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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Heal-Me Won-Ton Soup + Potstickers

Traveling can sure take a lot out of you.

Tyler and I have been sick, altogether, for the past two weeks- some sort of nasty bronchial thing, where you feel like you have one of those weird prickly pod things that fall off the trees from elementary school lodged in the back of your throat, and every time you swallow it's like the roughest grade of sandpaper scratching against your tonsils.  Not strep, luckily, but let me tell you, we sure have been eating our fair share of soups. 

Thank god TJs has cheap chicken stock, because I had to practically buy out their entire shelf for the week to get us through this.

I started making the go-to chicken noodle, without the chicken, so I guess you'd call it veggie noodle with chicken broth.  Please don't ask me to explain. Let's just say I have nothing against the flavor, I just don't want chunks of chicken-y flesh floating in my soup.  So I subbed in some mushrooms, threw in some noodles, and we sipped and sipped the sweet healing broth.

But after a couple days, I was still sick, and now sick of chicken noodle soup.

We ordered in for pizza one night (bad idea), and the next day we were back to soup.  I've been experimenting with asian cooking a lot lately, and decided to try my hand at a nice and simple won ton soup.  For sickies everywhere, this is my favorite heal-me meal.  It must be the combination of ginger and garlic- maybe it's in my head, but that duo makes my immune system flex it's sad little sickly muscles and say, "I'm here! I'm aliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive! Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeal meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

You could be a go-getter and really drag this recipe out by making the actual won-ton wraps from scratch....if you want.  Personally, when I'm sick, I like the least amount of prep as possible.  Thai Kitchen has won-ton wraps you can buy in the grocery store- I found them at Safeway- the square ones work best.  This recipe is so easy, with not a whole lot of ingredients; it may look like a lot, but the spices and flavors in the broth are mirrored in the meat, so there's not a whole lot of shopping to do.  I plan to make this recipe again and again and again and again, and may never order take-out Chinese as long as I live...... least the soup.

Heal-Me Won-Ton Soup

1/4 lb ground turkey, pork or chicken (your choice)
1 large shallot, finely diced
3 green onions, finely diced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp sesame oil
3-4 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp garlic, finely diced
2 Tbsp grated ginger
1 dash of fish sauce

2 32 oz containers of chicken or veggie broth (chicken is best)
1 1/2 c mirepoix (french word for a mixture of onion, celery and carrot), finely chopped
3-4 Tbsp diced ginger
2-3 Tbsp diced garlic
1-2 tsp red pepper flakes (amount depends on how you like your heat)
olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
10 oz white button mushrooms, sliced

5-6 leaves of napa cabbage, chopped in 1 in pieces
Thai Kitchen square won-ton wrappers
3 green onions, chopped, for garnish

Coat the bottom of a large stock pot with olive oil and bring to medium heat.  Once the oil is hot, add in the mirepoix and sautee 3-4 minutes, until slightly softened.  Add diced garlic and ginger, along with red pepper flakes.  Cook about 3 more minutes, being carefuly not to let the garlic burn.  Add mushrooms, seame oil, and rice wine vinegar.  Sautee about 5 more minutes, until the mushrooms being to soften.  Add stock and kick up the heat to medium high.  When the soup comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover for about 20 minutes to allow the flavors mingle and love on one another.

While the soup is simmering, prepare the meat.  This means combining all meat ingredients completely.  Bare hands work best, but if you get squeamish around ground meat, you can use a large fork.  Once everything is mixed together, line a clean, dry plate with won-ton wrappers.  With a small spoon, scoop up a small amount of meat and place in the center of each wrapper.  The amount should be a little more than a teaspoon, but less than a tablespoon.  You don't want the meat to spill out when you cook your wonton, so make sure you don't put in so much that you cannot seal it shut.

Fill a small bowl halfway with water.  Dip a finger in the water and "paint" two edges of the won-ton wrapper.  Fold the wrapper over so it now looks like a triangle.  Pinch the edges together- the water will act as a seal to keep the edges together (much like an envelope).  Do not allow any air inside the pocket; the wrapper should encase the meat completely.  Made sure all the edges are sealed.

Drop the won-tons one by one into the simmering broth.  Continue to simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until the won-tons float to the surface.  This will tell you the meat inside is fully cooked.  Then turn off the heat, stir in the chopped cabbage leaves, and serve.  Top with fresh chopped green onions.

*If you have extra won-tons left over (and no doubt you will): 

Potsticker Sauce

1/2 c soy sauce
1/4 c rice wine vinegar
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4-1/2 tsp sesame oil
olive oil
1 tsp sugar

For the sauce:
Coat a small saucepan with olive oil and bring to low heat.  Add garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes and sautee until flavors combine, about 1 minute or so.  Then add sesame oil and cook about 30 more seconds.  Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.  Remove from heat.

For the potstickers:
Bring a large saucepan full of water to a boil.  Drop in the won-tons.  They will sink to the bottom at first.  Continue to boil until the won-tons float to the surface.  Once they are are floating, remove from boiling water.  Transfer the won-tons to a large skillet coated in oil, with the heat on medium high.  Fry until each side is browned and crispy.  Transfer from the skillet to a plate lined with paper towels.  Plate, and serve with potsticker sauce.


  1. Here's another idea, for when you get sick of soup: add some coconut milk to this, and some sriracha, and you have Thom Kha Gai!

  2. Oooo yes yes yes. That would be delicious. I'm for anything with coconut milk, actually. I still haven't perfected my Tom Kha Gai recipe yet- it's been problematic. I can't seem to get the flavors just right, but as soon as I do I'll let you know. In the meantime, I'll try it this way!