Homemade Do-it-yourself Wontons in a “Cheat” Chicken Broth

Homemade Do-it-yourself Wontons in a “Cheat” Chicken Broth

Homemade Do-it-yourself Wontons in a “Cheat” Chicken Broth

Did you know that wontons literally means “cloud swallow” in Cantonese?  These little delights are like clouds and bite-sized enough to be swallowed in one gulp!

For more videos, visit us on YouTube.

Check out the video on how to create awesome wontons at home!  

What I’ve done here is used a “cheat”  chicken broth where I’m using a chicken stock as a base, but flavoring it a bit more with some additional ingredients.  A great use of veggie scraps sometimes in these cases.

And one of a Chinese Soup Chef’s best friend, the soup bag is used here.  I highly recommend getting a few at home.  Be sure to wash and boil first before usage.  Since they are made of cotton, you can throw them in the wash as well or wash by hand.  They keep EVERYTHING in, including onion skins, seeds, flower petals, fish bones, the works.  Instead of straining, just use one of these which you can just drop into your soup and voila!  easy to remove ingredients.

What’s involved?

Prep time: 45 mins

Cook time (broth): 30 mins

Cook time (wontons): 10 mins

Total time: 1 hour 30 mins

Makes: 50 wontons

Equipment needed:

Ingredients (for cheat chicken broth):

  • 500 mL of chicken broth

  • 1 L of cold water
  • 1-2 pieces of star anise
  • 5 dried scallops
  • 5 dried longans
  • 1 whole garlic
  • 1 whole fresh onion
  • 3 shallots
  • 1 leek

Ingredients (for wontons):

  • 500g of ground chicken

  • 6-7 fresh shrimp, deveined and diced

  • 20 bunches of fresh chives, diced

  • 3 bunches of fresh green onions, diced

  • 1 tablespoon diced garlic

  • 1 teaspoon of fish sauce

  • 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce

  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon of white pepper

  • 1 teaspoon of cooking wine

  • sesame oil to taste

  • 50 wonton skins

Cooking Instructions

  1. Begin to boil your chicken broth in your soup pot
  2. Chop up the soup “cheat”  ingredients and put them all into the soup bag
  3. Add directly to your chicken broth and boil on medium heat for 30 minutes
  4. For the wontons, mix in ground chicken, diced shrimp and all the seasoning together
  5. Chop up the chives and fresh green onions and add them in
  6. Mix well together until the meat creates strands (it should be pretty sticky)
  7. Put a small amount of meat into the middle of your wonton and using your finger, wet all around the edges and fold as you’d like (there are so many techniques out there, I just like to squish it at the top to form a little package)
  8. Wrap them all as to ensure the wonton skins don’t dry out
  9. Remove the soup bag from your soup, ensuring there’s nothing remaining in the soup
  10. Add in 10-15 wontons.  This should bring the soup down from a boil.  
  11. Once the soup begins to boil, add in 200mL of water to reduce the temperature.  This will keep the wontons whole and not boiled and destroyed in the voracity of the boil.  Do this 2 additional times meaning, when it boils again, add 100mL of water.  I know this will dilute the soup somewhat, so you can also do this in a separate pot of water or add more chicken broth.
  12. Once it begins to boil the 3rd time around.  Strain out, scoop some soup, garnish and serve!

For more videos, visit us on YouTube.

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A Chinese Delicacy: How to Prepare Dried Fish Maw (or Fish Bladder)

A Chinese Delicacy: How to Prepare Dried Fish Maw (or Fish Bladder)

A Chinese Delicacy: How to Prepare Dried Fish Maw (or Fish Bladder)

Have you ever walked by those Chinese herbal or dried food shops and wondered what those fairly large beige bubble things were?  I certainly did growing up and just always found it foreign until I was introduced to it in foods, soups, and stews and told how expensive they were (my parents’ Chinese way of telling me to eat it). 

Fish maw is the fish bladder (air bubble) of the fish.  Not the fish stomach, which is a common misnomer.  

I finally had enough curiosity to try to make them myself and got an hour crash course from the vendor in Hong Kong who basically walked me step by step (after I bought a bunch from them), having the vegetable vendor verify (after buying ingredients for the soup), and all the nearby old ladies share their various fish maw recipes.  What a way to immerse myself into Chinese cooking!

