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Lucky Shanghai Hun Tun Soup

Lucky Shanghai Hun Tun Soup

Hong Kong is absolutely mad this week!!! People are hustling about everywhere making last-minute preparations for the Chinese New Years Celebration.

It is one of the Chinese New Year customs to clean the house from top to bottom to get rid off all the bad luck gathered in the previous year. However, did you know that after the New Year comes, you cannot sweep during the first days otherwise all the new luck will sweep away! (So that is my excuse and I'm sticky to it)

Another big Chinese tradition is to put up big red banners with New Year messages of good luck to decorate the main entrance of your house/room. Red is a very lucky color and symbolizes vitality of life and happiness.

Of course everyone is running around expecting a little red packet of money (Hong Bao in Mandarin) (Laisee in Cantonese)...

Chinese people like to buy auspicious flowers and plants before the new year to bring them good luck and happiness in the New Year. The Solanum mammosum is a very unique plant. According to my friend Safie, in Chinese it is written as 五代同堂 - wu dai tong tang, meaning Five Generations Living Harmoniously Under One Roof. This would mean a family having great-great grandparents, great grandparents, grandparents, parents and children living harmoniously together in the same household. This would mean longevity, prosperity and happiness for the family. I asked my dear friend Safie this question about this plant in the morning and by that afternoon she had delivered one to my doorstep. Safie you are such a sweet heart!

 五代同堂 - wu dai tong tang

Now comes the good part, the food...The New Year's feast takes many days to prepare. These are some of the traditional Chinese New Year foods served on New Year's day and throughout the festivities:

  • meat dumplings for good luck
  • tangerines for good fortune
  • apples for peace
  • sweet rice cakes for more wealth every year (Niangao, 年糕)
  • fish for plenty
  • veggies with long noodles for long life
  • chicken for wealth
  • mustard greens for a green year for farmers
  • soup means everything better than last year
  • oranges for money and wealth
  • shrimp for abundance

So today we are going to combine 2 auspicious meals in one. Wontons (a type of dumpling also know as huntun-馄饨 in Chinese) for good luck and soup to make everything better than from last year. Lets enjoy some tasty lucky Shanghai Hun Tun soup. My dear friends and I made this together. Their skilled little Shanghai  hands can make wontons so quickly and symmetrical compared to my "special" wrapping technique. Lets just say you could tell which ones I made. LOL

Recipe from Lynn Kitchen, my dear Shanghai friend...

Makes about 50 wontons (all ingredients below are approximations. As you know, most seasoned cooks never measure but put a dash of this and dash of that and of course Lynn's was perfect)

Wontons ingredients:

  • 50 wonton wrappers or so (depends on how many teenagers you plan to feed)
  • 1 large bowl Chinese Greens- quickly boiled and then run under cold water to stop the cooking process (Chinese Chrysanthemum, Chinese spinach or Chinese watercress may all be good substitutes
  • 1 pound minced pork (if you like you can substitute part shrimp to this mixture)
  • 2 small green onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper or per your preference
  • 2 teaspoons ginger finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 egg
  • little bowl of water for glue
Soup Base Ingredients:
This soup base is very traditional and very light. If you prefer a more salty soup base, you can add chicken stock or chicken bouillon, but personally I like it just the way it is.
  • pasta water from wontons
  • 2 chopped spring onions
  • salt to taste
  • white pepper to taste
  • drop of 2 of sesame oil
Step 1: Flash boil the Chinese greens and then run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Squeeze the water out of the vegetables and dice finely and set inside a medium mixing bowl.
Lucky Shanghai Hun Tun Soup
Step 2: In the same bowl you put the chopped Chinese greens put in minced pork, green onion, soy sauce, rice wine, salt, white pepper, ginger, garlic, egg and sesame oil and mix well.

Step 3: Place one wonton wrapper in your hand and one teaspoon of pork mixture in the middle. (Do not overfill the wonton or otherwise it will burst open during the cooking process)

Lucky Shanghai Huntun Soup

Step 4: Dip your fingers into the water bowl and place a little water around the edges of the wonton wrapper.

Step 5: Fold the wonton wrapper in half and make sure you press tightly around the edges of where the pork mixture is so you have a good seal.

