After several weeks of holiday cookies, roasts and gravy, I'm ready for a brothy soup. But not just any brothy soup; this week I had a craving for Wonton Noodle Soup.
We're all familiar with this iconic Chinese restaurant dish, but most of us have never made it at home. After all, it does take a minute to make your own wontons. But I assure you, this from-scratch version is well worth the little extra effort it takes.
Wonton wrappers, stuffed with a mixture of ground pork, chopped shrimp, green onions, ginger and garlic, are easy to form. Just place the filling in the middle, wet the edges of the wrapper with water to help it seal, and fold it over the filling. That's all it takes. Get the whole family in on the fun, and a lot of wontons can be made in a matter of minutes.
I like to boil the wontons in a separate pot of water, rather than cook them directly in the broth, for a couple of reasons. First, cooking the wontons (and noodles and veggies) in the broth tends to make it cloudy and muddies the clean flavor. Second, by cooking them separately, you can cook exactly as many as you need without risking leftover wontons and noodles getting soggy and falling apart as they sit in the broth in the refrigerator.
That second point is important, as this recipe makes a fairly large batch. The good news is that both the broth and the (uncooked) wontons can be frozen, so you can make it once and enjoy it for a few meals down the road.
I like to serve my wonton soup with chili oil on the side, as a little heat, especially when we are in the grip of winter, is always a good thing in my book.
Wonton Noodle Soup
Note: Warming and satisfying, yet clean and light, this iconic Chinese soup is the perfect antidote to weeks of heavy holiday fare. This recipe makes a large amount, and you may have more wontons than you need for the soup, but the uncooked wontons freeze beautifully. Look for wonton wrappers and Chinese egg noodles in the produce section of most grocery stores. From Meredith Deeds.
For the wontons:
• 1/2 lb. ground pork
• 1/2 lb. fresh shrimp, peeled, deveined and roughly chopped into 1/4-in. pieces
• 1/2 c. finely chopped green onions
• 1 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
• 1 tbsp. rice wine or sherry
• 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 36 to 44 wonton wrappers
For the soup:
• 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
• 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
• 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
• 8 c. low-sodium chicken broth
• 1 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
• 8 oz. fresh Chinese egg noodles (or fresh linguine or fettuccine)
• 3 heads baby bok choy, cut into quarters
• Chile oil, if desired
In a medium bowl, add the pork, shrimp, green onions, soy sauce, rice wine, ginger, salt and garlic. Mix until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Working with a few wonton wrappers at a time, lay them out on a work surface and wet around the edges. Place about 2 teaspoons of filling in the middle and bring the edges together to make a triangle, making sure to push out any air pockets as you go. You can stop here, or make the more traditional curved wonton shape by moistening the lower corners and pulling them together with a pinch to close (it will look like a big tortellini). Place wontons 1 inch apart on a baking sheet. Refrigerate, uncovered, until ready to cook. (Wontons can be frozen at this point, in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once frozen, they should be transferred to a freezer bag. Cook them directly from the freezer; just add a minute or two to the cooking time.)
In a 4-quart saucepan, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant, being careful not to burn. Add the broth and soy sauce and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and season with salt, if necessary.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Place the egg noodles in the water and cook according to package directions. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and divide among serving bowls. Add the bok choy to the water and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or just until crisp-tender. Use slotted spoon to remove from water and divide among serving bowls. Bring water back to a low boil and drop about 10 wontons into the pot at a time and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, just until the filling is cooked through. Remove with slotted spoon and divide among bowls. Repeat with remaining wontons. Ladle broth into the serving bowls and serve with chili oil on the side, if desired.
Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Instagram at @meredithdeeds.