If you’ve read my recipe post on Shrimp Wonton Soup, you’ll know how much I LOVE and obsess over good wontons and dumplings. And to make a delicious high quality wonton soup (or a dumpling soup), a supreme broth is one of the secrets that will make your whole family asking for more. The broth is an important component to any bowl of wonton or dumpling soup. True wonton lovers and veteran Chinese chefs will judge a superior bowl of wontons based on the quality of the broth, the wrapping skin, and of course, the wontons/dumplings themselves. The flavor, texture, lightness and fineness of all of these components all work together to create a first-class delicious wonton soup.
In Hong Kong, one of the top Cantonese Hong-Kong style wonton shops around is the Michelin-rated Mak’s Noodles. This third-generation family-owned business is well-known for its excellent wonton broth. Made with dried stockfish, pork bones, shrimp roe, along with other family secrets, their wonton broth is certainly among the top contenders for the title of best wonton soups. Even Anthony Bourdain stopped by to give their wonton soups a taste.
Here in my supreme wonton broth recipe below, I also use dried stockfish and pork bones. Additionally, I used shrimp shells and heads to give the broth a yummy shrimp taste. You can also add shrimp roe to enhance the umami flavor. All of the ingredients can be purchased at an Asian grocery store or online.
If you are unable to get dried stockfish or Virginia ham, they can be skipped. The meaty pork bones will need to be increased to 3 lbs. Of course, the flavor won’t be as good. But it will be better than store-bought canned chicken broth.
- 15 cups of water
- 2.5 lb of meaty pork bones, rinsed and cut into pieces
- ½ lb of Virginia ham, as substitute for the “金華火腿” Chinese ham which is not sold in the US
- 1 medium-sized whole dried stockfish (I prefer specifically the dried flounder) (“大地魚”)
- Shrimp shells and heads from 2 lbs of shrimp (saved from the making of the wonton filling)
- 5 - 6 slices of ginger
- 10 strands of yellow chives, chopped for garnish
- a dash of shrimp roe (optional)
- Bring 4 cups of water to boil in a medium pot. Add the shrimp shells and heads. Cover and boil on high heat until the liquid bubbles. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Set the timer. When done, drain and set aside the shrimp broth.
- In the meanwhile, blanch the pork bones in a separate pot. Discard the liquid and set aside the pork bones.
- Boil the remaining 11 cups of water in a large pot. Preheat the oven at 300° F.
- Trim off the fat layer from the ham and rinse under cold water. Cut the ham into small slices and set aside.
- When the oven is ready, bake the dried stockfish for 10 minutes on each side. Then break the baked fish into small pieces by hand.
- When the large pot of water boils, pour in the shrimp broth and all remaining broth ingredients except for the yellow chives.
- Cover and boil the large pot until the liquid bubbles again. Then simmer over a low heat for 4 hours. Set the timer.
- When the broth is done, use a fine mesh scoop to remove the murky particles floating at the top. This will give you a clear supreme broth for wontons or dumplings.