Ready in just 30 minutes (if you use store-bought wrappers & chicken broth), this easy Sichuan wonton soup recipe is one of the most famous of all the Chengdu snacks and it’s one of the easiest things to make at home. A truly comforting and heart-warming Sichuan wonton soup.
Wonton Filling Ingredients
- 1 (16-ounce) package wonton wrappers (250g) (or use homemade wonton wrappers)
- 8.85 ounces marbled pork collar or pork shoulder, minced (250g) (sub fatty 70/30 pre-ground pork)
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, diced into matchsticks (10g)
- 1 scallion (optional but delicious)
- 1/4 cup + 2 3/4 tablespoons of cool water, (100g)
- 1 large egg, white and yolk separated (50g)
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce (14g)
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (3g)
- dash of white pepper
Homemade Wonton Broth Ingredients (sub low-sodium store-bought chicken broth)
- 1/4 of a small chicken (or 2 pieces of either wings, backs with necks, or legs)
- 10 cups water (2.5 liters)
- 1/2 large white or yellow onion (or equivalent ends and peels)
- 1/2 large carrot (or equivalent ends and peels)
- 1-inch piece of cinnamon stick (optional but recommended)
- 2-inch piece of celery
- 3 dried porcini mushrooms (optional but recommended)
Optional Wonton Broth Aromatics & Flavor Enhancers
- 1 teaspoon rendered pork fat (6g) (optional but recommended)
- 1 slice fresh ginger (6g) (optional but recommended)
Optional Wonton Soup Toppings
- cilantro leaves
- sliced scallions
- homemade crispy fried wonton strips
- Make the wonton broth. Skip this step if using store-bought chicken broth. Add all of the wonton broth ingredients to a pressure cooker or Instapot and bring it to high pressure. Once it’s at high pressure, reduce the heat to the lowest possible flame while still maintaining high pressure and cook for at least 30 minutes and up to 45 minutes. You may allow it to naturally release (for a clearer broth), or run cold water over the top of the pressure cooker to release the pressure. Strain the broth reserving the chicken meat for another use.
- Infuse the water with ginger (and scallions if using). Cut the ginger into matchsticks and press on them to crush them with the side of a chef’s knife. If using scallions, cut them into 3 to 4 pieces and crush them with the side of the knife as well. Add the ginger (and scallions if using) to a bowl with cool water and set aside to steep for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
- Mince the pork filling meat. Skip to step #3 if using pre-ground fatty pork. Chill the pork shoulder (or collar) meat in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes until firm but not frozen. This makes it easier to dice the meat into 2-inch pieces. Place the diced meat back into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes to slightly firm up. When firm but not frozen, grind the meat using the Kitchen Aid meat grinder attachment using the smallest die (or another meat grinder). After the meat has been ground, use a cleaver or two chef knives to chop it even finer (see step-by-step photos) and add it to a mixing bowl. *Alternatively, you can just use a cleaver or two chef knives (one in each hand) to finely mince the pork without first grinding it.
- Make the pork filling. Add the egg white (or the whole egg for extra richness), light soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and white pepper, and stir vigorously to combine. Next, add the ginger water in 3 stages mixing completely and fully after each addition to hydrate the meat for about 10 minutes. The mixture should be pasty and jiggly when it’s finished (see photos). Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.
- Fill the wontons. Place a wonton wrapper in the palm of your hand and add a small amount of filling (about 1 teaspoon) to the center. Using water or a cornstarch slurry, lightly wet one entire L-shaped corner of the wrapper and fold the wrapper in half to form a triangle. Seal the wrapper closed pressing down gently around the filling all the way around the wonton to press out any air. *If you don’t press out the air, the wontons will open up while boiling and be ruined. Make an indention in the middle of the wonton using your finger to crease it. Bring one of the hanging “side flaps” over the top of the other “flap”, add a dot of water or slurry, and press the two “flaps” together to seal. Place sealed wontons on a parchment-lined baking tray lightly dusted with cornstarch so they don’t stick together. You may place the wontons directly into the freezer at this point while you finish the wonton broth.
- Prepare the wonton broth. Add 4 cups (1L) of homemade chicken broth to a pot, season with salt to taste, add the ginger slice and pork fat (if using), and bring to a boil.
- Cook the wontons. Add the wontons to the broth and gently stir them around the pot so they don’t stick. Cook for 4 minutes or until the wrappers look more translucent and the filling is firm and cooked through. Serve the wontons in the broth and top with scallions, cilantro, and crispy fried wontons (if using), Enjoy!
- If using pork shoulder that doesn’t look very fatty, you may substitute one 1/3 of the shoulder meat with ground pork belly to help fatten it up. This is what I do sometimes to help plump up the pork and make it even tastier.
