoon of pork filling and a shrimp. Using a bit of water, wet the edges of the wrapper, bring the two points to meet and seal the edges, pushing out as much air as possible.
4. If you want it fancy, you can bring the two pointy ends to meet, forming a tortellini shape.
5. Bring broth of choice to boil and add wontons. Boil for three minutes until wontons are cooked through.
6. Sprinkle with spring onions and serve immediately.