Pork Wontons with Macanese Broth Hot Pot
If you live in Colorado, like I do, you know the weather will always be a topic of conversation. One day it’s bright and sunny and you want to wear flip-flops, and the next day you’re bundling up with a beanie on and it’s snowing. It was one of the last snowy days before summer (which was still late spring when I thought we’d had our last snow) that I made this hot pot for my family. We passed the time inside by making wontons together, and I told them how I used to make them with my family for our church fair when I was growing up. They always enjoy eating and trying new things when they participate in the cooking, so they loved this hot pot—the wontons almost fill with the broth like a soup dumpling and cook fairly quickly because of the small amount of filling in them. My kids gobbled up their four wontons pretty fast, but feel free to add more if you know you’ve got little wonton lovers like I do!
SKILL LEVEL: Moderate • PREP TIME: 20 minutes • COOK TIME: 20 minutes • YIELD: 6 servings •
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vegetable oil
- ½ medium Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
- 2 black garlic cloves (or regular garlic), chopped
- 2 quarts (1.9 L) Macanese Broth (see recipe below, see Hot Tip)
- 24 Mom’s Pork Wontons (see recipe below)
- 3 baby bok choy, quartered lengthwise
- 3 ounces (85 g) enoki mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and shredded (or 6 ounces, 170 g, spiralized sweet potato)
- 2 large scallions, white and light green parts only, cut diagonally into 2-inch (5 cm) lengths
- 1 block (14 ounces, or 395 g) firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
- Black garlic is fermented garlic that is sweet and savory with a deep molasses- like flavor and a very soft consistency. Its signature black appearance is due to the fermentation process that produces melanoidin and turns the garlic black. You can find it in specialty food shops and online.
- This recipe is easy to scale up or down depending on the size of your group and hot pot. Just be sure your hot pot is filled about halfway with broth. If the liquid reduces over time, add more.
InstructionsIn a 4-quart (3.8 L) hot pot or large saucepan over medium-high heat (about 425°F, or 220°C, in an electric pot), heat the vegetable oil. Add the onion. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring, until translucent. Add the black garlic. Cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
Add the Macanese broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the wontons. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the vegetables and tofu. Cover the pot and cook for 5 minutes more, until the wontons are cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
Ladle into shallow bowls and serve.
This broth was created by my friend and chef, Emily Lai. Among her many other culinary projects, Emily is currently running a Malaysian pop-up in San Francisco called masak | masak. Characteristic of Macanese cooking, each dish is rich and multilayered with spices and aromatics—and this broth is no exception. The jujubes and goji berries provide a subtle sweetness and lend a fresh, floral note. Bonus: now that you have these ingredients on hand, you can use them in my Mongolian Lamb Hot Pot as well. Or try this hot pot base simmered with your choice of shabu-shabu–style sliced meat and ingredients like mung bean noodles and yuba (tofu skin) in Emily’s Meat Lovers Macanese Hot Pot.
SKILL LEVEL: Moderate • PREP TIME: 10 minutes • COOK TIME: 3 hours 30 minutes • YIELD: Makes 2 quarts (1.9 L)
- 5 pounds (2.3 kg) pork bones, rinsed (see Hot Tip)
- 1 piece (1 inch, or 2.5 cm) fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 10 dried jujubes (red dates)
- 2 tablespoons (13 g) dried goji berries
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Ground white pepper, to taste (see Hot Tip)
- Ask your butcher for pork knuckles, trotters, leg, neck, or hipbones. Almost any bones will work with this recipe.
- Start with minimal amounts of salt and pepper and add more to taste. White pepper is strong and has a very distinct flavor.
InstructionsIn a large stockpot over high heat, combine the pork bones with enough water to cover, approximately 1 gallon (3.8 L). Bring to a boil. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove the bones and rinse them thoroughly to remove any scum. Discard the water and wipe out the stockpot.
In the same stockpot over high heat, combine the cleaned pork bones with fresh water, this time a little less than 1 gallon (3.8 L). Add the ginger, jujubes, and goji berries. Bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer the broth for about 3 hours, uncovered, until very flavorful and aromatic. Strain the broth into a clean pot and season with salt and pepper. Discard the bones and aromatics.
Use this broth immediately or let cool and refrigerate until ready to use.
This broth can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 2 months.