Check out how to prepare dried fish maw in the video and a selection of fish maw recipes.

There are many sizes, makes, cuts, and types of fish maw available!  So explore them all!  

Preparing Fish Maw (or Fish Bladder)

Preparing fish maw for use in soups, stews, or Chinese dishes can take up to 3 days depending on the size and thickness of the fish maw.  In the video, I’m using thicker fish maw, so it took 2 full days.  In some soups, the fish maw are much smaller, so you can just boil as you would like any meats.

Day -2:  Blanch your fish maw in boiling water for 15 minutes.  I used a ceramic pot so I could just change the water in the pot rather than switch it around.  The Chinese are very particular about their ceramic pots versus metal based pots because of the potential metallic flavours absorbed by the food.  Once you have boiled it you can let it sit overnight.

Day -1:  Change out the water and replace the fish maw pot with room temperature water in the morning.  Then put in the fridge until evening (12 hours) and replace the water again for overnight (12 hours).   

Day 0:  Pour out the water and rinse the fish maw.  It should still be pretty rubbery and thick.  Cut into desired pieces for your dish.  You can even save them in portions in the freezer for up to 6 months. Enjoy!

 

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Cooking Chinese Soups With a Thermal Induction Pot

Cooking Chinese Soups With a Thermal Induction Pot

Cooking Chinese Soups With a Thermal Induction Pot

I could not contain my excitement when I got my new Thermal Induction Pot! Check out the video above for the unpack and how to use it.

For more videos, visit us on YouTube.

 What makes this pot so special?

  • Due to its engineered induction design, the pot itself will retain heat and continue to cook by itself
  • This pot doesn’t need power!  It’s 100% energy efficient cooking.  You’ll need to use the inner pot to cook on a stove to a boil for about 30 minutes before putting it into your thermal pot.
  • Easy to clean
  • The inner pot can be used with or without the external thermal base (use it like a normal pot)
  • They come in a lot of various sizes:  3L, 4L, or 5L is what I’ve seen available
  • Durable outer base
  • Safe to use

 Where to buy this?

  • In Hong Kong, there are many Japanese and Chinese brands available, such as Zojirushi, Tiger, and Thermos.  I’ve got a Zojirushi at home in HK and I love it!
  • In Toronto though, I could only find Tiger and Thermos physically in Chinese Appliance and Home Stores (check First Markham Place).
  • There are also limited options Online that are Tiger, Thermos, and SunPenTown.  Amazon is a good place for this as you can also see the reviews.
  • Having used both Tiger and Zojirushi, they operate quite similarly and produce the same outcomes!

Thermos 4.5L Stainless Steel Thermal Pot

    Thermos 4.5L Shuttle Chef Thermal Pot

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      Basic Chinese Chicken Soup Stock (Soup Base)

      Basic Chinese Chicken Soup Stock (Soup Base)

      Basic Chinese Chicken Soup Stock (Soup Base)

      Soup Name

      Basic Chinese Chicken Soup Stock (Soup Base)

      Traditional Chinese Name:  

      清雞湯 (qīng jī tāng)

       

      This is the base Chinese Chicken Soup stock that I make for any of my Chinese soups. It’s simple, straight-forward, and delicious on its own. It does take some preparation in that you need to blanch all the meats, soak the conpoys for at least 10 minutes, quarter the chicken, and then add everything together. And then patience, for a few hours to let it all simmer together. This is perfect for freezing for usage with soups later on, so I do suggest to make more! Perfect for the whole family and any condition.

      The benefits:

      • Perfect for any soup base. You can simply add your favourite vegetables or even Chinese herbs.
      • This soup is perfect for cooler days as it’s slightly warming
      • Perfect for confinement, postpartum, and post period
      • Ideal for the whole family, including children
      • These ingredients are readily available in most Chinese supermarkets around the world, all you need is just a chicken!
      • Be sure to to consult your (Chinese) doctor first if you’re unsure of consumption or suitability
      • You can store this soup base in a plastic container (or jar with a wide mouth so it’s easier to use back later) for up to 6 months in the freezer

       

      What’s involved?

