I love a cooking challenge. I mean, I guess that's somewhat obvious, seeing as I joined both the Daring Cooks and Daring Bakers, guaranteeing myself two kitchen challenges each month. But I don't limit myself to just those challenges each month. In fact, since joining the Darking Kitchen, I have gained so much more kitchen confidence that daddy and I are not afraid of issuing new challenges whenever the mood or craving hits.
Well, such a craving hit this past weekend, when daddy asked how I would feel about trying to make wonton soup.
Truth? I was super nervous about making wonton soup.
Most recipes that I have looked up for Asian foods contain multiple ingredients that I just don't have, and that I wouldn't use often enough to justify buying.
But he seemed really excited about it, so I said yes.
We started by having chicken for dinner one night. You know, so that we could make stock. The leftover chicken and all of the bones went right into the stock pot with a couple of onions, a couple stalks of celery and a couple peeled carrots. Enough water to cover everything and the pot was left to simmer for several hours. The stock was then strained to make it as clear as possible, and set aside for the soup.
In the meantime, the chicken that was removed from the stock pot was shredded, chopped and set aside to make the filling for our wontons. Yes, I know that most Chinese restaurants use sausage for their wonton filling, but I was trying to maximize what I had. And, well, I am not a Chinese restaurant, and since I knew there was only so authentic I could achieve with this, I figured it would be fine.
To prepare the wonton filling, I combined the shredded and chopped chicken with Chinese five spice powder, soy sauce and a few tablespoons of the stock to bring it all together.
While the filling cooled, I cut (okay, julienned) (well, as close to julienning as I can do... I need to work on my knife skills) vegetables and finished preparing the actual soup. To make the soup, I combined the strained chicken stock with soy sauce and a splash of rice vinegar. The recipe that we saw actually called for rice wine, which we don't have, so I improvised. Carrots and baby bok choy were cut, cabbage was shredded, a couple of scallions were sliced, and all of the veggies were added to the soup to simmer.
And then it was time to make the wontons.
A teaspoon of filling was spooned into the center of each wonton skin, held on a diagonal:
Then, after using a finger to lightly wet two sides of the square, the dough was folded into a triangle:
Then the triangle was rolled into a crown shape by bringing the two points together, and again lightly wetting the dough to glue the ends together:
Once I had both wontons and soup ready, it was time to put the two together. I added the wontons to the soup, lowly simmering on the stove, and in just a few minutes, dinner was ready.
I was pretty impressed by what I saw - I mean, it actually looked like wonton soup. Yes, the wontons were a bit slipperier to serve than I expected... I think the wonton skins were thinner than those used by our local Chinese restaurants, and I may have let them cook in the soup a little too long. But overall, it was pretty tasty! It tasted sweeter than the wonton soup we usually have - either due to the rice vinegar or to the five spice powder in the wonton filling, but overall, it was really tasty and a very fun experiment.
Oh, and I served it with chicken fried rice to complete the meal. I don't think that I will ever be able to compete the local Chinese place, but it is certainly fun to pretend!
4 months ago