When I was a kid there were much less Chinese eating options in Chinatown, let alone in the suburbs. Plus the options that were available tended to be more for dinner dining; you know, ordering various dishes to be shared and eaten with rice. But what of the more quick lunch options of noodles, congee and the like? Well, that was not to come for many years which meant that these were often recreated at home instead.

I spent a lot of time making wontons with Mum as a child all the way through to when I left home. It felt like a craft project when I was younger and, although slow, my little hands and stubby fingers found it easy to pleat neat little dumpling parcels without tearing the delicate wrappers. (Apparently it was also a good way to keep me quiet and occupied.) Mum, on the other hand, would be either short on patience, greedy for greater amounts of filling or both, and ended up with many exploding wontons instead.

Mum’s go-to recipe was a beef one and any leftover mince filling was great used in an omelette. I’ve made a pork version here, with minced prawns, wood ear fungus and bamboo shoots, which is more reminiscent of the first ones I ever tried on trips to Hong Kong. Through repeated trips there to visit relatives, I also discovered that wontons didn’t have to be pleated (although the repetitive actions to produce neat results appealed to my Virgo nature) and that the trails of “hanging” wrapper pastry when cooked were meant to make the wontons resemble fat goldfish. A definite bonus to know they’re meant to look a little messy, and each a little different, when time and/or patience are a premium. And, as opposed to Northern Chinese dumplings, wontons are eaten with red vinegar.

The broth that Mum made for the wontons was always from stock cubes. Time spent on slow simmering was reserved for Chinese (medicinal) soups instead. I’ve used a chicken stock paste diluted with water and thrown in some ginger for a more Chinese flavour, but spring onions or coriander could be added too. Unless you’re lazy/disorganised like me and realise you have neither until you start cooking, ahem.

Pork & Prawn Wontons (makes 60, with some leftover filling)

·  450g pork mince (with a small amount of fat)
·  3 tbs light soy sauce
·  1 ½ tbs dark soy sauce
·  pinch of ground white pepper
·  8 medium prawns, peeled & deveined
·  1 piece of dried wood ear fungus (available from Asian grocers)
·  handful of bamboo shoot slices (available from Asian grocers in cans)
·  1 pack of egg wonton wrappers (60 sheets)
·  4 tbs chicken stock paste (I used Campbell’s Real Stock Paste)
·  1.5L water, plus extra for cooking wontons
·  ginger slices, spring onions and coriander to taste
·  fresh or dried egg noodles, Asian greens, red vinegar to serve (optional)

  1. Combine pork mince with light soy, dark soy and a sprinkling of ground white pepper. Mix thoroughly and set aside to marinate.
  2. Soak wood ear fungus in a bowl of water for about 30 minutes, making sure it is completely covered. Drain and chop into short, thin shreds.
Wood ear fungus - before and after soaking
  1. In the meantime, chop bamboo shoots into similar short, thin shreds.
  2. Roughly chop prawns until they resemble a mince and the mixture is slightly sticky.
  3. Mix pork mince thoroughly with other chopped ingredients. Place approximately 1 teaspoonful of filling mixture in the centre of a wonton wrapper and pinch together to close. Repeat with remaining wrapper sheets until all used. 

  1. Bring 1.5L water to the boil and dissolve the stock paste into it. Add ginger and any herbs (if using) and allow to reboil before adding salt to taste. Reduce to a simmer and keep hot.
  2. Bring a pot of water to the boil. Drop in wontons in batches and they are cooked when they float to the top and water reboils. Take care not to overcrowd the pot. Remove with a slotted spoon and ladle over hot stock to serve. 
Extra wontons can be frozen flat on a tray or plate and transferred to a freezer bag once completely frozen. Excess mince filling can be flattened into a shallow dish, steamed for about 8 minutes on high heat and served with rice - tada, steamed Chinese meatloaf!

happy cooking!

Mademoiselle Délicieuse received samples of Campbell’s Real Stock Paste courtesy of Nuffnang Australia.


  1. ooh I love wontons! I used to help my mum wrap wontons as a kid as well, and I'm sure she got me to help just so I would stay out of trouble!

  2. I love wontons too!!! I dont usually make them myself but would ask mum to make 'extra' so i can take it home!

  3. teehee i can imagine little sunbeam sitting in the corner concentrating oh so hard on making wontons!

  4. Haha! I was always an exploding wonton culprit as a kid. They would all start off evenly sized and perfectly pleated but then something interesting would happen outside and it became a challenge to squeeze as much filling as possible into each wrapper so I could finish up and go outside!

    I never knew what to do with leftover filling either. Hooray for giant steamed meatball!

  5. While I don't have any wonton stories as a kid, I can share with you that after many years living in Singapore my mum has become very handy in the old wonton making arena. Instead of me helping it is actually my dad that does the folding!

  6. omg i havent had wontons for such a long time! your wontons look delicious!

  7. ohh so wood ear fungus looks like that when dry O_O it's so different, I always assumed it was always that browny coloured seaweed lookalike!

  8. im loveeee wontons and dumplings my ultimate comfort food :)

  9. yum! I use store bought stock for my mid-week dumpling fix, too!

  10. I love Chinese meatloaf, never thought to use my leftover wonton mixture to do that. Great tip :)

  11. We used to make wontons a lot when we were little too! My mum would make a pork filling a bit like this one :D I loved making them into all these creative shapes...like envelopes and money bags- but they'd often explode, or they wouldn't taste as good as the normal shaped ones. And they'd take a lot longer to make ;) haha.... I think I need to make wontons soon!!

  12. Hey Jacq, haha, I see I have incited a wonton craving...

    Hey gastronomous anonymous, lucky you! I offered my mother my extra ones instead =p

    Hey chocolatesuze, yah...everything must be matching and perfect!

    Hey shez, there's always leftover filling, isn't there?

    Hey Sara, haha, it's a family past-time this =)

    Hey sugarpuffi, you need to have some soon then!

    Hey Vivian, haha, yeah, and wood ear fungus expands HEAPS when refreshed.

    Hey Dolly, so nice to slurp slurp slurp, haha =p

    Hey Anh, because the stock is not the star of the show, I guess that's why I can't be bothered to make my own either =p

    Hey Dumpling Girl, you can make little meatballs and have them in soup or with noodles too!

    Hey Von, haha, my mum would be the one to make different shapes!

  13. Hey looks great to me! But of course, they're dumplings!


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