I love having breakfast when I’m having breakfast. Unfortunately, since young, I was never big on breakfast not because I dislike breakfast fares but because I find it a fuss to get my elbows up in grease first thing in the morning. At times however, I do feel like treating myself to some good hot breakfast.
As a typical Malaysian, I would not stray far from roti canai or nasi lemak and a nice piping hot mug of teh tarik (or milo ais) when I am back home in Malaysia. In Canada, my breakfast runs from the usual bowl of cereal, mueslis to soft-boiled eggs to just a cup of coffee. And on days when I feel like good breakfast, I make myself a nice western style breakfast of 2 sausages, roasted tomatoes, 2 eggs sunny side up on a nice hot crispy toast. Other times, when my Asian tastebuds kick in, I go for a milder version of Dim Sum by steaming my own wrapped wontons.
This is my plate of breakfast, western-style:
And this is my plate of wonton for breakfast:
The western style breakfast is a very typical affair, you can pretty much figure out what I did by just looking at the plate. As for my wonton, it is made from my very own filling and the trick is the way the meat is minced. I got this tip from my granduncle who was fresh off the boat from China 50-60 years ago. He’s long passed on but his culinary tips were as precious as the dried sharks’ fin that were hung on the wooden pantry in his kitchen – it wasn’t ethically incorrect to eat sharks’ fin then. He was a master cook and worked as a chef in Chinese restaurants in before he came to Malaya to marry my grandmother’s sister.
The way to mince the filling for wonton is really quite simple – NEVER FLIP THE MEAT OVER WHILE MINCING. Just mince the meat repeatedly in horizontal and vertical actions until the meat is, well, minced. Flipping it over would just mash the meat into goo and this would compromise the beady juicy texture of the minced meat, which plays a big part in taste when you pop these little pockets of joy in your mouth!
Throwing caution into the wind is imperative in making a good wonton filling. You will inevitably need a bit of pork fat to make this work. So the ration of 3:1 – 3 part pork tenderloin: 1 part pork fat is observed for a good filling. My granduncle would probably go as far as half and half but it’s your prerogative.
For every 250grams of meat use 1tsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1/4 tsp white pepper powder, 3 tbsp of chopped green onions and 3 tbsp of chopped carrots. Another invaluable tip is to coat the green onions and shredded carrot with a teaspoon of cooking oil to prevent them from turning the filling watery. It would also keep the veggies crisp after the wonton is cooked – while it may seem insignificant, this tiny detail plays a huge part in the flavor profile of your wontons.
150g fatty pork belly
2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup of chopped green onions, coated with oil
1/4 cup of shredded carrots, coated with oil
2 teaspoon corn starch
1. Minced the the tenderloin and pork belly together vertically and then turn the board 90degrees and start mincing again. DO NOT turn the meat over to mince as this will turn the mince pork into paste. We want nice tiny grains of pork that will hold the seasoning better.
2. Add the seasoning into the minced pork and mix well. You can now use the filling in wonton wrappers or roll them into a ball and make meatball soup.
What I do is make plenty of wonton in advance and then freeze them on a tray before packing them in a ziploc bag. It’s such a convenient food to have around because all you need to do is boil some water, add a bit of chicken stock and dump in x-number of wontons. Dinner in 10 minutes.
I make vegetarian versions too and I replace meat for hard crumbled tofu and hydrated dried shitake mushrooms. The seasoning remains the same for the vegetarian version.