Epic Wonton Soup

Wonton Soup

Finally, I am back to share the rest of that epic recipe I hinted at in my previous post.  Thank you for your patience.

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I’ve been playing hooky all week.

I realize that most of the recipes I post on this blog reference some fond childhood memory.  Now, either I didn’t frown until I was fourteen or I have a tendency to glaze over the less desirable parts of my early years.  Since I photographic proof that I was an excellent pouter before the age of two, I’ll blame it on rosy nostalgia.  But this soup is my childhood, or it at least occupies a very happy corner of it.

Mushrooms steaming

Whenever my mother and I miraculously found ourselves home alone we would steal away to a little hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant up the street from my childhood home.  There we would indulge in an order of Shanghai Noodles and a bowl of wonton soup.  Their wontons were deliciously meaty, bursting with filling and flavored to perfection.  Sadly, their food has gone downhill.  Instead of providing their costumers with amazing food on the cheap, they are now, quite simply cheap.  But that’s okay, because now that I can conduct myself in the kitchen without trying to sample raw meat (I was a weird child) I can make it myself.  So my mother and I rolled up our sleeves and set about making this rather epic wonton soup.

Mushrooms

Now, it’s difficult to provide an accurate recipe, as my mother does not measure or weight any of her ingredients.  The magic of her cooking is in her intuition.  To my mother cooking is a creative endeavor and who has time to be bogged down by numbers when you’re in the midst of creating a masterpiece?

This may be why my mother has never been much of a baker.

Black Fungus (More delicious than it sounds)

Also, my mother has an extensive collection of fancy dried fungi.  This is black fungus. You don’t have to use all the varieties I have listed.  A medley of dried mushrooms, which you can find easily in your local supermarket, should do the trick.

Wonton Filling

Anyway, here’s the recipe as best I can recall.  Follow these steps and I’m sure you’ll get something delicious.  The broth is a hybrid of several different Asian soups, so if you want something authentic please look elsewhere.

Wonton

It may look like a lot of work, but if you’re smart about it (we weren’t) it’s not so bad.  Make the wontons several days before, freeze them and you’ll be miles ahead of the pack.  We garnished our soups with slices of this tenderloin and steamed Chinese broccoli, but feel free to change them up.  I think bok choy would be lovely.

Epic Wonton Soup

Enjoy our zippy little concoction.

Epic Wonton Soup: Serves 8-12 or a small army

For The Wontons:

800g wonton wrappers

¼ pound ground pork

¼ pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 stalks green onion, cut into thirds

½ cup of water chestnuts

2 eggs, divided

1 tbsp water

2 tbsp ginger

4 cloves garlic

2 tbsp cornstarch

1 ½ tsp five spice powder

2 tbsp sherry

¼ cup soy sauce

4 tsp sesame oil

For the Broth:

2 cups boiling water

1 cup dried mushroom medley (try to get one with shitake mushrooms)

25g black fungus (more delicious than it sounds)

25g yellow fungus

1 medium onion, diced

4 cloves garlic

2 tbsp ginger, minced

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp peanut oil

1 1/2 tsp sriracha sauce

1 cup dry white wine

2 tbsp soy sauce or to taste

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

8 cups chicken stock

1 red sweet pepper

2 stalks green onion, sliced

1 cup water chestnuts

1 egg, beaten

Directions:

WONTONS:

Place pork, shrimp, onion, water chestnuts, one egg, cornstarch, ginger, garlic, five-spice-powder, sherry, soy sauce and sesame oil in a food processor.

Pulse until all ingredients come together and are evenly distributed throughout.

In a small bowl whisk together the remaining egg and water and set aside.

Place a wonton wrapper on a dry, clean cutting board.

Dip you finger in the egg mixture and trace one corner of the wonton.

Place one teaspoon of the filling in the center of the wrapper.

Fold wrapper corner to corner so it forms a triangle.

Seal wonton by pressing the edges.  Be sure to remove as much air from the center of the wonton as possible.

Place a small amount of the egg mixture on the bottom corners of your wrapper and fold the corners toward the center, hugging the encased filling.

Repeat until you run out of wrappers.  Set aside until ready to cook.

BROTH:

In a large bowl place dried mushrooms and black and yellow fungi.

