Friday, December 23, 2011

Wonton Soup

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I love Chinese food but my son does not like it. However…he loves wonton soup. He would he eat it more often if I would cook it more. Making the wontons is a little time consuming if you do not make them on a regular basis. One thing about this soup is you can change so many things about it. All of the vegetables are optional and many of the spices can be changed to suit your tastes. I have looked up and put together several recipes to get it the way I liked it. I just recently started using ginger. Ginger is one of those things that amazes me because it smells so sweet yet it is spicy. I do not use much of it because it can drastically change the taste of the soup. We also just started using the water chestnuts. I have to say I really like them in the soup. We have always put mushrooms and bok choy in the soup!

Ingredients for Wontons

½ lb of ground pork
1 tsp sherry
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp green onions (finely chopped)
1 tsp mushrooms (finely chopped)
¼ tsp ginger (finely shredded)
½ tsp cornstarch
sprinkle of brown sugar
couple of grinds of white pepper
30-40 Wonton Wrappers

Ingredients for Soup

2 stalks bok choy
1 heaping cup of mushrooms sliced (we use baby portabellas)
1 (8oz) can sliced water chestnuts
2 tbs green onions (sliced)
¼ tsp ginger (finely shredded)
8 cups chicken broth
1 tbs soy sauce
1 dash sesame oil
1 dash sherry

Directions for Wontons

1. In a bowl mix ground pork, sherry, soy sauce, & sesame oil.
2. Finely chop mushrooms & green onions. Add to mixture.

3. Use a fine grater and shred ginger. Add to mixture.

4. Add cornstarch & brown sugar.

5. Use a white pepper grinder. Grind two times.
6. Make sure ingredients are mixed thoroughly.
7. Set bowl aside for 25 min to allow meat to absorb flavor and cornstarch to thicken the mixture.

***The way the wontons are folded are based on different cultures from what I have read. If you search the Internet you will find several ways to fold the wontons. I have tried all of the ways I have found and this is the one we like best. It stays together and does not burst. We also like the way the noodle hangs around the meat as well.

This is the most time consuming part of the directions. I have sat in a Chinese restaurant and watched a women make at least 100 of these in the time it takes me to make 30-40. The way she wrapped them was way more complicated than these directions and she used a butter knife to measure the meat and wrap it. I know I am a nerd but it is so cool to sit and watch her do this!

8. Place a wonton wrapper on a flat surface. Fill a small bowl or container with water.

9. Place 1 tsp of meat in the middle of the wonton wrapper.
10. Wet 2 sides of the wonton wrapper.
11. Fold the other two sides over to form a triangle. Press meat toward the center and squeeze out the air. Make sure you press the wrapper together well. If not the meat will come out of the wrapper.

12. Press in the bottom of the triangle where the meat is to make a u shape.

13. Grab the 2 ends of the u shape and pull them together.
14. Wet one of the tips and press the ends together securely. (I learned the hard way that if you do not press down all the ends securely, the meat will not stay in the wonton wrapper!)

15. I do not measure the meat out anymore so this recipe makes 30-40 wontons.

Directions for Soup

If you want a clear broth do NOT put the mushrooms, soy sauce, sesame oil, & cherry in the pot. These ingredients make the broth a light brown color.

1. While meat mixture is sitting begin preparing soup.
2. Cut the ends off of two stalks of bok choy and wash the stalks.

3. Begin to cut the bok choy with a diagonal cut from the end of the stalk. Continue to cut through the leafy part. Place in the pot. (Some of the recipes I have found say to use only the stalk. Some say to use only the leafy part. I use the whole stalk. When we have eaten this in the restaurants I always thought they used some kind of celery or cabbage or both. It was actually bok choy.)

4. Add sliced mushrooms to the pot. We use sliced baby portabella mushrooms.
5. Add sliced water chestnuts to the pot. I buy the whole water chestnuts because they are a good bit cheaper and I slice them myself.
6. Slice the green onions about 1/8 in long. Add to pot.
7. Use a fine grater and shred ginger. Add to pot.

8. Pour the chicken broth in the put.
9. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, & cherry to the pot.
10. Mix all ingredients together and put the flame on medium.

Go back to the wontons and wrap them while the pot is heating up.

11. When you are almost finished wrapping the wontons, turn the heat up to high.
12. Once you have a rolling boil, carefully drop the wontons in one by one. If you pressed the ends together well you do not have to be too careful. The wontons will not stick together if you put them in one by one.

13. Mix the soup up and return to a rolling boil.
14. Cook an additional 5 minutes.

15. Use a big serving spoon (We use a 1 cup soup spoon) to transfer to individual bowls. Make sure you have broth, vegetables, and 2-4 wontons in each bowl.

16. (Optional) Sprinkle with a few green onions. Add soy sauce to taste. If you use soy sauce you should not need any salt because the soy sauce is very salty.

If you do not eat all of the soup you may want to take the wontons out of the soup and place it in 2 separate containers before refrigerating. The soup will become very thick if you leave them in. Some of the recipes I have found actually boil the wontons in water and drain like noodles. I like to cook them in the chicken broth because of the flavor.

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