Wontons and broth

Frozen Wontons or make at home?

Yeah, you can get frozen wontons, and they’re yummy, but they’re also full of salt and sugar and grease. These are healthy and fun to make. It took about an hour, but you’d get faster at it with practice. Also, it would be fine to make the wontons and broth ahead of time and then you’d just have to boil water to cook the wontons and heat the broth.

But can’t I just buy the wonton wrappers?

Sure you can, at any big grocery store or Asian grocery. But if you make the wrappers from scratch you can make this anytime, using whatever leftovers you have in the house, instead of having to plan ahead and get the wrappers. It wasn’t hard.

First get the broth started:

Put a large saucepan half full of water on to boil. Add chicken bones or a couple of pieces of chicken (or start with chicken broth instead). Add chopped celery, carrots, garlic, and mushrooms, bring to a boil, and simmer until everything else is done. If you want this vegetarian, use miso broth instead. (and hey, if you’re in a hurry, this is chicken soup: just add rice and you can have that for dinner instead of wontons).

Now make the filling:

In a medium-size bowl, mix a cup of chopped cabbage, 1/2 pound of chopped cooked shrimp, 1 cup chopped kale, 1/2 cup chopped green onions, 1 tsp. soy sauce, 1 tsp. rice wine (or white wine), 2 tsp. ginger, 2 cloves garlic, and red pepper flakes to taste. Any variation on this is fine: try mixing shrimp with pork sausage, or leave out the meat, or use sprouts, or carrots, or broccoli, or any other kind of greens. Put another big pot of water on to boil to cook your wontons in.

Now make the wonton wrappers and wrap them up:

In a medium-size bowl, mix 2 cups of flour, a large pinch of salt, 4 eggs, 1/4 cup of oil, and enough water to make the dough stick together in a ball. Turn the ball out onto a floured surface and knead for a few minutes. Divide the dough into small balls (like Ping-Pong balls). Roll each ball out thin, and cut into two halves. On each half put about a ping-pong-ball-size bit of filling. Moisten the edges with water and fold over, pressing down so the dough fits tightly around the stuffing. Then pinch two of the corners together to make a wonton.

TIP: fill the wontons on a different work surface from where you roll them out, or your rolling-out surface will get wet and be sticky.

Final assembly:

Boil the wontons for about five minutes. Meanwhile, tear the leaves off about a cup of cilantro, chop it a little, and put some in the bottom of each bowl. Add some spinach leaves. Then fish out the wontons with a slotted spoon and put three in each bowl. Taste the broth and add salt and pepper, and the juice of half a lemon. Ladle some broth (and the vegetables in the broth) on top of the wontons and serve.

Vegetarian or vegan

Vegetarian, if you use miso broth and leave the shrimp out of the filling. The egg in the wonton wrapper keeps it from being vegan. You could probably substitute olive oil but I haven’t tried it yet.

Can I keep these wontons for later?

Yes, they’re fine reheated the next day.

Published by Karen Carr

Dr. Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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