For wonton or wanton noodles 雲吞麵, the noodles itself, are generally yellowish fresh egg noodles with light food lye flavour. We call it as ‘wantan mee’ here. Maybe because of our hot weather, generally we love it dry, i.e. in the notion of 干撈麵 / 撈麵 in Cantonese or 拌麵 in Mandarin.
When I was a young teenager, my mum always bought and kept half a dozen of fresh wantan noodles in the fridge. I often rushed to make plain dry wantan noodles so as to bring to school before my school bus came around 6.30 am. My family homecook, no wanton dumplings, no char siu (bbq roasted pork), no braised chicken feet whatsoever! Of course, I have never ever asked my mum if really our little family couldn’t afford that or whatever the reason. All I can remember during my young teenager era, I normally can only bring to school, plain wantan mee, if not, bread.
Frankly speaking, I don’t usually order wantan mee when eating out; except my ultimate love that with braised beef brisket 牛腩麵 type. Part of it because I casually cook dry wantan mee at home. The wantan mee with no wantan dumplings one >"<), but with mushroom and minced meat dressing instead. For me, this is one of the very basic Cantonese cooking.
Mushroom & Minced Meat Wanton Noodles 冬菇肉碎干撈雲吞麵
2 large or 3 medium dry shiitake mushrooms, soaked till soften, drained, excess water squeezed, sliced
100 g minced meat (chicken / pork / beef), marinated with ground white pepper & a pinch of salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Thai fish sauce
1/2 TBsp caramel dark soy sauce
to taste light soy sauce
ground white pepper
pinch of sugar
2 TBsp oyster sauce
1/2 TBsp sesame oil
1/2 TBsp potato-starch / cornstarch, mixed with 2 ~ 3 TBsp water
1/2 ~ 3/4 cup water
3 brunches leafy vege (choy sum / kailan / siew pak choy), washed, cut about 6 cm wide
1 TBsp edge-cut spring onion
2 ~ 3 nos fresh wanton noodles
To make the mushroom minced meat dressing:
1. Lightly brown half of the minced garlic with 2 ~ 3 TBsp of cooking oil over medium heat to make some garlic oil. Set aside.
Note: Minced garlic oil, minced shallot oil, or a mixture of both. All good. Load of Cantonese love lard too, in that case, brown minced pork fat into oil.
2. Over high heat, saute the balance half of minced garlic with a TBsp of cooking oil till fragrant, add and sauté in the minced meat, and then add and sauté with the mushroom, altogether till a bit browned.
3. Add in Thai fish sauce, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, ground white pepper, sugar and water, give a stir, turn to medium low heat, simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in oyster sauce, thicken the gravy with some starch. Remove from heat, stir in sesame oil.
To blanch the wanton noodles:
1. Over high heat bring a big wok of water to boil. Blanch the vege, choy sum here, retrieve and mix in a tsp of garlic oil. Serve on two separated plates.
2. Loosen wanton noodles bundles. Throw the noodles into hot boiling water and shake the noodles with a pair of chopsticks to try to eliminate excess flour & food lye, and to prevent noodles sticking together. Cook the noodles till al dente.
- Little water would not work well.
- 1 to 1.5 bundle of noodles for 1 single pax. Cook noodles for one pax a batch in a time.
- Do not cook the noodles till soften. Al dente describes as cooked through but firm still to the bite.
3. With a wire noodle strainer, transfer the noodles and plunge into a large bowl of tap water to cool it down immediately, 汆水. Rinse off excess starch from the noodles with chopsticks.4. Return the noodles back to hot boiling water for just a couple of seconds. Retrieve with the strainer and shake off access water. Immediately toss with 1/2 Tbsp of garlic oil. Two ways: toss the noodles with half of the mushroom minced meat prepared, or, top the gravy as dressing onto the noodles (but to mix them eventually when eating). Serve it on the plate that with vege and garnish with spring onion. Enjoy~
There you go, homecook mushroom & minced meat wantan mee!
A wholesome meal idea for those who don’t want to cook like 3, 4 different dishes so as to complete or to accompany a rice meal. Also, a very “useful” not too complicated recipe that can be prepared for one or two people at home. Apart from using wanton noodles, you can top the same mushroom and minced meat dressing on many other blanched noodles also such as udon うどん, mee sua 麵線, cellophane noodles 冬粉, pan mee 板麺, and etc. Happy cooking.