Shiitake wontons in oxtail broth

You can make the broth using beef shin instead of oxtail, or lighten it up by using chicken wings – just reduce the roasting time. Add a dollop of sambal or XO sauce to spice it up.


  • 750g oxtail pieces, cut at joints
  • ½ cup vegetable oil, for frying
  • ½ small red onion, finely sliced
  • ½ small carrot, finely sliced
  • 60g konbu (edible kelp)
  • 15g bonito flakes
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced into rounds mint leaves
  • Chilli oil

  • For the wontons
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely diced
  • 1cm piece ginger, finely diced
  • 100g fresh shiitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 tsp Shaoxing wine
  • ½ tsp caster sugar
  • 3 tsp light soy sauce
  • 50g tinned water chestnuts, chopped
  • 20 wonton wrappers
  • Paste made from flour and water, to seal wontons


Preheat oven to 180°C. Roast oxtail on a lined oven tray until golden brown, about 1½ hours, turning after about 45 minutes.

Heat oil in a small saucepan and deep-fry onion and carrot, stirring often until golden, about 6-8 minutes. Do not let vegetables get too dark or the stock will be bitter. Drain on paper towel.

Put konbu and 2 litres of water in a large pot and heat to make a stock. Just before boiling point, add ½ cup cold water and remove konbu. Bring stock back to the boil on a low heat. When almost boiling, add bonito flakes, remove from heat and allow bonito to sink to the bottom of the stock. Strain through muslin.

Put roast oxtail, carrot and onion into a pot with stock and simmer for 4 hours. Remove oxtail, strain stock through muslin and set aside. Remove meat from bones and chop.

For the wontons, heat oil in a frying pan until hot. Fry garlic and ginger until fragrant, then add mushrooms and cook until they wilt. Add wine, sugar, and soy, then transfer to a bowl and mix in water chestnuts and oxtail meat. Check seasoning.

Put 1 tbsp of mixture in the centre of each wonton wrapper. Brush 2 edges of lightly with flour-and-water paste. Fold in half to enclose and seal edges.

Reheat broth and skim off impurities. Blanch wontons in gently boiling water and share among four large bowls. Pour over broth and garnish with spring onions, a few mint leaves and chilli oil to taste.

NOTES: Want something to drink?
Try the Pewsey Vale Prima Riesling 2015, Eden Valley, SA.

Riesling works a treat with this warming dish. Lychee and white nectarine jumps from the glass, and the palate has layers of guava, mandarin and spice. This deft hint of fruit sweetness marries well with the broth's heat before finishing with mouth-watering acidity.

First published in the Good Weekend.

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