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Won Ton Soup Broth, a second try

A couple of weeks ago I asked for help making good chicken broth for won ton soup. Kitchensalli and OnceUponABite responded with helpful ideas. Both recommended roasting the bones but when I google chinese style broth the roasting is not recommended. Also, when I get Won Ton soup in restaurants the broth seems to consistently be the "white" version. This time I'm going to try flavoring the broth with onion, dried black mushrooms, ginger, star anise, 5 spice ...??
Any ideas or recommendations out there?? tia


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  1. The Key to Chinese Cooking says to make a chicken stock from a chicken that has been cleaned of any extra fat and any visible blood clots which would cloud the broth. Cut the chicken in to 1 inch pieces, cutting through the bone. Put the chicken in a deep kettle along with 4 slices of ginger about 1/8th inch thick and 1 whhole scallion and 3 qts. cold water and salt to taste. Bring to a gentle boil and skim until the broth is clear. Then simmer covered 3-4 hours.

    She then wants you to strain the broth through 3 layers of cheese cloth. Discard the meat and bones and if necessary strain again to remove any impurities.

    I don't use 5 spice or star anise in my soup but a drop of dark toasted sesame oil, Kadoya is a brand I like. Sometimes I like mushrooms and sliced roasted pork added to my wonton soup, maybe some shrimp and some sliced green onion. The book suggests after making your stock that you add a leafy green to the soup like spinach and maybe a little light soy sauce.

    1. There is a chicken stock powder with a rooster on it, if I remember correctly in a red can with yellow on it, that is available in many Chinese markets. For example in Orange County it is available in the 99 Ranch Markets. It makes wonderful broth, very quickly. You can use it with some bok choy greens, a few cut up carrots, a clove or two of smashed garlic, and you'll have a wonderful broth for won ton. Cook the won ton in a separate pot of water, drain it, and put it in the soup stock. If you like wor won ton, try putting cooked chopped chicken and shrimp in the broth, even calimari and/or octopus, and load it with more greens. Good cooking.

      1. Sorry to inform you but most Chinese restaurant use chicken powder along with plain chicken stock (chicken breast bones, water and ginger) as the previous poster mentioned. Add some chopped green onions and you'll have Chinese wonton broth. I believe Knorr brand even sell wonton soup powder. Looks something like below:

        1. Thanks for the feedback friends. I put the greens in the soup but not to make the broth. I've never even heard of the powder. I'll look for it. I'm in Sacramento and we have a number of good chinese markets here. Thanks again, and please keep posting if you have any other ideas to improve my broth, I want to get this right!!


          3 Replies
          1. re: Roberto

            The powder is chicken boullion. All mainstream grocery stores (Safeway, Albertsons) should carry it now.

            1. re: peachblossom

              You're right, but the Knorr brand chicken powder produced in Asia (I recognise the brand from theSauce's description) has a very distinctive taste that isn't like stock cubes you usually get in Western supermarkets, which give a different colour, are usually flavoured with herbs, and contain some oil. I go to Chinatown in Manhattan especially to get this chicken powder, as nothing else will do.

              Sadly, the "distinctive" flavour is mostly monosodium glutamate - but it still tastes great.

              1. re: peachblossom

                THAT IS MUCH TOO SALTY ...... What Roberto is talking about is the LEE Brand "Won Ton Soup Base Mix" Much superior to the above rec. The tin comes in an 8 oz (227 grams) container with green plastic lid ( He is right, it is a yellow with red lettering in Tai ..... the product is made in Thailand. You will surely not find it in a Safeway or Albertson grocery store. You will find it in your better Oriental Groceries. Good eating with Wok This Way.

            2. As an alternative to plain chicken broth, you might like to try a fish-based broth especially if you've got shrimp wontons.

              I make my own dumpling soup broth with leftover mushroom water (from re-hydrating Chinese black mushroom aka shitake), and a sachet of bonito (dried Japanese tuna flakes), a little bit of soy and a touch of white pepper and a drop of sesame oil. II'm not crazy about fresh scallions, but some minced green scallion would make sense too. I could swear some of the good restaurant-noodle soups must have a dried shrimp or seafood-derived ingredient that makes it yummy.

              If you get to a big Chinese supermarket, also look for a premium-quality instant noodle -- I think it's called KING-something brand. You might like it. They have an abalone-flavored soup stock with their instant noodle that's really really good. It comes in a dark yellow package (both soft cellophane-foil-type and round cardboard bowl-type.)

              One more alternative for a flavor injection is use dried shrimp-roe egg noodles. That's "HAH gee meen" in Cantonese. Par-boiling before final cooking in the broth is optional. The salty shrimp flavor comes right out of the noodles into the broth.

              Good luck.

              2 Replies
              1. re: vicki_vale

                The flavor for Won Ton soup broth is from shrimp shells. Try boiling some shrimp shells in water for 15-20 minutes and add some chicken broth for the soup.

                1. re: Eemee

                  Thanks to both you and Vicki_Vale for mentioning the fish/shrimp stock. After some investigation and experimentation we discovered that the only thing that tasted "authentic" was a fish based stock with shrimp shells; we now use fish-heads and shrimp shells and create a wonton soup which is truly "shiver worthy" (as when you get shivers of delight from something exquisite). Fish-heads are even better than bonito flakes because they add the necessary body which turns an "OK" wonton broth into a masterpiece and the shrimp shells give it the wonderful aroma and distinctive taste.

              2. Man, thanks so much. Lot's of ideas here. Chinese stock powder, shrimp shells (a good idea I forgot about), MSG - I was thinking that and while I have no allergies/problems with it personally I just don't want to use it. I'll have to ask the restaurant if they use it.