Mom’s Pork Wontons
My mom and her best friend, Tucky, used to make these wontons for our church’s food festival, prepping thousands of them ahead of time and freezing them between layers of wax paper. I remember being in the church banquet hall, filled with tables, and it seemed like the entire congregation was there to help. I’d sit with my brother, sister, and cousins happily making wontons for hours. When wontons are defrosted, they can become soggy, so my mom and Tucky had a trick for their filling: instead of using regular onions (which weep when thawed), they used scallions. This recipe freezes well, so I highly recommend making the full batch of wontons even if you don’t plan to eat them right away. Also, the great part about this recipe is that these wontons can be fried and served with a dipping sauce or simmered in a hot pot—it just comes down to how you assemble them. Fried wontons are folded to look like a boat with two sails and simmered wontons look like a cinched-up purse. The boat shape limits the filling to less meat, so the filling is able to cook through during the brief frying time; however, the cinched-up purse can hold more filling because the wontons can simmer for a longer time. If you want to try these in a soup, check out my Pork Wontons with Macanese Broth Hot Pot where the wontons are cooked in a slightly sweet, aromatic pork bone broth until perfectly tender.
SKILL LEVEL: Moderate • PREP TIME: 40 minutes • COOK TIME: 30 minutes • YIELD: Makes 50 to 60 wontons
Sweet and Sour Sauce
- ½ cup (120 ml) low-sodium chicken broth (store-bought is fine to use here)
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) cornstarch
- 3/4 cup (120 g) finely chopped pineapple (or 1 can, 6 ounces, or 170 g, crushed pineapple), drained
- ½ cup (100 g) sugar
- ½ cup (120 g) ketchup
- ¼ cup (60 ml) rice wine vinegar
- 8 ounces (227 g) ground pork
- 8 ounces (227 g) large shrimp (6 to 8 shrimp), shelled and deveined
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup (62 g) water chestnuts, drained
- 3 scallions, white and light green parts only
- 1 piece (1½ inches, or 3.5 cm) fresh ginger, peeled
- 1 large shiitake mushroom, stemmed
- 1 small garlic clove
- 1 tablespoon (4 g) fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- One package (12 ounces, or 340 g)wonton wrappers (or round gyoza or potsticker wrappers)
- Vegetable oil, for frying
InstructionsTo make the sauce: In a small saucepan, whisk together the chicken broth and cornstarch to make a slurry. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and whisk until smooth.
Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and bring the sauce to a simmer. Cook, whisking, until the sugar dissolves and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
To make the pork wontons: In a food processor, combine all the wonton ingredients. Pulse until well combined and a meatball-like texture is formed. If you do not have a food processor, finely chop the ingredients and mix to combine.
To assemble the wontons: Fill a small bowl with water and line a large airtight container with wax or parchment paper.
Working with 1 wonton wrapper at a time, place a rounded teaspoon of filling in the center of the wrapper. Be careful not to overstuff the wonton wrappers or they will be difficult to seal.
Wet your finger in the bowl of water and moisten the wrapper around the filling. Fold the bottom half of the wrapper up and away from you so the corners of the square are offset. Gently press the wonton wrapper together around the filling to seal. (If you are making these wontons for a hot pot, see Note.)
Transfer to the airtight container and repeat with the remaining filling and wonton wrappers, separating each layer of prepared wontons with wax or parchment paper.
Fill a large saucepan or a deep-fryer with 1½ inches (3.5 cm) of vegetable oil and heat over medium-high heat. Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels. When the oil is hot, test the temperature by adding a small piece of wonton wrapper to the oil—it should fry up quickly when hot.
Working in small batches, carefully add the wontons to the hot oil. They should not be touching. Fry for about 5 minutes, until puffed, crispy, and lightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried wontons to the paper towel–lined baking sheet to drain. Repeat with the remaining wontons.
Serve while hot with the sweet and sour sauce for dipping.
These wontons can be made ahead and frozen for 1 month. You could also refrigerate them overnight and make them the next day, but don’t refrigerate them for longer than that.
If preparing these wontons to use in a hot pot, place 1 rounded tablespoon (14 g) of filling in the center of a wonton square. Moisten the outside of the square with water and pinch up the opposite edges to make a square purse with sealed edges.
Reprinted from Simply Hot Pots: A Complete Course in Japanese Nabemono and Other Asian One-Pot Meals. Copyright 2018 by Amy Kimoto-Kahn. Published by the Quarto Publishing Group.
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