As we settle into cooler weather, we can’t help but crave the warm flavours of a classic wonton soup. The folds of delicious savoury spices enveloped into a silky dough scream cozy vibes. Chef Nick Liu of DaiLo and Wall of Chefs has been making wontons for years with a mastery in all things dumpling. One of Nick’s most iconic dishes has to be DaiLo’s Hakka Brown Wontons — a family recipe passed down through generations. Infusing the traditional flavours of Chinese cooking with South African practices, Chef Nick has been able to create, in our mind, the perfect wonton.
Chef Nick is no stranger to working with a variety of cooktops. While Nick does work primarily with gas stoves, he finds electric cooktops like Thermador’s Pro Harmony Induction Range to be an excellent alternative. At the end of the day, it’s all about the method and ingredients that make the perfect wonton, and Chef Nick is here to show you how. Read on to learn how to make the perfect wonton from Chef Nick Liu.
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What dough are wontons made of?
According to chef Nick, the perfect wonton wrapper combination needs to be silky and have a good resistance to liquid. “By adding a little bit of sodium bicarbonate to the dough, it will be able to resist absorbing too much liquid,” says Nick. “Too much liquid and your wontons will more likely become very soggy.” The ingredients to make wonton dough are quite minimalist, consisting of: wheat flour, eggs and water.
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What is included in wonton filling?
“You could fill a dumpling with anything you like — I prefer going for the traditional,” says Nick. “The recipe I have for the Hakka Wontons resonated with me through culture, family and the style of ingredients the recipe calls for.” While pork is commonly used in wontons, traditional chefs will also use shrimp. In chef Nick’s recipe, he focuses on using a combination of fresh and dried shrimp, alongside savoury pork rinds.
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Do you steam or fry wontons?
“I boil my wontons,” says Nick. “Frying is a Western approach to making wontons — which is still delicious, but I stick to the traditions.” As mentioned, boiling wontons maintains that silky, velvety texture, while frying will make them dense and crunchy.
What 5 ingredients make the perfect wonton?
While Nick does love a variety of ingredients, his go-to’s are: shrimp, pork, dried shrimp, pork rinds and soy for seasoning. There are plenty of other wonton recipes that carry chicken, fish and vegetables that you can try as well.
What is your preferred method to seal a wonton?
Chef Nick outlines two ways of sealing a wonton;
Mom’s method: Chef Nick’s mother uses a loop and fold technique. She doesn’t use any water or egg wash — a sign of an expert. She then takes the dumpling, integrates the mixture into the skin, rolls it, forms a pocket, then seals the ends together with the meat.
DaiLo method: Nick’s staff follow a very similar method of folding wontons. However, they use egg wash to ensure that the wontons don’t break apart during cooking.
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