Comforting chicken-and-prawn wontons

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Comforting chicken-and-prawn wontons

Dombolo, bao, ravioli, manti, siomay, pierogi, modak, pelmeni, momo and gnocchi – almost every country has its own take on dumplings. This week Clement Pedro shows us how to make a Japanese variant of this comforting food – chicken-and-prawn wontons.

It’s amazing how every country you can think of has a dumpling of some sort. But the one thing they all have in common is that they are the ideal comfort food. Hence there are no gluten-free, wheat-free, sugar-free versions of them.

My theory is that mothers all over the world developed these recipes to satisfy that one child who would wake up and the first thing they would ask is “what are we going to eat?” I was that kid!

Dumplings must be simple, deliver maximum flavour and comfort all at once. They’re usually steamed, fried or poached and all have some sort of dough or pastry in which all kinds of deliciousness nestles.

I can’t imagine a better occasion than sitting at the table with my nearest and dearest being served mouthwatering steamed bao filled with pulled pork, or steamed wontons stuffed with pork and prawn seasoned with a fiery chilli paste, and, not forgetting my ultimate favourite, pot-stickers! They’re the best of both worlds – crispy bases with steamed tops, which are delicately flavoured before being dipped into the most heavenly sauces.

This is my show-off midweek meal, but to tell the truth, it’s so easy to prepare and takes less than 10 minutes to cook.

Chicken and prawn wontons: Finely dice 2 chicken breasts, then place in a mixing bowl with 2 finely chopped spring onions, 3 cloves finely grated garlic, 1 x 10 cm piece of ginger, finely grated. Roughly chop 200 g uncooked prawns, 15 g coriander (stems and all) and add to the mixture. Season with 2 t toasted sesame oil, 2 t smoked chilli flakes and 4 T soya sauce and stir into the mixture until the sauce has been absorbed into the filling. You shouldn’t see any soya sauce.

Wonton skins or wrappers are available at all Asian supermarkets, just be sure to take them out the freezer in time so that they aren’t frozen and are easy to handle.

Place a teaspoon of the mixture in the centre of a wrapper, then wet your fingertip with some water and run it along the edge of the wrapper. Fold 2 opposite corners together to form a triangle. With the top point of the triangle facing you, fold the 2 opposite corners together and pinch to form a tortellini-like shape. With a little practice you’ll be knocking these out in seconds, so just keep at it.

Heat a pan over a medium heat, then add 1 T canola oil and carefully pack the wontons tightly into the pan. Allow them to cook for about 5 minutes, then check whether the bases have started to crisp.

Once the bases of the wontons are light golden in colour, add ¼ cup water and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Steam for 3 minutes, or until the skins have become translucent, which means they’ve cooked.

Gently shake the pan to loosen the wontons, then slide directly onto a serving plate. Top with a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds, freshly chopped coriander and a few thin slices of chilli.

To make a simple dipping sauce, mix ¼ cup sweet chilli sauce with 3 T soya sauce, 1 t toasted sesame oil and 1 T oyster or BBQ sauce. Thin down with 1 T water and stir before serving.

Browse more wonderful wonton recipes here.

Clement Pedro Article by: Clement Pedro

Clement Pedro strikes a balance between rib-sticking fare you can really get stuck into and experimental recipes that take accessible ingredients to next-level status. Clem can do pretty much anything – and so can you with his recipes.

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