Hearty Fall Cookery
What better remedy for a comforting lull from the chill of autumn? Wonton soup!
Imagine, sitting before you a hearty bowl of fanciful billowing wonton boats replete with seasoned pork and prawns floating in a ginger scented sea to reddress the chilly elements of fall and warm the soul.
Once you have gathered all the components together for the wonton soup it’s easy to put together a hearty meal in no time for comers to your Cantonese kitchen! Storing the components in your freezer also makes a hearty meal nearly ready on demand.
A trip to your local Chinese market is involved, but well worth seeking out for authentic fresh Chinese egg noodles, wonton skins, and dried shrimp. The rest of the ingredients are readily available at any supermarket. A little practice folding wontons is required, but not to worry, practice makes perfect …fun too!
All will be explained…so let’s get started!
Wonton Soup: Makes 6 servings (with additional wantons for later use)
Broth: A pork broth flavored with dried shrimp is the traditional base for wonton soup, but works equally well using homemade chicken broth flavored with dried shrimp.
- 1 pound of pork bones or the bones from 1 whole chicken
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 1 inch thick finger of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into thin wedges
- 2 oz dried shrimp
- 1 1/2 teaspoons peppercorns (Sichuan/optional)
- 8 cups spring water
- 2 heads bok choy (or Choy Som), leaves separated; added to the soup later for serving
Make stock using pork or chicken bones along with onions, celery, several wedges of fresh ginger, and peppercorns. Simmer for about an hour. Add the dried shrimp and cook another 30 minutes.
A clear broth is desirable for wonton soup so strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheese cloth and discard the solids. Set aside to cool.
- 1/2 pound ground pork (or chicken)
- 3/4 pound fresh shrimp, head and shells removed, deveined, and minced
- 5 green onions, finely chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (Chinese black vinegar if available)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground white pepper (or Sichuan) to taste
Combine all the ingredients and mix well with your hands until the mixture forms a cohesive paste like consistency.
Making Wontons: Makes 50
- 1 large egg, whisked
- flour for dusting
- 50 fresh wanton skins
Step 1: Dust your work surface lightly with flour. Place a wonton skin facing you in a diamond shape. Using a pastry brush, lightly moisten the two top edges of the wonton skin with egg wash.
Step 2: Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of the wonton skin and fold the lower edges over the filling to meet the top egg washed edges, gently pressing the air out around the filling out as you seal the wonton, now forming a triangle.
Step 3: Dot the two lower points of the triangle with egg wash about 1/8 inch from each tip. Gently place the wonton in one hand and with the thumb and forefinger of the other hand fold the opposing points partially over the filling towards each other and seal, firmly pressing the tips together using the thumb and forefinger.
Set aside on a tray and cover with a kitchen towel. Continue working, occasionally washing and drying your hands as they will get quite sticky from the egg wash as you work.
Once you have completed making all the wontons, set aside 30 wontons (6 servings) to use immediately and place the rest in the freezer for later use.
For freezing, it is best to place the wontons on a tray in a single layer so they freeze holding their shape without sticking together. Cover with cling film, and freeze for at least 6 hours. You can then transfer multiple portions of wontons to zip-lock bags and pop them back in the freezer. Partially thaw for 15 minutes before cooking.
Reheat the broth for the soup while you cook the noodles and wontons.
Add bok choy( or choy som) to the broth once it comes to a simmer and blanch for several minutes. Remove with tongs and set aside.
Cooking Egg Noodles:
- 4-6 oz fresh thin egg noodles
- sea salt
Cook the egg noodles separately in a large saucepan. Salt the water once it comes to a boil and add the egg noodles. Boil for about 2-3 minutes until al dente. Rinse and drain in a colander and set aside until you are ready to assemble the soup
- 30 wontons
- sea salt
Cook the wontons separately as well in a large pot. Salt the water once it comes to a boil and add the wontons . Simmer for 5-7 minutes. Once the filling feels firm to the touch they are finished. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
While the wontons are cooking, place portions of the cooked egg noodles into individual bowls. Top with blanched bok choy (or choy som).
When the wontons are done, transfer 5 wontons per serving to individual bowls using a slotted spoon or mesh skimmer. Ladle broth over the noodles, bok choy (or choy som), and wontons and garnish generously with chopped green onions and serve!