Makes about 2½ dozen wontons; serves 4

¾ ounce (thick and about 2 inches long) piece of ginger, unpeeled

5 ounces minced pork

½ egg, beaten

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1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine

½ teaspoon sesame oil


Ground white pepper

3 tablespoons stock

5 tablespoons finely sliced scallions, green parts only, divided

1 (200 gram) package of wonton wrappers

Plain flour, to dust

3 to 4 tablespoons sweet, aromatic soy sauce, or 3 to 4 tablespoons light or tamari soy sauce with 1½ to 2 teaspoons caster sugar

5 to 6 tablespoons chili oil, with its sediment

2 to 4 heaped teaspoons crushed garlic

1. Crush the ginger with the flat of a cleaver blade or a rolling pin, and put it in a cup with just enough cold water to cover. Place the pork, egg, Shaoxing wine and sesame oil in a bowl with 1½ teaspoons of the ginger water and ¼ teaspoon salt and 1
8 teaspoon pepper, or to taste. Stir well. Mix in the stock, 1 tablespoon at a time. Finally, add the 3 tablespoons finely sliced scallions.

2. Fill a small bowl with cold water. Take a wonton wrapper and lay it flat in one hand. Use a table knife or a small spatula to press about 1 teaspoon of the pork mixture into the center of the wrapper. Dip a finger into the cold water, run it around the edges of the wrapper and fold it diagonally in half. Press the edges tightly together, moisten one of the corners, overlap with the opposite corner and press firmly to seal the dumpling. (They will look like Italian tortellini.) Lay on a flour-dusted tray or large plate.

3. Bring a large pan of water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, prepare three or four serving bowls. In each bowl, place 1 tablespoon of the sweet, aromatic soy sauce, 1½ tablespoons chili oil with sediment and one-half to 1 heaped teaspoon of crushed garlic, to taste.

4. When the water has come to a boil, drop in the wontons. Stir gently to make sure they do not stick together. When the water returns to a rolling boil, pour in a small cup of cold water to calm it down. When the water has come to a boil for the third time, the wontons should be cooked through (cut one open to make sure). Remove the wontons with a slotted spoon, drain well and divide among the prepared serving bowls. Scatter each bowl with some of the remaining scallions. Serve immediately, stirring everything together before tucking in.

— Adapted by the Los Angeles Times from “Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking” by Fuchsia Dunlop.