Julie Tran: Mum helps to settle the wonton dispute

Julie Tran
Julie Tran

AN ARGUMENT erupted over my regular family dinner on Sunday night. It was the classic pavlova disagreement.

While, purists claim the dessert came from New Zealand, over the Tasman, Australians believed the mouth-watering sweet originated here.

So, there we were, knee-deep into the finer points of where the wonton originated.

My cousin Janny looked at the pre-made mix of meat, made by her chef husband, with much disappointment.

In the words of sauce fanatic and My Kitchen Rules judge Manu Feidel, Janny replaced the statement sauce with prawns - Where are the prawns?

While encasing the meat with wonton skin, I had a second glance, too. Yes, seafood or no seafood, the thought baffled me.

Wonton noodles originated in Guangzhou, China. It was only after World War II that the specialty dish, usually preserved for the rich, made its way to the former British Colony.

Now, the Hong Kongese add shrimp as an ingredient, as the readily-available produce is easily found on the coast.

Along with the Chinese migrants to other parts of the world, wonton noodles became a regular staple in the 1980s and over time the original recipe was adapted.

The steaming wonton noodle soup we all had a hand in making came out from the kitchen. Sunday night dinner was served, even if it took more of a traditional leaning. Here the wontons were in their purest form — no prawns in sight, sticking to the original script.

As part of my Family Recipes series, my mum shared her secret on how to make this century-old dish. What I love about homemade recipes is that you don't need fancy ingredients that are difficult to source.

All you need to do is venture to the local Asian grocer for this classic.

What does my mum do with her wontons?

Well, she's never been a traditionalist. Hong Kong and Australia share the good fortune of an abundance of exquisite seafood. My mother, Nham, takes full advantage of that — she ensures the perfect proportion of prawns and pork in the filling.

Ah, you say tomato, I say tomato!

If you want to know how to make my mother's version of this winter warmer, go to: tinyurl.com/tranfoodvideos.

Do you have a dish you'd like to share? Is there a recipe you know which has stood the test of time?

Submit your story to Julie Tran, jujutran @outlook.com.


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