Vegetarian Wonton Noodle Soup 23Jul09
That’s right everyone, homemade wontons! I always thought they were incredibly difficult to make, especially as a vegetarian option, but it wasn’t difficult at all. I think what put me off from making these is that my mom always used to say what a treat it was to find vegetarian wontons at a restaurant. She made it seem like they were so difficult to make and it was special occasion to have them. Now I realized she was just lazy. They are incredibly time consuming but not difficult at all. I’ve been craving veggie wontons ever since we went to Hong Kong 4 months ago. So I decided, it’s about time I called mom and asked her how to make her wontons!
I made two versions, a vegetarian version for me and a traditional pork & shrimp version for Vini. That meant, double work for dumpling fillings, double work to make stocks, and a very strategic way of cooking everything. I made a vegetarian stock for my soup and made a traditional chicken stock for the meat option. And when it came down to cooking everything, I had pots everywhere! One for the veggie stock, one for the chicken stock, a big pot of boiling water to blanch the greens and the noodles. Ladles and spoons and chopsticks everywhere… okay, I can see why my mom doesn’t do this often.
Everything said and done, it was well worth it, DELICIOUS! You don’t see vegetarian versions of this often so it’s nice to know you with a little patience, you can just make it at home! Hope you like it!
2 medium carrots
1/2 of a cabbage
1 yellow onion
8 shiitake mushrooms (fresh or dried)
2 bunches of cilantro
1 bunch of Chinese broccoli, chopped into small stalks
3 stalks of green onion, finely sliced
1/2 cup of diced water chestnuts
1 package of firm tofu
1 package of wonton wrappers (the square kind!)
1 package of fresh egg noodles (should be right next to the wrappers)
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (and a little more for drizzle)
1 teaspoon of corn flour (you can use cornstarch too)
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
pinch of salt
Step 1: The soup!
So first, we’re gonna start on the stock so it can simmer away while we make the dumplings. Take 1 1/2 carrots (saving 1/2 a carrot for later) and cut into big chunks and throw in a medium pot. Now add in 1/2 of a cabbage, roughly cut in half. Cut an onion into sections and throw that in as well. Now chop off the stems from your shiitake mushrooms and add the stems only to the pot. Fill the pot with water to the top leaving about 1 inch on the tip, add a pinch of salt and bring to a simmer on medium heat. Let that simmer for about 25 minutes and then add in the stalks from 2 bunches of cilantro. Keep the leaves for later. Let that simmer for another 20 minutes on low heat. Add more salt to taste!
Step 2: The dumplings!
Now take that 1/2 carrot from before and finely dice, the smaller the better. In a medium mixing bowl, add the diced carrots and diced water chestnuts. Finely slice 1 green onion stalk and add that to the bowl. In a small frying pan, drizzle a little vegetable oil and toss in the shiitake mushrooms whole. Cook until soft flipping the over several times – about 5 minutes total. Turn off heat and set aside. Once cool, finely dice the mushrooms and add to the mixture bowl. Now add in the tofu, using a fork or your hands crumble up the tofu and mix the entire thing until well combined. Add in the white pepper, pinch of salt, and a small drizzle of sesame oil – then mix again! Sprinkle the corn flour on top, toss to combine and we’re ready to wrap! Take about 1/2 a tablespoon of filling and put it in the middle of the wrapper, take one corner of the wrapper and fold it so it meets the diagonal corner. Crimp down the wrapper along the filling and set aside. Continue until you run out of wrappers!
Step 3: The cooking!
Okay we’re ready to cook everything! Keep your stock slowly simmering in the pot. You can scoop out the veggies and smash through a strainer and keep the juice if you want. Now fill a large pot 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil. This is the order you need to cook everything. Veggies, noodles then wontons. Have your Chinese broccoli cleaned, trimmed and chopped. Throw in the boiling water for about 1 -2 minutes. You just want to make sure the leaves are wilted and the stalks are cooked but still a little crunchy. Scoop the veggies out with a slotted spoon or spider scoop and set aside to drain. Now throw in the noodles to the boiling water. Cook until al dente and then remove with tongs. Drain and portion into serving bowls. Top the bowls of noodles off with the veggies.
Your pot of water should be very foamy now, add in about 2 cups of water and bring to a boil again. Slowly add in your wontons by putting a few on a slotted spoon and dunkink the spoon in the water. Hold it in there for about 30 seconds and then drop them in. If you just throw them in, they will stick to the bottom of the pot! Boil them until they float to the top – that’s when you know they’re ready! Scoop em out and into the serving bowls with the noodles and veggies.
Step 4: Garnish & serve!
Okay now your serving bowls should have noodles, veggies, and wontons. Sprinkle in some sliced green onions and some ripped up cilantro leaves. Drizzle a little tiny bit of sesame oil. Now ladle in some of your vegetable stalk that’s been simmering away. Done!
Honestly well worth the effort to make your own vegetarian wontons. I added a bit of sriracha to mine… made my soup a little redish and added a little kick. Yum! Hope you like it!