To me comfort food is something in a bowl, a hot soup with a clear broth filled with delicious savory flavors and noodles. Something that takes me back to my childhood, when my mom would be cooking in the kitchen brewing over a big pot of broth and making something filled with warmth and love. It’s my Ratatouille movie moment when the restaurant critic is blasted back to his youth when he takes in his first bite. To me, that’s in my won ton soup. The flavors of the grated ginger inside the perfect bite of pork that melts in your mouth with each won ton while you slurp the hot chicken broth is transforming and time stands still with each bite.
It takes about an hour to make this dish from beginning to end but each time I make it I tell myself it is worth every bite and every minute it takes because it’s that good and comforting. Tonight my family loved it and my nine year old deemed it her #1 dinner! She said she didn’t know that her mouth would be bursting with the great ginger flavor until she took her first bite and that it was unexpected. She loved it! I used a little more ginger than usual this time because I really like the flavor. It’s a strong flavor but I just love it. Here are the ingredients you will need to make this dish;
- 1-12 oz. (approx. 50) Package of Nasoya small square won ton wrappers (can usually find near tofu/organic section in produce, I buy Nasoya brand)
- 1 lb. of ground pork (I buy lean ground pork)
- 1/2 lb. of medium shrimp, peeled, deveined & cut into pea-sized pieces (optional)
- Handful of shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped (optional), make sure they are the same size as the shrimp and/ other ingredients
- 2-3 Shallots, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 scallions, white part only, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. to 1 Tbs. of freshly grated ginger, depending on your preference
Mix together the rest of the wet ingredients and spices in a small bowl and then combine with the won ton filling mixture:
- 1 tsp. of corn starch
- 1 tsp. of sesame oil
- 3/4 tsp. of salt
- 1/4 tsp. of ground black pepper
- 1-2 Tbs. of soy sauce (add more soy sauce if you are not using fish sauce)
- 1-2 Tbs. of Vietnamese fish sauce (optional but I have found it in Target if you are not near an Asian super market)
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 Tbs. of canola/vegetable oil/coconut oil (whatever you prefer)
- 3 (32 oz.) cartons of chicken broth (12 cups total), with 1/4 cup dried shrimp added during simmering (optional)
- 1-2 Tbs. of low sodium or regular Soy sauce (add more if you are not using fish sauce)
- 1-2 Tbs. of fish sauce (optional)
- 1/2 tsp. of salt
- dash of black pepper
- 16 fluid-ounces of water
- 1 lb of Egg noodles (optional), cooked in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, drained and flushed with cold water. If I don’t have any egg noodles I will use 2 packages of Ramen noodles, just the noodles.
- Vegetables of your preference: baby spinach, bok choy, mushrooms, etc.
- Shrimp – you can also add some cooked shrimp to your bowl
Garnish: (All optional to your taste)
- Sesame seed oil and/ chili oil, drizzled on top of the bowl
- Sriracha hot sauce, to-taste
- Chopped cilantro, scallions, thinly sliced white onions
- Ground white and black pepper
- Chili-Garlic mix
One of the greatest inventions and one of my favorite kitchen gadgets that make sense is the microplane zester! This thing is so cool and not like other gadgets that just take up space in your kitchen when you could easily use a knife or spoon. I usually use it to grate fresh ginger or chocolate and even parmesan cheese. Fresh nutmeg adds a nice touch of flavor too.
In a large bowl combine the minced shallots, garlic and grated ginger with the ground pork. Add the fish sauce and soy sauce and ground black pepper. Using a spatula or large spoon gently stir the ingredients together but not to over mix, this will make the filling tough. Then layout the won ton wrappers across a cutting board and fill each wrapper with about a tablespoon of the filling, about a bite size each. Using a basting brush wet all four sides of the wrapper. Pinch together two opposite ends of the wrapper and then the other two opposite ends so the edges all meet up at the top in a point. Make sure there are no air bubbles, gaps or openings in the won ton. You want to seal up the won ton completely or else your filling will end up breaking up all over your broth. I usually try to wet 3 to 4 wrappers at a time. Repeat until all of the wrappers and or filling are gone. This should make about 48-50 won tons. You could also add chopped shrimp and or finely chopped shitake mushrooms in the filling. I like to keep it simple so everyone in my family will eat it but it would certainly enhance the flavor!
You can make the won tons ahead of time and refrigerate them until you are ready to serve but don’t cook all of the won tons at once. Only cook the ones you are ready to eat and refrigerate the rest. You will be able to make several meals from this and you can also pan fry them as dumplings too. When you are ready to eat, use half of the minced garlic and brown them in about a tablespoon of cooking oil on medium heat in a large pot.
Be sure not to burn the garlic. Immediately once the garlic is browned (about 30 seconds to a minute), add the chicken stock. Add water using about a 1-4 ratio of water to chicken stock and 2-3 tablespoons of fish sauce to your liking and turn on high heat and cover until boiling. If you’re not use to using fish sauce and are intimidated by it don’t worry. It really enhances the flavor. Once the broth has come to a boil, add the won tons that you are serving only and cook for 5-6 minutes on medium heat. You can estimate serving 4-6 won tons per person. If you would like, you can add in fresh baby spinach or bok choy about a minute before the won tons will be done to wilt them. Drizzle some sesame seed and/ chili oil on top with ground black pepper and/or white ground pepper to-taste. I like to add a little Sriracha as well.
I can’t believe my family gobbled this all up and asked for seconds. Guess it was comforting to them as well.:)