Chinese - Cook a Healthy and Yummy Vegetarian (meatless) Wonton Soup
Ahh, the Asian grocery store...
Every step through the produce aisle, I’m bagging up anything and everything that smells like my favorite Thai restaurant, or looks like something I saw Morimoto use on Iron Chef. I study and sniff all the unfamiliar foods, then throw them in my basket. Needless to say, on my way out, I’ve got a full cart and no idea what to do with it. I guess it’s just too hard to resist...
After a 20 minute stare down with my purchases once I get home, and some extensive Google searches, I came up with this totally original recipe that celebrates some of the best ingredients from our friends out east. It’s delicious and really healthy, packed with some super veggies. Asian cooking is a pretty serious deal, though, and I am definitely no kind of expert! So don’t use this recipe to try to show off to your Asian friends,unless you want them to have a good laugh!
For the dumplings:
Medium sized block of silken tofu (drain by wrapping in a paper towel and putting it between to heavy plates for 5 min or so)
3 cloves garlic, Thumb sized piece of ginger (finely diced)
6 stalks of cilantro (ONLY leaves, no stems, finely diced)
Tablespoon coconut milk
Teaspoon Hoisin Sauce (or any Asian sauce you prefer)
For the Soup:
7 cups of water
Two 4 inch sections of Lemon grass stalk
3 Kaffir lime leaves/also known as Thai green curry leaves
2 small red chili peppers
For the Vegetables (cooked separately from the soup, then added):
3 baby bok choy, with leaves
3 medium carrots
1 cup bean sprouts
2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce (or any Asian sauce you prefer)
First prepare the dumplings. Once the tofu is drained, roughly chop into small pieces, almost so it appears crumbled. Lightly fry the garlic and ginger a little bit of in oil, turn off the heat, and then add the remaining ingredients, except wonton wrappers. Wait for mixture to cool then use a tablespoon to measure out the amount of filling for each dumpling. One tablespoon goes in the middle of each wrapper. To seal the dumpling, dip your finger in water and wet the edge of the wrapper all the way around, on the side where the filling is. You can fold in half so the edges meet or close it in a purse fashion. Press very hard on the edges so the dumplings won’t open while cooking.
Next start the soup. Put all the ingredients listed under “For the soup” into a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, let it continue to boil, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Then remove all the ingredients from the water, they can be discarded now. Water should still be boiling. Now slowly lower the dumplings into the water using a spoon. Let them sit on the spoon while submerged in the boiling water for a few seconds to start cooking. If they touch the bottom of the pot right away, they will stick then break when you try to move them. Boil for a couple minutes then reduce to a simmer.
While the dumplings are cooking, start the vegetables. Cut the connective ends off the bok choy and discard. Then separate the stems from the leaves, though we use both parts. Cut the carrots into thin strips, julienne-style, but doesn’t have to be perfect. Slice the mushrooms. In a frying pan, or wok, heat a little bit of oil and add all the veggies, including bean sprouts. Add the hoisin sauce and cook on high heat for only a couple minutes, or until bok choy leaves are wilted and mushrooms are browned. Now carefully pour this mixture, including the excess liquid, from the pan into the pot with the dumplings and water, making sure not to damage the dumplings. Return to a boil, then carefully mix once and reduce to simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes.
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Garnish with cilantro and a lime wedge. Also, to add a crunchy texture, cut up some extra wonton wrappers and deep fry, then add on top right before serving.
Can’t justify buying a whole can of coconut milk for just one Tbs.? Well it’s very versatile: use as hair conditioner, in curry dishes, even in your morning coffee. You’ll find a million places to add it for extra flavor.
This is a really light, but filling, dinner. Great for diets and just staying healthy!
As I said before, I’m no Asian cuisine expert! Anyone reading with helpful tips to improve this recipe, feel free to comment, and thank you!