Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy Vegetarian Family WonTon Soup

One of our family favorites is Wonton Soup. It's a huge project to make, but soooooooo good. Some of the steps are tricky, so I've broken it down here along with the pics, which should help.
It's a wonderful dish for family members to create together, since it involves a lot of sitting and "potchkeing". Potchke is Yiddish for a slow, time-consuming handmade process. Another name for this dish: Big Potchke WonTon Soup. Kids enjoy this, but so do adults.
I started with a basic recipe which I've modified so many times I no longer know where it came from. The main caveat is: *if you dump all the wontons in at once, they adhere into a giant glob.

WonTon Ingredients:
1 package wonton wrappers, about 60. (Nasoya wrappers are pictured above)
1 onion or 2 to 3 scallions, chopped fine
~ 1 t. minced garlic
~ 3 T oil
12 oz vegetarian "ground beef" like Morning Star Crumblers or Smart Ground (pictured)
3 T. soy sauce
1/4 c. bread crumbs
1 egg
In large frypan, saute garlic and onion in oil until soft. Turn off flame and add the other ingredients, until they are smoothly blended. (Some of the soy products are looser than others.)

Assembling the WonTons: this is the hard part.
1. It's best to work on a large cookie tin or jelly roll pan. Put out a dish of water.
2. Dip each wonton wrapper quickly and gingerly in the water and lay them out on the tin. The water makes the wonton dough stick, si too much water will make a mess.

3. Add a spoonful of the filling and carefully fold each wonton into triangles, pinching edges closed. This is the conventional style, also known by Jewish cooks as "kreplach".

A fun an artful alternative is to make little pockets, which we saw at a great vegetarian Chinese restaurant here in Phillie, called Singapore.
To do that, start with a square, put a small spoonful of filling in the center, and carefully pinch the corners together.

Then take the sides and twist them together until they create a pouch.
Set the wontons aside as you create them. If you decide to freeze half, carefully set a tray of them in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Then take them out an freeze them in a bag. Believe me, if you put the wontons in a bag without freezing the dough first, they all stick together. (Sad experience speaking here.)

Now you're ready for the soup. The broth is much easier!

Soup Ingredients
: [you don't need to make the soup until the wontons are finished.]
1 bag of Oriental Mix vegetables (pictured above) or a mix of:
julienned carrots
baby corn
water chestnuts, or any mix that appeals to you.
~ 3 T. soy sauce, to taste
~ 3 T. powdered vegetable broth (like Telma, from Israel)
2 to 3 quarts water

In a 3 or 4 quart pot, add all the ingredients and bring to a boil. Drop the wontons in, *one at a time!!!, and cook 5 minutes or so until they puff up and rise to the top.
We usually cook about half and freeze the other half (as per instructions above) so there's a bonus treat to look forward to.

These are a wonderful first course for a festive holiday meal, or by themselves for a Sunday supper.


Anonymous said...

Hi! Thanks for the recipe -- not SUCH a potchki! :-) I like the beggars purse shape of your wontons and will probably try it. Found you while searching vegy wontons for upcoming Purim in Peking -- in Crimea!

Steve said...

Just made them, DELICIOUS!
Thanks for the great reccipe!!!