Learn to make wonton soup and dumplings before Lunar New Year

You may think that wonton soup and dumplings are tough to make, but you can actually create restaurant-quality, delicious dishes right in your own kitchen.

Wontons and Dumplings socialPhoto: VIVIENNE MACHI / STAFF

In anticipation of the Lunar New Year on Feb. 8, we asked our friend Eddie Hsu to share his family recipe for homemade dumplings and wontons, and give us a little demo, too. 

Hsu, who spent many of his afternoons after school making wontons, crab rangoons, and dumplings in his mother's Chinese restaurant in Kansas City, gave us the pro tips for making a full delicious meal before he jetted to Taiwan to celebrate the Lunar New Year back home. Though two of us were able to knock out 35-40 wontons and about 30 dumplings in a little over an hour, he recommends taking your time, putting on some Netflix in the background and cracking open a bottle of wine to enjoy while you build your wontons slowly and properly. Can't argue with that.

The best part is, you can find everything you need at your local Kroger. Ring in the Year of the Monkey with little difficulty.

Wonton prep
Photo: VIVIENNE MACHI / STAFF

EQUIPMENT:

  • 3 large bowls
  • grater or microplane
  • 2 medium/large baking trays
  • Plastic wrap
  • Good knife and cutting board
  • A couple of spoons

INGREDIENTS:

Wontons:

  • 1 large egg for egg wash — used for both wontons and dumplings
  • ¾ lb ground pork
  • ¼ lb shrimp, chopped
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tbs fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • Dash of white pepper
  • 1 package of square wonton wrappers (found in the Natural Foods refrigerated section of Kroger)

Wontons to freeze
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MAKE YOUR WONTONS

1) Beat the egg with some water into a small bowl to make egg wash; set aside

2) Place the ground pork, shrimp, soy sauce, white pepper and sesame oil in a large bowl. Grate the ginger and garlic in. Mix as if you're making a meatball until fully mixed together

3) Take a square wonton wrapper; put about a teaspoon of filling in the middle. Dab some egg wash along two sides of the wrapper, and fold into a triangle, sealing the edges. If some filling comes out, just wipe it off

4) Hold the triangle wonton in the palm of your hand, applying a bit of pressure on the center so that it folds slightly towards the middle. Dab more egg wash on one corner, then press the two corners together to form a bow. Place on a flat baking tray

5) Repeat as necessary until all the filling is gone. Cover the baking tray with plastic wrap and freeze overnight

FOR VEGETARIAN WONTONS: Mix chopped tofu with vegetables like broccoli and mushrooms for the filling. 

Wonton soup ingredients
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Ingredients for the wonton soup:

  • 1 bunch of spinach, Napa/Savoy cabbage or baby bok choy, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of button mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups of low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup of rice wine or dry white wine (optional)
  • Salt
  • White pepper
  • Finely julienned ginger (optional)
  • Sesame oil (optional)

Wonton soup cooking
Photo: VIVIENNE MACHI / STAFF

WONTON SOUP FOR TWO

1) Bring the broth and wine, if using, to rapid boil

2) Drop in 8-12 frozen wontons, mushrooms, whatever greens you're using, and optional ginger

3) Turn to medium heat and boil until all the wontons float to the top and then cook for 2 minutes more.

Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Add extra sesame oil if desired. Top with sliced green onions.

Wonton soup results
Photos: VIVIENNE MACHI / STAFF

Dumplings/potstickers

Dumpling pretty
Photo: VIVIENNE MACHI / STAFF

  • ¾ lb ground pork
  • 1½ -2 cups shredded Napa or Savoy Cabbage
  • 5-6 green onions chopped – green parts only
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tbs fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • Dash of white pepper
  • 1 package round wonton wrappers (found in Asian specialty markets. If you can't find any, sub 1 package of square wrappers and cut into rounds)
  • Water
  • Vegetable oil

For dipping sauce

  • Rice vinegar
  • Fresh ginger
  • Sriracha or garlic chili sauce

Dumpling prep
Photo: VIVIENNE MACHI / STAFF

MAKE YOUR DUMPLINGS

1) Mix the ground pork, shredded cabbage, and green onions together in a large bowl with the soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and white pepper until well mixed.

2) Take a round wonton wrapper and add about a teaspoon full of filling to the center

3) Dab a bit of egg wash around one half of the wrapper's edge, then fold the wrapper over, sealing it

4) Use your fingers to press the edges together to create a ribbon effect along the top — this is purely for aesthetics

5) Place the dumpling flat side down on a large baking tray

6) Repeat as necessary until all the filling is gone. Cover the baking tray with plastic wrap and freeze overnight

FOR VEGETARIAN DUMPLINGS: Mix tofu with vegetables like sliced carrots, mushrooms or broccoli for filling.

Dumplings cooking
Photo: VIVIENNE MACHI / STAFF

COOK THE DUMPLINGS

For steamed dumplings

1) Bring a large pot of water to boil and add salt like cooking pasta.

2) Drop in as many dumplings as you want to eat

3) Turn to medium and boil until all dumplings float to the top and cook an additional 2-3 minutes

4) Remove with strainer and place in a bowl

5) Eat with a ginger and rice vinegar dipping sauce or soy and sriracha sauce

For potstickers – crispy bottoms with steamed top

1) Heat a small pan – make sure it has a lid – on medium heat

2) Add a 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or enough to coat the bottom and heat the oil until it shimmers.

3) Place frozen dumplings in the pan and fry the bottoms for 2 minutes – be careful – they may splatter oil

4) Pour in 1 cup of water more or less until the dumplings are covered about ¼ to 1/3 of the way up with water

5) Put the lid on and let sit 5-8 minutes until almost all the water has evaporated.

6) Remove lid to release steam and turn to low until all the water is gone.

7) Use a spatula to remove from the pan

Eat with a ginger and rice vinegar dipping sauce or soy and sriracha sauce.

Wontons and dumplings final
Photo: VIVIENNE MACHI / STAFF

Happy Lunar New Year!

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