Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Chicken and Wonton Soup with Vegetables

It's been a bit longer than usual between posts, for a number of reasons (and only a few of which will go away). First, I've been spending my web design energy updating the course selection process for the social studies department I teach in by getting our many course descriptions online, and looking good (you can check it out here: www.patriotsocialstudies.blogspot.com).  Second, as the holiday season inches closer (has arrived?) weekends seem to be increasingly booked up.  And, third, weeknights are basically impossible for photographing food with the sun pretty much set before I get home from work.  This explains the awful lighting in this post's photos.

Lighting aside, I was thrilled by how these wontons turned out.  Months ago, now, my friend Alana and I took an "international dumplings" class that included samosa, empanada, wontons, and shumai, so I've been meaning to work those skills into the blog.  Wontons are very quick and easy to make, with few filling ingredients and pre-made wraps.  If you wanted to use this post just as an appetizer idea, homemade wontons are a delicious option steamed or pan fried.

In fact, it was my original intention to keep this a "Chinese Wontons" post, but the steamed dumplings were less photogenic than the fried (less healthy) option.  Plus, there was the reality that by the time my dumplings were steamed, the sun was gone to snap any decent pictures.  So I refrigerated the prepared steamed dumplings and made soup out of them the following evening (and also ran out of light).  It was a happy twist of fate since I love wonton soup.  Plus, when was the last time I didn't post something that's served in a glass bowl?
Wonton Ingredients (makes 25 dumplings):
  • 25 wonton pre-made wonton wrappers (this was 1/2 of a package for me)
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork
  • 1/2 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp. minced or freshly ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp. chopped scallions/green onions
  • 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. ponzu or soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. srirachia or chili paste
  • 1/2 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp. corn starch dissolved in 1 1/2 cups of water

Soup Ingredients (makes 6 servings of soup):
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup carrots cut into matchsticks
  • 4 heads of baby bok choy
  • 2 tbsp. chopped scallions/green onions
  • salt and pepper

For this soup you can absolutely make the wontons ahead of time as long as they are fully cooked and refrigerated.  If you want to do so, or if you just want some good wontons aside from soup, you can prepare them by steaming or pan frying.

To prepare the wontons, mix the pork and turkey with all the other filling ingredients.
Dip each wonton wrapper in the dissolved corn starch, place 1/2 tsp. of filling in the center, and fold into triangles.  Start by matching two opposite corners and pinch down each side firmly, sealing the wonton and removing as much air as possible.
Set prepared wontons aside on a pan sprinkled with corn starch to prevent sticking.  
You can pan fry the wontons in a non-stick pan (they will be crispy), or steam them (preferred method if you are pre-making the wontons for use in soup later).
To prepare the soup, bring the stock and water to a boil in a large pot.  Season the chicken breasts well with salt and pepper.  Sear in a pan on high heat with a little oil for about 4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Transfer the whole chicken breasts and carrots into the broth and return to a simmer.  Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
Meanwhile, wash the bok choy, remove the outer leaves, and cut off the coarse end (you can leave the inner leaves in tact).  Once cooked, remove the chicken breasts and tear the meat apart with two forks. Return the meat to the broth, and add the bok choy and wantons.  If your wontons were not pre-cooked, allow soup to simmer for 10 additional minutes until filling is done.
Season with any salt needed, and add the scallions just prior to serving.  


  1. Your SHS website looks so good!! I'm impressed! Maybe one day you can teach me your web design skills. What did you do to teach yourself? Any exceptionally good resources? Or just poking in other people's code?

    1. it's actually really amazing how many blogs are out there about coding blogs. my favorite is: http://www.southernspeakers.net/. I guess I got into it by looking at tons of other blogs, seeing elements I liked, and then just googling things like "remove header space in blogger" or "popular posts custom gadget blogger." sites with instructions for how to alter the HTML will come up, and then over time you learn the language and catch on to patterns. it's tons of trial and error, but kind of fun...wish I would have learned it years ago when we started traveling!

  2. Looks yummy! I have tried with spring roll wrapper, tastes too good.

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