Monday, February 25, 2008

Wonton Soup

Wonton Soup

The best wontons I've had were made with pork and ji cai, or shepherd's purse. You're probably thinking, "what the heck, that sounds like a weed". And according to wiki, yeah basically it is a weed. I've never been able to find it here in the States, since I don't think it's grown here commercially. My dad brought back some seeds from China to grow at home but his idea of growing vegetables was basically taking the fistful of seeds and throwing it on the ground. Whatdoyaknow nothing grew. Anyways so I make my wontons with salted Chinese mustard greens that I salt at home. I'll post a guide for this eventually (I included the recipe at the end) but you can also use napa cabbage or even bok choy but make sure to salt them first for about 30 minutes and squeeze out all the excess water.

Pork and Vegetable Wontons

1 lb ground pork
1 1/2 C finely chopped napa cabbage, bok choy, packed + 1/2 tsp salt
or 1 C salted (not preserved) mustard greens (instructions below)
1 egg
1 tsp minced ginger
2 Tbsp rice wine
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp corn starch

1 pack of wonton wrappers
Bowl of water for dabbing the wrappers
Flour for dusting surface

For serving:
Chicken stock
Spinach leaves (optional)
Seasame oil

Toss the napa with the salt and set aside for 30 minutes. Squeeze the excess liquid out with your hands or in a cheesecloth and add to a large bowl. Add the rest of the filling ingredients and mix until everything is throughly combined.

Add 1 teaspoon of the filling to the center of the wrapper (pic 1). Keep the rest of the wrappers covered while you wrap each wonton. Apply water to the perimeter of the wrapper on all four sides. Fold the wrapper in half, make sure not to trap any air in the center, press firmly to seal the edges (pic 2). Holding the wonton lengthwise crease the wonton by folding it in half (pic 3). Bring the two corners together (pic 4), dab a little water and press firmly to seal (pic 5). (Doing this with one hand and having to take pics was hard.) They'll look like nurse caps or sometimes like gold ingots like mine (pic 6).

While your folding the last of the wontons, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the wontons and turn the heat down so the water is simmering. Give the pot a stir once you add in the wontons so they don't stick to the bottom of the pot or to each other. Cover and simmer for 3 minutes or until they float and the filling is cooked through (you can cut one open to check). If you over cook the wontons, the warpper will be all flabby and mushy, which is not very tasty. Always boil wontons in water and never directly in the chicken stock because the flour on the wrappers will cloud the chicken stock.

Meanwhile, have your chicken stock/chicken soup ready. Bring your chicken stock up to a boil in a separate saucepan. Homemade is best but a good quality canned/boxed kind will do in a pinch. If you want to add spinach leaves, add it at the very end to quickly blanch them in the soup. Serve the wontons in the chicken soup with a drizzle of sesame oil on top.

Freezing Wontons
You can freeze the extras and simmer them whenever you feel like soup. Freeze the wontons in one layer not touching each other on a tray lightly dusted with flour so they don't stick. When the wontons are frozen solid, transfer them to a big freezer bag.

Simmer for 4 minutes (rather than the 3 minutes for fresh ones) in water, or until they float.

I'll post a more in depth guide next time I do this.
Salting Mustard Greens

1 bunch of Chinese mustard greens (xue li hong/sher li hong)
Plenty of salt

Break each leaf off and wash the mustard greens and spin them dry or pat them dry with a paper towel. Place them in a pyrex and sprinkle liberally with salt. Let them stand overnight.

Then keep in the fridge in it's salted juices for up to a week.

Use in stir fries, dumpling, or wonton fillings.


Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I make my wontons with ground chicken, and they come out pretty delicious. Yours look absolutely perfect -- thanks for the great how-to photographs.

Finla said...

Yeah i too make my own wontons, but then with chicken, i love thgis soup

Mandy said...

we just made jiaozi over the weekend. I would have added the salted mustard green had I seen this post earlier. Thanks for the step by step method of wrapping wontons. We always do the "fold into half" method. So boring...:p

RecipeGirl said...

Since I have won ton wrappers leftover from my goat cheese ravioli, this would be a great thing to try! The step by step wrapping pics are very helpful. They kind of look like little tortellinis!

test it comm said...

That wonton soup looks good!

Peabody said...

The weather has truly been bizarre! Soup looks lovely.

Anonymous said...

Since I love braised meats and roasts, I can read about pot roast any month, but that's just me. The wontons look fantastic!

Val said...

we made this last night, took a couple tries to get the hang of wrapping them properly, but the soup was awesome!

Linn said...

Hi! what a beautiful web site you have! I will be back and visit you! Tomorrow I am baking the lemon pie :) Love fra Linn who lives in Norway :)

Sig said...

You jinxed it Amy... :D This morning was bad... but then the sun came out... :) Yeah seriously, I am loving the weather... can't wait for spring... :)
Love the soup, but sounds like too much work... The pic is gorgeous!

Amy said...

Ground chicken is a great substitute. I'm not good at taking pics when my hands are all dirty. I hope they were helpful. :)

I love slurping up the wontons on a cold day. Yum!

I love using the salted mustard for jiao zi.

Wontons and tortellinis are very similiar! :)


I know but I loooove it!

Hehe as long as it's not 100 degrees inside.

Yay that's awesome! Good job! It's okay it takes some practice.

Linn Regine,
Aw thank you!

Haha yeah but the sun did eventually come out for a little bit. I got to squeeze a photo in. Yay! Yeah the soup is a lot of work but the extras are good in the freezer. Oh I should mention that in the post.

Anonymous said...

i make mine with napa cabbage, which is usually the easiest to find. i'm completely heinous at making cute little shapes, so mine are usually no-frills rectangles. but they're no-frills rectangles filled with pork, so they're okay by me. maybe you pictorial will help me next time.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Beautiful soup. Your photographs are great!

Bettina said...

mmmm, i love wontons!! :D

Unknown said...

Had a pork dish with jicai in it today. Didn't know what it was and came across your page in looking it up. Glad to have found you... thanks! ~Dan


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