      Prep time: 30 mins

      Cook time: 3 hours

      Total time: 3 hours 30 mins

      Serves: 8 bowls 

      Ingredients

      Cooking Instructions

      1. Optional step the night before is to salt the pork shanks and chicken overnight and wrap and store in the fridge to let it sit.  This will allow the flavors to marinate and soften the meat.
      2. Begin to boil a separate pot for blanching the meat
      3. Soak the dried conpoys in warm water for 10 minutes
      4. Prepare your chicken and cutting it into quarters (or any size you prefer)
      5. When your blanching water boils, add in the pork and chicken and boil on high heat for 5 minutes. Make sure the water is boiling and you should see residue, fat, grim, and even foam come to the surface.
      6. Begin to boil your soup water
      7. Once your soup water boils, remove the meat from the blanching pot and shake off any excess and slowly lower into your soup water
      8. Add in dried conpoys
      9. Boil on medium heat for 30 minutes
      10. Reduce heat to the lowest and cover and let it simmer like that for another 2-3 hours (or use a thermal pot). The soup should now be a rich, golden color after boiling for so long. Be sure to scoop out any oil, fat bits, or skin from the top with an oil scooper

      For video on “7 Basic Chinese Soup Pantry Ingredients”, visit us on YouTube.

      Here are some examples of other soups using a chicken soup base:

      The chicken soup base is a great soup to start with for so many dishes and soups!  Here are a few to get you started!

      This simple chicken soup is a great base for noodles, rice soup, or macaroni.  Don’t forget to strain the ingredients and you can even add them as part of the meal!

        Using this chicken soup base for shabu shabu is the perfect solution to start your hot pot adventures! 

          This soup is using the base chicken soup recipe that is perfect for double-boiling.  For example, the only additional ingredient added here is the ginseng on top of the soup base.

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            Fresh Dates

            Fresh Dates

            Fresh Dates

            Ingredient Name:

            Fresh Red Dates

            Traditional Chinese Name:

            红枣 (hóng zǎo)

             

            Ah!  The sweet crunchy crunchy of little fruit, bursting with juices and sugars.  This is definitely not your traditional Chinese soup ingredient, but I walked by a vendor this morning who insisted I try them with soup!  She knows I’m always on the look out for new and interesting ingredients, so she suggested this sweetish, fruity soup paired with pork shank for the family.  I’d never thought to use fresh dates, but this is a unique find indeed!  The seeds are not easy to extract, so I kept them in.  They aren’t are fiery as their processed cousins, the dried red dates, because of how they are processed.  And, you can eat them raw!  If you happen to chance across this during your shopping, try them!  A great pairing with the snow pear!

            What is it?

            • A small, round, red, seeded fruit (in its mature state) produced by date palm tree
            • When eaten raw, it’s got a sweet almost apple like taste with a crunchy texture
            • Commonly found in Asia, some parts of Europe and India
            • In Chinese cuisine, the dried dates can be found in both salty and sweet dishes, in soups, as dried snacks and in teas
            • Fresh dates aren’t so common in soups and are quite seasonal, so be sure to check availability

            How do I prepare it?

                • Rinse and wash under cold water before usage to remove dirt and grim
                • You can remove the seeds similar to apples, but you can also slice (as shown) and use in soups
                • You don’t need to peel the skin, they can be eaten with the fruit
                • Suggest to cut and slice only if you’re going to use them, else you can keep them in the fridge for a week (similar to apples!)

            Where can I buy it and cost?

                • You can purchase fresh dates from any supermarket or your local wet mart

                • They are seasonal fruits and usually available in late September

            What is the cost?

                • Fresh dates cost around $12 HKD for a pack of 8-10, this will vary on season and vendor

            Any benefits?

            • Red dates are known to assist in maintaining healthy blood pressure and assist the stomach and spleen in poor appetites
            • It is also commonly used to address stress in drinks and teas
            • Due to its sweetness, it is soothing to the throat and used to treat sore throats
            • Red dates are an excellent source of Vitamin C (and also packed with great antioxidants that help kill free radicals which increase aging)
            • A common ingredient found for Chinese confinements
            • Dates are high in fiber, helping with digestion and constipation
            • They are also known to help blood sugar control

            Any precautions?

            • Be sure you are buying red dates from a reputable source as some red dates do carry diseases
            • For soups, use pitted dried dates. The seeds are known to create “fire” in the body and not usually ideal

            Looking to build your basic Chinese Soup Pantry?

            The dried red dates is one of them!  Check it out in my video to learn more!

             

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