The lure of Chinatown isn’t just the restaurants: Its cheap supermarkets are also a draw. You can find ingredients for my mom’s no-fuss Shanghai-style wontons in any Chinatown market. Unlike the dumplings you get with noodles, these are large enough to be eaten by themselves (and the wrappers are egg-free). My mom prefers using pork because beef and chicken can easily be overcooked and get rubbery.
1 lb ground pork
1/2 head medium-sized napa cabbage
1 package Shanghai-style wonton wrappers
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons corn starch
Bowl of room-temperature water
How to make your wontons
Click through the photo gallery above for a step-by-step visual tutorial!
How to cook the wontons
› For soup, pre-boil the wontons in a pot of water for three minutes to get rid of the floury taste. Transfer to a pot of boiling chicken broth and cook for 10 minutes. You can also add bok choy or Chinese broccoli to the bubbling broth. Serve immediately. Choice condiments: shacha sauce, a thick, salty-spicy paste made from dried seafood and chilies, or a drizzle of sesame oil.
› For pan-fried, first place dumplings in a hot pan with oil and cook on medium until the wrappers are slightly browned (about two minutes). Add water until it covers a third of the dumplings. Cover and let the steam cook them until the water has evaporated. Lift the lid and let the dumplings rest for a minute before serving. Choice condiment: Chinese black vinegar, which is puckery, malty, and salty. For the love of Buddha, do not use white vinegar. That’s just wrong.
Yields about 42 dumplings, which serves three regular people, or two ravenous ones.