Prawn Wonton Soup

Prawn Wonton Soup

Prawn Wonton Soup

Asian flavours are something of an enigma for me, given that I am allergic to chilli there are a few recipes I don't even try to create, as I know I will not be doing them justice.  This soup is light and flavoursome and for me is fine without chilli, though please add it if you like.  I have used pork mince with the prawns for the wonton filling, however chicken mince or just all prawn is also delicious.  The pork gives a bit more depth and bulk to the soup but is not essential.  Don't be put off by the long ingredients list - this is easy to put together!

12 large green prawns; raw, shelled and deveined, chop 6 of the prawns into a rough mince, retain the other 6 whole (reserve the shells and heads for stock)
250 grams pork mince
1 packet of round wontons
3 tablespoons ginger, finely grated
500mls vegetable, seafood or chicken stockPrawn Wonton Soup
½ teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon dried coriander
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Juice and zest of a lime
4 spring onions, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 eggs beaten (1 for the filling and 1 egg for brushing on wontons)
6 baby bok choy
¼ Chinese cabbage, finely sliced
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1 red capsicum (or chilli), finely sliced
½ green  capsicum, finely sliced
Chives and chive flowers
Hot water

For the soup stock base:
In a large pan, add the white pepper and coriander and heat until smoking hot.  Add the reserved prawn shells and heads and fry off over a high heat.  Add half the ginger, 1 clove of garlic, the sesame oil and reduce the heat.  Add the whole prawns and allow to cook through, then add 500mls of prepared stock (either homemade or a good commercial stock), lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce and 2 spring onions.
Remove the whole prawns once they are cooked through and set aside.
Simmer the stock over a medium heat, allow to reduce down.  The stock should be a dark, rich russet orange colour, with a deep flavour.  Leave the stock to continue reducing down while the rest of the dish is prepared.

For the wantons:
To make the wantons, combine the pork mince with half the shredded cabbage and the chopped prawns.  Add the remaining spring onions, ginger, garlic and sesame seeds, add 1 beaten egg and combine the mixture well, whisking with a fork until the filling is sticky and cohesive.
To each round of wonton pastry add about a teaspoon of filling.  Brush with beaten egg, then fold the edge of the wonton wrapper over in a crimping motion.  Fold the wonton back on itself all the way round the edge of the crescent, so there is no gap for the filling to escape from. Fold the outer edge over the already folded down corner, like folding the hem of a skirt!
Brush each finished wonton with additional beaten egg and set aside.

To finish the soup:
Sieve the stock, ensuring there are not extraneous prawn whiskers or legs.  Discard the sieved portion of the soup and return the clear stock to the pan.  Increase the heat to just under a simmer.
Taste the stock – it should be concentrated - very deeply flavoured and rich. Add enough additional hot water to reduce the stock down to soup-friendly flavour base.  The soup stock should be slightly salty, as once the wontons are added they will cut back the intensity of the soup base and make the liquid more unctuous with the simmered off gluten from the wonton wrappers. 
Add the zest of the lime, the capsicums (or chilli), the remaining cabbage and a generous sprinkling of chives.
Add the wontons to the simmering soup and allow to cook for 5 minutes.  The wontons should become silky and slippery once cooked through.  Do not overcook them and allow to disintegrate.  Lastly, add the quartered bok choy, cooking only for a minute or so to allow them to wilt.

To serve:  spoon out a generous portion of wontons, a few ladles of soup and plenty of veges.  Add the prepared whole prawns to the serving bowls, sprinkle over some chives and chive flowers.