Now don’t get us wrong – we *love* us some deep fried wontons. Brittle golden pastry, juicy pork filling, and a drizzle of sweet ‘n’ sour to get the tastebud party going… oh my dayum!
But like all fried foods, crispy wontons are really best left for treat time :)
But fear not! You can still have your delicious wontons and eat them too!
Soup wontons are delightful little dumplings that won’t leave you feeling guilty. In fact, wonton soup is one of our favourite ‘healthy’ options because it has the quality of being qīng (pronounced ‘ching’ in Cantonese). Although there is no direct translation, qīng would describe a dish that is fresh, light, usually healthy, and doesn’t leave you feeling bogged down. So… basically the opposite of how you’d feel after a bit of KFC.*
The best part of wonton soup is that it is ridiculously simple to rustle up. Just like tradition dictates, we wrap a delicate pastry around a meaty filling, but we like to add some veg like tender bok choy too. Then we cook ‘em up in boiling water before serving with a simple chicken broth. The result is silky wontons with a lush filling and a really qīng soup to wash it all down. Eaten like this, wontons are true to their name, where wonton literally means ‘to swallow a cloud’ (lovely visual, eh?).
* No disrespect towards K-Fry here… we’ve definitely had our fair share of… err.. ‘moments’ with the 11 herbs and spices.
CHICKEN WONTON SOUP DUMPLINGS
Our recipe serves four for a light meal.
4 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
1/8t bicarbonate of soda
1/4t white pepper
1/2 light soy sauce
1/4t sesame oil
2 bunches spring onion
1 bunch bok choy
3 Chinese mushrooms
40g bamboo shoot
2 slices ginger
1 clove garlic
A pack of wonton wrappers. Get these at your Chinese supermarket – you might want to ask for ‘soup wonton’ wrappers, as some manufacturers like to change the recipe slightly depending on method of cooking (frying vs. boiling).
4C chicken stock
2 slices of ginger, chopped into matchsticks
1 bunch bok choy, slivered
Salt and white pepper to taste
Light soy sauce
Chopped spring onions
Fillin’ and Chillin’
Start prepping the filling by soaking the Chinese mushrooms in hot water (10 minutes).
Trim any extra fat from the chicken thighs before proceeding to give them a good d’huk (that is, to hack into small pieces). Pop into a large mixing bowl.
Add all of the usual suspects for tenderising and flavouring: baking soda, cornflour, salt, pepper, sesame oil, and light soy sauce.
Grab your chopsticks and mix the chicken in one direction until it all comes together like a sweet, sweet symphony.*
Dice up the bok choy, softened mushroom (remember to take off the stalk!), bamboo shoots, ginger, and garlic. Add all of these goodies to the bowl and mix to combine.
Cover and set aside in the fridge, giving the filling some time to chill out and get flavoursome!
* We had a great question on YouTube about why we mix in one direction. In Cantonese cooking we like often like to d’huk the meat into small pieces, then tenderise and season, before bringing it back together. By mixing in one direction for about a minute, you’ll notice that the chopped meat binds to itself. This means that when you bite into the wonton the filling won’t be all loose, but rather compact and moist (as well as tender and flavoursome!). Cheers to Terri for bringing this up!
Flex Those Creative Muscles!
After half an hour in the fridge, the filling is ready to be wrapped!
In our video we demonstrate two methods for wrapping, one very easy way and one easy way :) Nevertheless, we encourage you to have some fun and get creative. As long as you get a tight seal on the pastry, the wontons will keep their shape and juiciness.
Two Pots for Ultimate Qīng-ness
The secret to getting a super qīng end product is to cook the wontons separately in water before adding the broth. This prevents the excess gluten from the pastry thickening up the broth – no one likes gloopy soup wontons!
Start by bringing a large pot of water to the boil.
Gently slide the wontons into the boiling pot – you may need to do this in two batches so they have plenty of room to swim about. Loosen them up with chopsticks.
While the wontons are cooking, bring the chicken stock up to a boil. Add ginger for an extra warming effect, as well as salt and pepper to taste.
For extra greens, add chopped bok choy to the broth for 45s to 1 min just before serving.
The wontons are ready to be netted up from the water when they float to the top and the filling is cooked thorough – about 5-8 minutes of rapid boiling should do the trick!
Clouds for Supper
To serve, simply spoon the clouds into a bowl and ladle the clear broth on top. For extra delightfulness, add a few sprinkles of sesame oil, light soy sauce, and spring onion.