Douse with boiling water.  Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.

While you’re waiting, heat peanut and sesame oil over medium high heat in a large stockpot.

Once the oil begins to shimmer, add onion, ginger, and garlic.  Sauté until the onion is slightly translucent.  About five minutes.

Add white wine, sriracha sauce, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar.

Bring mixture to a boil then add chicken stock.

Once the mushrooms are soft, drain them using a fine mesh strainer.  Reserve the water.

Add mushroom broth to the chicken stock and bring mixture to a boil.

Reduce heat and let simmer for 15 -20 minutes.

Chop reserved mushrooms and add them to the broth along with the water chestnuts.

Bring the soup back up to a boil and slowly pour beaten egg into the soup.  Add wontons.

Once the wontons start to rise to the top, add green onions and red pepper.

Cook for three minutes, then remove from heat and serve.

Garnish with steamed Chinese broccoli and slices of Asian BBQ pork tenderloin.

*Be sure not to over cook the wontons or you’ll never forgive yourself.

Curried Cauliflower and Ginger Soup

This week Toronto felt the brisk wind of fall and, although I’m a huge fan of summer, I have to admit I felt somewhat relied.  I’m ready for the humidity to leave and stop wreaking havoc with my hair, I’m ready to not sweat my makeup off while I’m waiting or the bus in the morning and, first and foremost, I’m ready to leave heat stroke behind.

Chickpeas

This summer was like enduring the torments of hell.  I am having trouble recollecting a hotter summer.

Seasoned Chickpeas

Looking back at the recipes I posted over the past four months, I realized how little I actually used the stove.  Fresh produce is glorious and I certainly made the most of nature’s bounty this summer, but I’m ready to get reacquainted with my stove and my always-hilarious bipolar oven (it really keeps me on my toes).

Cauliflower

I’m ready to walk into my apartment with cheeks stinging from the cold and plunk myself down in front of a steaming bowl of soup.  Oh, and I can’t wait to make casseroles again, I adore comfort food and we’re finally approaching its peak season.

Cauliflower Florets

But as with most things I lack patience and yesterday is was a balmy 27° and I still made soup.

Roasted Chickpeas

This Curried Cauliflower and Ginger soup was made for runny noses and numb toes, but, of course, yesterday I suffered from neither affliction.  I may have jumped the gun, but its good to know I have an excellent recipe in my back pocket once ski season hits.  This soup is spicy, aromatic and über comforting.  I have never encountered a soup so capable of warming you from the inside out.  So, as you start to bundle up for the coming bleak months, remember this soup.  Nothing will warm your bones quite like a bowl of this fantastically simple and inexpensive Curried Cauliflower and Ginger soup.

Curried Cauliflower and Ginger Soup

Curried Cauliflower and Ginger Soup: Serves 6

1 head of Cauliflower, cut into florets

1 medium-sized onion, diced

4 tbsp fresh ginger, minced

3 tbsp butter

3 tbsp garam marsala

½ tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cumin

1/8 tsp dried chili flakes

1 pinch of cloves

2 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth

1 cup milk (I used 1%)

Salt and pepper to taste

Batch of Curried Roasted Chickpeas

Directions:

Melt butter in a medium-sized dutch oven over medium-high heat.

Add onions and ginger and sauté until the onion is translucent.

Pour in the spices and sauté until fragrant.

Next, place the cauliflower in the pot and add the chicken stock.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 15 minuets or until the cauliflower is tender.

Remove from heat and puree using an immersion blender.

Return to heat and add milk and simmer until heated through.

Taste and season accordingly with salt and pepper.

Serve with crushed roasted chickpeas.

 

Curried Roasted Chickpeas: Serves 4

540 ml can of chickpeas

2 tbsp peanut oil

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp garam marsala

1 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp cumin

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°

Drain and rinse chickpeas and leave to dry for 10-15 minutes.

While chickpeas are draining place all the spices in a small bowl and stir to combine.

Roll chickpeas in paper towel to remove excess moisture.

Place dried chickpeas in a large bowl.

Drizzle the chickpeas with peanut oil and toss with salt, pepper and spices.

Place on a dry cookie sheet and bake for thirty minutes, shaking the pan every ten.

Remove from oven and leave to cool.