- Always stir the pork mixture (or any dumpling or wonton filling) in one direction only either clockwise or counterclockwise. This helps tenderize the protein and break down the fibers which allows the meat to better absorb the liquid resulting in very tender, juicy cooked wontons.
- Do not over-fill the wontons. It’s tempting to want to load up on the filling, but these are different than dumplings and should be filled with less pork mixture. One package of 16-ounce wonton wrappers has anywhere between 60-67 wrappers. You should fill each one with just about one teaspoon of pork filling. That said, if you want to add just a bit more filling, don’t add more than 1 1/2 teaspoons per wrapper which will yield about 40 or so wontons.
- I like to use a cornstarch slurry to seal wontons, but you can also just use water. For the slurry, add 1 tablespoon (10g) of cornstarch to a bowl with 1 1/2 tablespoons (17g) of water, and stir. Do not wet more than one “L” shaped half of the wrapper or it may become too soggy and star to tear.
6 Traditional Sichuan Tips & Techniques for Making the Best Long Wonton Soup
Here are the most important tips for making authentic Sichuan wontons that I learned from the locals. It’s not rocket science and none of these tips are difficult. But truly great (not just “good” or “ok” wontons) depends on whether or not you use these 6 tips.
- Grind and mince the pork yourself. Instead of buying pre-ground pork, freshly grinding it and/or mincing it yourself creates a far superior filling. And it really only takes just a few minutes to mince a piece of pork collar or shoulder using two sharp knives or a cleaver.
- Make Ginger-water (or ginger-scallion water). Ginger and also sometimes scallions are sliced, smashed, and added to cool tap water to infuse the water. Infusing the pork with ginger water (or ginger-scallion water) is a local Sichuanese trick for getting all the delicious ginger and scallion flavor into these notoriously tender wonton fillings without ever having to bite down on an actual piece of ginger or scallion. Once I was taught this trick, I never looked back. I use this technique in all of my dumpling recipes. It’s brilliant and in some ways akin to how Italians often use smashed whole garlic cloves to flavor sauces and ragùs, but then remove the cloves before serving the final pasta.
- Stir the pork filling in one direction only. Whipping the pork mixture vigorously and quickly in one direction for a solid 10 to 12 minutes breaks down the proteins and muscle fibers and transforms the pork mixture into a bouncy, pasty, tender filling (or shàng jìn).
- Never add the ginger-water (or ginger-scallion water) all at once. The purpose of adding infused aromatic water (besides adding extra flavor) and whipping it in (as if your life depends on it), is to hydrate the pork and make it tender and juicy after being cooked. This should be done in at least 3 stages so the meat better absorbs the water and plumps up. If you add the infused water all at once, the meat will not absorb it properly and will expel the liquid (the exact opposite of what you want), which will be a watery mess.
- Allow the wonton filling to marinate and chill for at least 30 minutes before filling the dumplings. Resting the pork mixture for a bit before filling the wontons allows the flavors to meld together. Simply cover and refrigerate it which also helps firm up the filling making the wontons a little easier to fill. Give everything a good stir before filling.
- Make homemade chicken broth (or broth using pork, duck, and chicken. Your family will thank you for it and this wonton soup recipe will be far superior because of it. Making homemade chicken broth takes 30 minutes in a pressure cooker or Instapot. Although if I’m not in a hurry, I like to let it cook for 45 minutes to extract as much flavor as possible. I buy the cheapest cuts of chicken (carcass pieces/necks/backs/legs/wings(they’re not expensive here in Italy), portion them and freeze them. I also never throw out vegetable peels (like the knobs from zucchini, the ends and peels of onions, carrots, celery, etc. Instead, I keep a bag in the freezer and add the otherwise discarded produce to it so I am never without the ability to make a great homemade broth from scratch.
How to Freeze Extra Wontons For Quick & Easy 10-Minute Meals
You may be wondering if it’s possible to freeze wontons and you’ll be happy to know that it’s not only possible, it’s encouraged. This recipe makes just about 6 servings of 10 wontons per person which means you can freeze the wontons you don’t cook right away. To freeze wontons, place them onto a parchment-lined tray sprinkled with a little cornstarch and pop it into the freezer. Freeze the wontons completely (this takes about 45 minutes). When they are frozen solid you can add them to a freezer bag and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
When you want to eat wontons simply add them frozen directly to boiling water or broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until cooked through. Do not thaw frozen wontons first before cooking them because this will cause them to break and tear open because of the moisture.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 4 minutes
- Category: Dim Sum + Dumplings
- Method: Boiled
- Cuisine: Sichuan
- Serving Size: 10 Wontons
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