                Thanks again, Roberto

                1. Roberto, I think you're overthinking this. Most Chinese I know including our family, make a good white stock from chicken bones and other meaty pieces. My mother always had some pork bones, sometimes pork skin which she would add. There's no fancy browning, no msg, no shrimp, no bouillon powder, just chicken. This gives you a base for wonton which is a simple home dish.

                  Because I'm more Westernized than my mother, I usually add onion, carrot and celery to give a little extra flavor. I think star anise, ginger and mushroom stems would be good too but not essential. Bring to a gentle boil, simmer everything for an hour or so, then strain the stock. Then all you need to do is cook it down until it tastes good.

                  1. Thank you Cheryl, this is just what I'm looking for. Some family recipe that is standard. I mean if you wanted a good stew recipe my mother could give you one. But we're not Chinese so a Won Ton Soup base in not in our/my family recipe list. I'm an ok cook and have made many stocks. I know the skim, simmer don't boil, roast don't roast the bones/veggies, simmer 2 or 3 hours etc. ... All that drill. Thanks again Cheryl, this is very helpful.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Roberto

                      In the China Moon cookbook (which I took out of the library so I don't own it to consult) she made the broth by first making a standard chicken broth then using that to make a double strong broth by using another chicken. She said not to use canned broth to start but I did and it worked really well.

                      I can't remember all the ingredients but other than the cut up chicken (not roasted) and several cans of broth there was a head of roasted garlic, onions, celery and carrots.

                      This was the best broth I've tasted.

                    2. The classic chicken stock in Chinese Cuisine is made from boiling a chicken in water with a little salt, fresh ginger root and a few scallions. The next time you make it, you can cover the chicken in stock instead of water.

                      There are good recipes in books by Virginia Lee and Grace Chu.

                      1. I seem to recall that Chinese chicken stock is very simple, a chicken, with the skin, no giblets, cut up or not, slices of fresh ginger (very important), maybe a carrot and onion, salt and if you think it appropriate white pepper. No onion, cloves, herb d'provence, etc. You simmer the chicken until it falls off the bone, take the bones out, strain it and use the chicken for other dishes. If you're really into yellow color try tumeric but it can impart a flavor.

                        1. The other poster have given you most of the steps but here is my recipe. You may not be able to make this broth as well since most of us do not have all the ingredients available in there home kitchen

                          But here is goes. The amount will depend on how much you want to make.

                          Pork neck bones
                          Chicken bones
                          Whole black peppercorns
                          Shrimp shells
                          Salt, sesame oil and soy sauce to taste after the broth is done

                          You start parboiling the bones to remove the scum and dumping the water after boiling for ten minutes.

                          Then combine all the ingredients in a large pot and simmer for hours. Strain the broht and you may have something like the broth you are looking for.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: yimster

                            Thanks again Yimster, sounds good and I'll give it a try. I cook but the seat of my pants too. :-)


                          2. I got a great recipe recently for this and it's a snap.....Chiken bones for soup, one whole bunch of scallions, and one 2" long piece (1/4"thick) of ginger. Simmer very slowly --you should just see one or two bubbles bloop up...it makes clearer soup than if you boil it .
                            Let cool, throw out bones, scallions and ginger, chill and skim off fat. Tastes just like the real thing.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: howboy

                              Thanks howboy and again thanks to everyone. It's getting a little warm here today (they say 89 degrees) but cooling to 75/80 for the rest of the week so I'll get after it tomorrow or the next day. Thanks again all.


                            2. The name of the producer of the powdered bouillon with the white chicken outlined in red on it is Lee Kum Kee. They have a website at


                              and, surprise, even a bouillon powder for won ton soup. I tout them only because they seem to have a better tasting chicken stock (I swear by it now) than Maggi or Knorr or any others I've tasted. I don't like all the long names and chemicals in their stuff, but it tastes so good I really cannot fault it.
                              As my grandmother used to say, Try it, you might like it.

                              1. great site just found it,any way thanks about the chicken powder tip ,have to try it ,i just use chicken stock from swanson,but just want u to know,some times i use a little non seasond rice vinager,try it,its very good

                                1. For a extra oomph, i make the superior stock (that's the name not a judgment, heheh) recipe in Eileen Yin-Fei Lo's book Chinese Kitchen or from Ken Hom's book Fragrant harbor, but both basically add some pork and ham (true smithfield or better yet would be yunnan ham) to the basic chicken stock recipes posted above. In Hong Kong one of the most sought after noodle soup kitchens it is believed that the chef also uses shrimp paste in his stock, heh, so sometimes i add a bit of shrimp paste to the stock and simmer a bit before serving won ton noodle soup.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: PakaloloDreams

                                    Yes, if I don't have shrimp shells I may use shrimp paste, "trasi" which is Indonesian I guess? a fermented shrimp paste, really, really good, though a little over the top for wonton soup; but anything is better than the plain water with ginger I have endured at a few restaurants.

                                  2. my chinese friend makes a wonderful, simple wonton soup. she makes her wontons with fresh ground pork, onions, garlic and ginger and then boils them in water. after the dumplings start to float, she fishes them out and puts 3 or 4 in each bowl. then she puts a 1/4 of a tsp. of MSG, a pinch of salt and some chopped scallions to each bowl. then she adds a little sake or rice wine to the boiling dumpling water. when she's ready to serve, she just ladles the water into the bowls and adds a few slices of fried egg strips.

                                    it's almost completely clear but somehow the MSG brings out the flavor that the pork wontons impart to the boiling water.

                                    1. i know this is late but did you ever find out? i boil the chicken with bone with daikon and dried squid. ;-)

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Lilet

                                        Lilet, I fear Roberto will not be able to answer. I am sad to say he cooking in another place and I hope he is eating well. In the many years of Chowhound we have lost some wonder "family" members.

                                        But the dried squid is a great idea.