Making Broth for Wonton Soup
I'd love to make my own wonton (or other dumpling) soup. Do I start with a "normal" chicken stock and go from there, or do I need to make a different kind of stock? I'm trying to replicate what I'd call New York Style (Brooklyn Style?) wonton soup. Also, is the dried product called "wonton soup base" that I saw in the Asian market anything more than chicken boullion? Thanks!
Wonton soup base, chicken boullion maybe with some Asian flavoring, possibly containing MSG.
Make a basic white chicken stock with a little shao xing wine and ginger slices. Skip the western herbs and aromatics. Here's a basic recipe:
3 pounds chicken pieces (backs, necks, or wings)
10 cups cold water
3 slices fresh ginger
2 green onions (spring onions, scallions), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste, optional
Rinse the chicken pieces under running water. Place in a large pot with 10 cups water (or enough to cover).
Add the ginger, green onion, rice wine or sherry. Bring to a boil over medium heat, occasionally skimming off the foam that rises to the top.
Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours. Add salt to taste and black pepper if desired.
Strain the broth and use as called for in recipes. Makes about 8 cups.
I live in Brooklyn and I didn't know we had a particular style of Wonton soup here; possibly with the exception of some of the more "authentic" Chinese restaurants in the Chinatown area of Sunset Park, it seems it's mostly like all the other Americanized versions of wonton soup I've had in any other states I've lived in.
Start with chicken stock, add some ground white pepper, salt, and bring to a boil.
Add your wontons to the boiling stock, as well as a handful of bok choy stalks, reduce heat and let simmer for a few minutes until wontons rise to the top and float, stirring occaisionly to prevent the wontons from sticking.
Remove and plate in a soup bowl, garnish with chopped green onions, and a drizzle of sesame oil and/or chili oil.
re: Karl S
You're right, Karl.
At our Chinese restaurant, the soup stock that's made for customers is chicken-only (wing tips, backs and breastplates -- only "white meat" parts). The only aromatics in the stock beside chicken and water are a little scallion and a little ginger.
When the chef makes soup for our lunch (or breakfast, for that matter), he'll take a few hunks of pork bone and boil 'em in the chicken stock for only about an hour or two. Boy, is that delicious!
Some people are nuts about the understated taste of wonton soup broth. I, however, prefer one that's either pork- and chicken-y or very intensely chicken-y, not the watered-down versions. But then, I'd get a lot of flack from many Chowhounds because I use a little MSG in the broth.
The broth is the primary flavor in these soups, so that's where you have to put your energy. I dearly love making soup but do not not not settle for 'dried soup base' or anything similar. The wontons or dumplings have flavor in themselves, but the broth is the star.
My tips for chicken broth: Coat with olive oil and salt/pepper the meat and vegetables (carrots, celery, onions, garlic). Brown them all well either in the oven or on the stove. Cover with water and simmer for a couple of hours. you will know it's done if you take a piece of bone and it breaks, not bends. Not sure how pork fares, gotta try that.
It irks me to no END when most of these dang TV chefs blithely use canned/boxed chicken broth. The only use for canned chicken broth is as a tastier replacement for water in homemade stock.