Lucky Shanghai Huntun Soup

Step 6: Fold the wonton over so it looks like a little flying nun hat and then fold the two ends on top of each other to seal. The finished product should look like a nurses cap or maybe even a flying nuns cap depending on your technique. (I went to an all girls private high school with wicked old nuns, I still have nightmares.)
Lucky Shanghai Huntun Soup
Lucky Shanghai Huntun Soup
Step 7: Place your finished wontons on a baking sheet to prepare for the soup. Alternatively they can be frozen  and used later. (If you decide to freeze some, freeze them flat on a baking sheet and once they are frozen you can transfer them to a plastic baggie. This prevents them from sticking together.)
Lucky Shanghai Huntun Soup
Lucky Shanghai Huntun Soup

Step 8: Boiling the won tons: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the won tons, making sure there is enough room for them to move about freely. Let the won tons boil for 5 - 8 minutes, until they rise to the top and the filling is cooked through. (During the boiling process, add 1 cup of cool water about every 2-3 minutes so that the water does not boil intensively and break apart your wontons- total of 3 cups) Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon.

Step 9: Place somewhere between 5- 10 dumplings in a large bowl (depends on how hungry your teenagers are) and then ladle with 2 ladles of pasta water over the dumplings. Simply add some salt, chopped green onion, white pepper and a little drizzle of sesame oil.

Lucky Shanghai Huntun Soup

Step 10: Enjoy Lucky Shanghai hun Tun soup anytime you want a nourishing and tasty soup. Hen hao chi!!!! (Very tasty)

Xian Nian Kuai Le!!! 
Gong Xi Fa Cai!!
Gong Hei Fat Choy!!
Anyway you want to say it, Happy Lunar New Year to your family from ours!!! Take Care!

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Healthy World Cuisine (HWC) Magazine is committed to provide a lifestyle traveling culinary experience featuring fresh ingredients, easy recipe preparation and culinary enjoyment. READ MORE...

Lucky Shanghai Hun Tun Soup

By HWC Magazine  , , ,   

January 20, 2012

  • Cook: 1 hr 30 mins
  • Yields: 8 Adults or 1 Hungry Teenager


wonton wrappers -

Chinese Chrysanthemum -

ground pork -

green onions -

white pepper -

ginger -

garlic -

sesame oil -

  • Great photos and instructions!
    Happy New Year!

    • Thanks Marie! I know you don’t celebrate this Lunar New Year holiday in Rhode Island but maybe you can tell work you need the week off anyways. I love Asia so many holidays!!

      • Since ‘work’ for me is all at home now, I’m not sure that’s going to fly… 😉
        And, I’m always up for a good party!

  • What fun you are having at the moment with all the celebrations for Chinese New Year. Enjoy!
    🙂 Mandy

    • Very busy in Hong Kong as you know it has the densest population in the world. Even busier and crazier than usual this week.

  • Fab photos of making wontons, it gives me a really clear idea of how to make them. wishing you a happy new year 🙂

    • Thanks. I had a wonderful time making wontons with my friends. Great learning experience.

  • So beautiful! What a lovely soup! I could use some “good luck” soup!

    • I think we could all use a little luck in our busy lives, we best make it a double order of soup. Take care

  • Your wontons are amazingly beautiful and are making me very hungry. That bowl of soup is just filled with goodness and love. I am so happy that you detailed making the wontons. I can’t wait to try and with your step-by-step photos and instructions, I think I can do it!

  • OH!!!!! MY!!!!!! This looks so good. Off to the store to get some wonton wrappers!

    • Thanks Joanne. It is actually a very simple and tasty soup. Perfect for these cooler days. Take care

  • Bobbi, this is great! I very much enjoyed reading the recipe and looking at the photos! Your blog truly is a window into the Chinese culture for us who have never experienced it!!! Happy New Year! 🙂

    • Thanks Sibella. I am glad you enjoyed reading a little about the culture. I think learning about others food, language and cultural is one of my favorite things to do. Of course I guess of all 3 a very big emphasis on the food. Take care

  • Zoe @ Pantry and Fridge

    Fabulous!! I love learning of other cultures. I think they all looked beautiful! 🙂

    Happy Chinese New Year!! 😀

    • Happy Lunar New Years to you too Zoe!

      • Zoe @ Pantry and Fridge

        I also wanted to thank you for being one of my biggest supporters 🙂
        You have really helped me to keep going, and I wanted you to know I appreciate you very much.
        Your blog is inspiring and I hope to be able to make one of your delicious creations soon.
        Thanks for commenting as often as you do. I really love reading what you have to say.
        Keep up the cooking! I’ll keep reading!

        • Hey Zoe, I just realized something.. Did you used to have 2 websites one for your photography and one for your cooking? I tried to take a look at your photography site and no longer available? You are a very talented photographer! Thank you for all of your support and kind words. Take care, BAM

          • Anonymous

            Yea, I used to post photography to a blog but actually am my own worst critic so decided I didn’t like the site and deleted it :/ Thank you for saying so, though. 🙂 I post all my pictures to InstaGram ( now 🙂 under Zoe_Wright instead of to a blog. I’m not sure why I’m more comfortable with it, but I am.
            Cheers Bam!

