Hong Kong-Style Pork-and-Shrimp Wontons from Michele Humes' "The Noodle Soup Oracle: Hundreds of Possibilities for the World's Favorite Comfort Food"

Hong Kong–Style Pork-and-Shrimp Wontons

Makes 24 wontons

“Wonton,” in Cantonese, translates to “swallowing clouds,” and these little dumplings are indeed remarkably delicate. Each one encloses a small shrimp that’s been given a quick bath in a baking soda solution; this keeps it firm and springy, contrasting pleasantly with the tender pork and the silky wrapper.

Making the filling for these wontons is a little more involved than for the American-Chinese variation, but they have a relaxed shape that’s much easier to fold. Don’t worry if your wontons look a little scrunched-up in their uncooked state; once slipped into boiling water, they recall ornamental goldfish, the kind with billowy fins and enormous cheeks.

  • ½ cup (120 ml) water
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 24 small shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ¾ pound (340 g) ground pork
  • 5 yellow chives, finely chopped (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 24 square wonton wrappers (roughly half a standard package)

Make the filling: Place the water in a medium bowl and stir in the baking soda and salt. Place the shrimp in this mixture, and let it soak at room temperature for at least 15 minutes, but no longer than 1 hour. Drain the shrimp when you’re ready to assemble the dumplings.

While the shrimp are soaking, place the pork, chives, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, and white pepper in a large bowl. Mix with your fingers until the ingredients are just combined, taking care not to over-knead (this will result in tough wontons).

Wrap the wontons: Before you begin wrapping, prepare your work station: You will need a plate, a small bowl of cool water, and a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

  1. Place one dumpling wrapper on the plate, keeping the rest covered with plastic wrap.
  2. Place 2 teaspoons of pork filling in the center of the wrapper, and top with a shrimp.
  3. Dip your finger in water, and liberally moisten all four edges of the wrapper.
  4. Pick up two opposite corners of the wrapper and fold them toward one another. Pinch them together where their points meet.
  5. Gather the two remaining corners and fold them roughly toward each other. Push out any air bubbles, and press firmly to seal the dumpling. Don’t worry about lining up the edges or making a symmetrical dumpling; the finished wonton should be perfectly sealed but imperfect in appearance.
  6. Transfer the wonton to the prepared baking sheet; repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers.

Cook the wontons: Bring a pot of water—not broth—to a boil over high heat. Add the wontons and cook until the wrappers are slightly translucent and the filling is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Serve immediately.

Note: Yellow chives are chives that were grown under cover of darkness to inhibit the development of chlorophyll. As a result, they are sweeter and more delicate than green chives, with far less of that oniony kick. They are available in Chinese markets, but if you can’t get ahold of them, substitute 1 finely chopped scallion.

Recipe and illustrations reprinted with permission from The Noodle Soup Oracle: Hundreds of Possibilities for the World's Favorite Comfort Food. Copyright © 2019. Published by Running Press.