Those of us who have not been to Fuzhou City and tasted the Meat Dumplings or Nik Yien there we would not know the difference between this special snack and the wantons that we have in Malaysia.
Actually our wantons or bian nik have been evolved from a very special and delicate recipe and different chefs have made their own to their own dialectic taste.
The original recipe requires meat and fish to be pounded into a sheet by a wooden mallet. The charismatic chef of Tong Li Old Brand Shop explains in the photo below: (Occasionally he can be found in 3 Fang 7 Xiang if he is not travelling the world)
The meat filling should be seen through the transparent and thin yien pi or the skin of swallow as this special wrapper is called. The pounding is therefore a very special skill.
An excellent bowl of Fuzhou meat dumplings.
A group of friends enjoying some specially made meat dumplings.
Tung Li is more than 100 years old and considered an Old Brand.
Here's a recipe for you to follow :
"Taiping Yan" -- Peace Swallow Wanton
This dish is eaten during festivals and Chinese New Year in Fuzhou.
Proportions are be adjusted according to servings and taste.
1. Prepare filling using fish fillet, marbled loin pork (wuhua rou), dried shrimp and Chinese celery.
2. Mince the ingredients. You could either pound with a mortar and pestle, chop using a cleaver or simply blend everything in a food processor.
3. Season with soy sauce, pepper, ginger juice and sugar.
4. Cut yianpi sheets into 2 inch square. (Nowadays, some manufacturers make ready cut yianpi in wanton skin sizes)
5. Place a small amount of filling at the centre of a yianpi square. Hold in one palm and fold inwards to create the shape of a flower or pouch, commonly called "little everlasting spring".
6. Put into boiling water and maintain at medium heat.
7. Boil chicken stock and cook seaweed, coriander, seasame oil, beaten chicken or duck egg.
8. Add cooked yanpi wanton. Heat up briefly and turn off the heat. Ready to be served.
Yianpi skins/wrappers are available in the better supermarkets in Singapore.
Sources : 1. www.yanpihuntun.com
2. Briefing by Tung Li's Chef (who has received accolades world wide)
3. Books by Mr. Huang of Fuzhou City.