  • You’ll laugh when you read this. My very first post and recipe is about these dumplings, folded in exactly this way because my mum is Shanghainese! I’m actually make some more this weekend in preparation for CNY.

    • M̀h’gōi or maybe xie xie (thank you) very much for the mention on your website today. Your Chinese New Year Shanghai wontons and other treats sound wonderful. Please extend a greetings of Xian nian kuai le on to your family. Take care

  • Oh my… that just looks amazing. I love how the wontons came out and the soup just looks so delicious. I would definitely enjoy Chinese new years with these dishes.

    • Thanks! My friends Lynn and Yi can make like 50 perfect ones in a minute. I think they may have done this a few times before….

  • I love clear soup with these dumplings. I think I will be eating dinner at a Chinese restaurant tonight, I am craving this soup and this kind of food. I love the step by step pictures, really beautiful.

    • Actually the clear broth soup is so simple but really light and yummy. Thanks for stopping by.

  • What a delicious looking soup! Those pork dumplings are amazing.

  • Hola Bam now is my time to envy you, I just love this chinese soup….looks spectacular
    …..and I love your nails…..looks great!!!!

    • Hola Katy, thanks for the complement but I was the photographer during those step by step shots. Those beautifully manicured nails are my dear friends, Lynn. Take care

  • Pingback: A Chinese new year special: steamed shui mai, dumpling soup and spring rolls « thebigfatnoodle()

  • Thanks for the dumpling recipe and of course sharing a few things about the Chinese new year’s traditions.

  • Kung Hei Fat Choi. I lived in Hong Kong for eight years, so brought back some nice memories. Thank you.

    • Thanks Andy for stopping by. Gong Hei Fat Choy and I love your cooking website. Looking forward to keeping in touch. Take care, Bam

  • Oh wah… I love your wonton soup!!! It’s been so cold and I was thinking of making shumai but have been so busy that I have been reluctant. It must be crazy and fun to be in HK during this time. I like how you shared all the traditions. I didn’t know some of it, so thank you!

    • Konnichi wa Nami-san. Today it is 12 degrees Celsius here in Hong Kong. For HK this is quite brisk. I actually had to wear long trousers and socks today. Brrr…. It is quite crazy and busy in Hong Kong this week. I decided to take some time away from the crowds and cook at home. Take care, BAM

  • This soup looks so good! Wonton soup was always one of my favorites growing up. Now if only I could convince myself to attempt gluten free wonton wrappers… Maybe a weekend project!

    • Dear Clare, please do let me know if you decide to either make from scratch or or able to find in the markets gluten free wrappers. Take care, BAM

  • Wow, this all sounds fantastic, i love traditions, esp the cleaning one, though too late for me to clean now I cannot clean for a few days!? YAY! c

    • We certainly do not want any bad luck by sweeping in the first few days of the New Year….I wonder if this same rule applies to cleaning the bathrooms and dusting. Just to make sure we should avoid all these kinds of activities, just to be sure. Wink…wink… Take care, Bam

  • Happy New Year my friend – everything looks so festive and creative. A wonderful celebration 😀

    • Thanks Choc Chic Guru. I know it is not some yummy sweet dessert like you make but this soup really does hit the spot. Maybe I will have to finish off my meal with of those nutella desserts…

  • Great post. Loved reading more about Chinese New Year… I knew there was a reason why I wasn’t sweeping lately.

    • That is my story for not sweeping and I’m sticking to it. LOL. Thanks for stopping by. Take care, Bam

  • The way you shaped the wonton is exactly what I did for my wonton soup. Lovely!

    • Your wontons are beautiful. I think this particular shaping of the wonton seems to be the method for those raised in or near Shanghai. Whatever the shape or method to create the wontons, your soup looks delicious. Take care, Bam

  • Yummy! I love wonton soup! And it’s even better when it means so much 🙂 I meant to make some stuff for Chinese New Year, but completely lost track of time and pretty much missed it. Looks like you had a yummy meal though!

    • Thanks Stephanie. I agree time has just been flying by so fast. Can you belief it is already the end of January? Soon it will be Valentines Day….

  • I know this is an old post but I just clicked through to you from GG’s website and I’m so happy I did! I’ve always wondered what those funny looking ‘flowers’ where and now I know. I’m lucky enough to have a dumpling lady across the road from me in Shanghai so I don’t make my own dumplings but I always have some in the freezer for emergencies.

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