I remember being a kid and eating take out Chinese food on very special occasions. We would order from the only Chinese restaurant in my small town. My mother and I would make the trek downtown and venture into what I felt was completely foreign territory to take home mysterious paper bags filled with cartons of exotic food and white paper canisters with a red dragon design printed on the side. This was a huge treat for us as my parents rarely could afford to eat restaurant food when trying to keep five, and eventually six, hungry mouths full.
One of my favorite things we would order was always wonton soup (and of course, fortune cookies). Not only was the chicken stock base warm and comforting, but the pillowy wontons with some kind of savory filling tasted unlike anything my parents would cook for me.
My version of wonton soup is kicked up a notch in the flavor department compared to my childhood memories of this soup. The wontons are stuffed with ground pork that is seasoned with ginger, scallions and terriyaki sauce and are simmered in soy/sesame/vinegar spiked chicken stock with thin sliced mushrooms delicately floating on the surface.
The soup could be a meal in itself or a side to another dish. This recipe makes enough soup for four people, so if you need more, you can always double the recipe.
What you need to make this soup:
1/2 lb of ground pork
2 scallions, sliced (green and white parts)
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 small garlic clove, minced
4 Cups chicken stock
1/2 Cup breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 Tbs terriyaki sauce
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs seasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 Cup crimini mushrooms, sliced thinly
Add half of your ground ginger, half of your garlic, and half of your scallions to the ground pork. Season with 1 Tbs of terriyaki sauce and ground black pepper. Lightly beat your egg and add it to the ground pork and seasonings. Add your breadcrumbs to this mixture and combine thoroughly. I find that using my hand to incorporate these ingredients together works best. If it is too wet, you can always add more breadcrumbs, but you don’t want a super dry filling either.
Set this mixture aside while you work on your broth. In a medium stock pot or dutch oven, add your chicken stock, reserved garlic and ginger and thin sliced mushrooms to the pot and bring to a boil. Once your soup comes to a boil, add your soy sauce, sesame oil and vinegar and let your soup simmer, covered, while you prepare your wontons.
Lay your wonton wrappers out and add about 1 tsp of filling to the center. Moisten the edge of the wonton wrapper by dipping your finger in a bowl of water. Take one corner of the wonton wrapper and pull it up to meet the opposite corner, forming a triangle. Press down the edges to seal, then bring the corners of the long sides together to meet in the middle and pinch them together, making a sort of envelope. As you assemble your wontons, just let them sit out in the air to dry a bit to encourage a good seal before adding to the soup.
Once you have assembled all of your wontons, using all your filling, gently add them to your soup. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.
At the twenty-minute mark, cut one wonton open to make sure they are cooked through. You don’t want to serve raw pork. Yikes!
Add your reserved scallions to the soup a few minutes before serving. This soup tastes amazing — the ginger and scallion taste comes through both in the broth and the filling. Everyone loved this, and that says a lot. We had this soup as a side to my recipe for easy veggie fried rice (coming soon!).