Wonton Soup

Wonton soup is Chinese comfort in a bowl featuring delicious wonton dumplings in a flavorful broth. It's not difficult to make and if you have a little foresight you can make enough for a future meal or two.

Wonton soup

Homemade is the best

When I first moved to Boston I had a craving for wonton soup. At that time, Asian ingredients were less available outside of Chinatown and a trip there involved more than (I thought) I was willing to go through for wonton soup.

I found a Chinese restaurant nearby and decided to place an order - big mistake. The dumplings consisted of pieces of shrimp in a dumpling wrapper, nothing more. These weren't the flavorful pork and shrimp wontons I was expecting. It made me wonder what a Bostonian expected, maybe this was typical? It didn't matter, from that point on, I was going to make my own.

Channel your inner Dumpling Ninja

The most time consuming part of this dish is prepping the filling and wrapping the wontons. But those things shouldn't stop you from making this soup.

I have memories of going to Chinatown and seeing the old Chinese ladies sitting around a table chatting and laughing while they folded dumplings. Their hands were a blur, making quick work of whichever dumpling they were making.

Nowadays, it's more likely that you'll find my sister and me in front of the television, big trays on our laps, doing the same thing. Our range is limited but if you put dumpling wrappers and a bowl of filling in front of us, we will turn them into dumplings ready for cooking.

How to fold wonton "mom's way"

While I'm sure there is a reason why wontons for soup should be folded in a particular way I'm going to incur my ancestors' wrath and say, it probably doesn't matter that much. If you want do a simple triangle or rectangle fold - that's great. In the end it won't matter much when they cook. However, here is the way my mom taught me to fold wontons.

Step 1: Place a couple of teaspoons of filling in the center of a wrapper. Moisten the edges with a little water and fold into a triangle.

Step 1 - fold into triangles
Step 1: Fill and fold into triangles

Step 2: Grab the two points and twist them around to form a little boat. Use a little more water to stick the corners together.

Step 2 - bring corners together and seal
Step 2 - Bring points together and seal

And that's it. Set them aside, lightly covered with plastic wrap, until the broth is ready.

Wonton "boats" ready for cooking
Wonton "boats" ready for cooking

How to make the broth

In a pot combine chicken broth and aromatics. Allow to come to the boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove the ginger and garlic, taste, and adjust the seasonings. After that, add your wonton to the broth, wait until they float then cook for 1-2 minutes longer. Many recipes will have you boil the wonton separately in plain water. I prefer to cook them in the broth for more flavor.

Your broth will look lighter or darker depending on how much soy sauce is added. Some people will lightly season the broth, leaving it to the person eating to determine how much soy sauce they prefer.

A simple garnish of sliced scallions and chopped cilantro is all that's needed but you can also add slices of char siu or quartered baby bok choy.

Wonton soup

Freezing wonton

If you are going to make wonton it's worth making a double or triple batch so you can use them for a future meal. After forming the wonton, line a sheet pan with parchment paper and place the wonton in a single layer, not touching. Place the pan in the freezer until the wonton are frozen through then transfer to a zip top bag for storage.

When you are ready to use the frozen wonton, do not defrost first, just use them straight from the freezer. Add them to your boiling stock and wait for the stock to return to a boil (the frozen wonton will drop them temperature quickly). Once the wonton start to float, cook for another 1-2 minutes.