Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

May 25, 2017

© Yvonne Duivenvoorden

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Maya’s hot-and-sour broth with wontons

Around the world with three soups that are perfect for sharing — or not

This thin, spicy chicken broth gets its special sour flavour from Chinese black vinegar, which is available in any Asian market. Serve any extra dumplings on the side with a dipping sauce of soy sauce, a drop of sesame oil, chili paste, chopped scallions, and fresh cilantro.

For the beef-and-pork wontons

1 garlic clove, minced
1 scallion, finely chopped
one 1-in. (2.5-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) sesame oil
8 oz. (230 g) ground beef
8 oz. (230 g) ground pork
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) Chinese chili paste with garlic
1 tsp. (5 ml) Chinese black vinegar
pinch of sea salt
48 wonton wrappers

For the soup

1½ tbsp. (22.5 ml) canola oil
3 garlic cloves; 2 thinly sliced, 1 quartered
1 tbsp. (15 ml) finely minced fresh ginger
2 scallions, chopped
1½ tsp. (7.5 ml) sesame oil
⅓ c. (80 ml) Chinese black vinegar
1 tsp. (5 ml) Lao Gan Ma (spicy chili crisp sauce) or Chinese chili paste (optional)
8 c. (2 L) your favourite homemade chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
¼ to 1 tsp. (1.25 to 5 ml) Sriracha or other hot-pepper sauce
½ c. (125 ml) packed finely chopped fresh cilantro


In a large bowl, combine the garlic, scallion, ginger, sesame oil, ground beef, ground pork, chili paste, black vinegar and salt. Using your hands or a rubber spatula, mix thoroughly to make sure all the ingredients are evenly incorporated.

Have a small bowl of water at hand. Fill the centre of a wonton wrapper with a heaping 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of the filling. Dab your finger in the water and moisten the edge of the wrapper. Fold the wonton wrapper over to form a triangle and press the edges together with your fingers to seal it well. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling. You should have enough filling for 48 wontons, give or take a few not-so-pretty ones. Arrange the wontons about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet; the wontons can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 hours.

In a large stockpot over low heat, warm the canola oil. Add all the garlic, ginger and scallions, and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir in the sesame oil, vinegar and Lao Gan Ma (if using) and cook for 1 minute. Turn the heat to high, add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and add a ¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) of the Sriracha and ¼ cup (60 ml) of the cilantro. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more Sriracha if you like a spicy broth. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, fill a large pot a little over halfway with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add half the wontons to the water and return to a boil. Add 1 cup (250 ml) cold water and return to a boil. Add another 1 cup (250 ml) cold water and bring to a boil. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the wontons to a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining wontons.

Ladle the soup into mugs or small bowls. Add three or four dumplings to each tasting-size portion, or six dumplings to each full-size portion. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) cilantro and serve. Makes 12 to 14 tasting portions or 8 full servings.

To go: Place the cooked, cooled wontons in a glass or plastic container with about 1 cup (250 ml) of the cooled broth. Cover and refrigerate. Pack the remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) cilantro in a separate container. At the soup swap, reheat the soup. Add the wontons and cook for about 5 minutes or until hot.

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