Happiness in a Bowl – Gok Cooks Chinese recipes

When I think of warmth and happiness at the dinner table, I think of this bowl of beautiful food. Not only is it Poppa Wan’s signature dish, it is also one of the most recognized Hong Kong – Chinese meals.

I’ve cooked prawn wonton soup my whole life and yet I never get bored with it. Healthy, hearty and just downright gorgeous, this meal is like a best friend, favourite movie or the perfect man – steadfast, reliable and comforting.

Happiness in a bowl

(makes 1 large or 2 small bowls)
For the fish stock
A 3cm piece of fresh ginger, cut in half and roughly bruised
1 stick of celery, snapped in halves
Shells and heads from 10 raw king prawns (prawns used below)
For the soup
4 tinned water chestnuts, drained and coarsely diced
4 tinned straw mushrooms, drained and coarsely diced
10 raw king prawns, peeled and roughly chopped
salt and ground white pepper
1 egg, separated
cornflour, to dust
8–10 wonton wrappers
A handful of fresh thin egg wonton noodles
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1½–2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
2 spring onions, chopped
To serve
Chinese chilli oil


1. Place the ginger, celery and prawn shells and heads into a saucepan. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for up to 1 hour (10–15 minutes is fine). Drain the liquid through a sieve lined with muslin. Measure out 500ml of stock, topping up with boiled water, if needed.

2. Put the water chestnuts, straw mushrooms, prawns, a good pinch of salt and pepper and a third of the egg white in a large bowl. Mix well, squeezing the prawns between your fingers until you have chunks of sticky prawns rather than a runny mess.

3. Dust a work surface with cornflour and lay the wontons wrappers on top. Dust your hands with cornflour and pick up a wonton wrapper. Put a tablespoon of the prawn mixture in the centre of the wrapper and brush the edges with egg yolk. Bring the corners together over the middle of the mixture, then squeeze and twist the top to make a shape like a small sack. Repeat with the remaining mixture.

4. Boil a large pan of water. Separate the noodles and drop into the boiling water. Loosen the noodles using chopsticks and cook for 1–2 minutes. Once they are tender but still springy, remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and run under a cold tap. Put them back into the pan of boiling water and cook for a further minute until warmed through, then remove and drain, adding sesame oil to keep the noodles from sticking
together. Place the noodles into serving bowls and cover.

5. Put the drained stock into a saucepan and add the oyster sauce, soy sauce and fish sauce, along with a pinch of salt and pepper.

6. Sprinkle half of the spring onions over the cooked noodles in the serving bowls, add a little stock, then cover.

7. Drop the wontons into boiling water (you can use the water the noodles were cooked in) and cook for 6–8 minutes or until they float to the surface. They are cooked through when the wrapper is soft and the filling firm to touch. Remove and place on top of the noodles, then cover with the hot stock. Sprinkle with the
remaining spring onions and serve with chilli oil on the side.

> Find out all about the show on my Channel 4 website

> Get your hands on all the recipesBuy ‘Gok Cooks Chinese’