I'm bringing back an old great favorite!
We should all know that a great soup begins with a great stock. This is even more true for clear soups because the basic flavor of the soup is the flavor of the stock. And there yet is another element that separates a great wonton soup from its lesser brethren - the wontons and importantly the thickness of the wonton wrapper. The thicker the wonton wrapper and you are basically eating a lump of boiled dough.
Here is a classic example, try ordering wonton soup at one of the endless Sino-American joints that grace our neighborhoods - most likely you'll find a very thick sheet of wonton wrapper with minimal filling floating around in a clear soup with zero embellishments.
Now order it at an authentic Chinese restaurant and see the difference.
When a wonton is prepared in a paper thin wonton wrapping and stuffed with a subtle flavorful filling that melts in your mouth, the minute you bite into it - then my friend you are experiencing a great wonton soup. And the soup base is full of flavor with vegetables & mushrooms - Oh its good stuff!
By the way, know how Mr. Hubby & I tell an authentic Chinese restaurant from a Sino-American one? When we walk in and see that it is filled with Asians, we know we're in the right place but when the restaurant has more Caucasians than Asians, we walk right out! Sadly, the same can't be said for Indian restaurants.....there I go again. But what's true, is sadly true!
Anyway, needless to say, Wonton soup is one of my all time favorite soups and its really interesting to note that some of the literal translations of wonton soup in Mandarin & Cantonese are:
Irregularly shaped dumpling (Mandarin) , swallowing cloud (Cantonese) , crossed hands (in Sichuan province)
There are subtle variations in the preparation of wonton soup from region to region - some with just pork & some with pork & shrimp & some with bok choy.
The wonton soup I prepare is a fusion of varied styles, for one I love bok choy in the soup & that is characteristic of the Shanghai style, also I fold the wonton using the ' chao shou i.e crossed hands' and then I add Japanese Shiitake & Enoki mushrooms which though not traditional to the recipe, I think is a wonderful addition to the soup with its meaty & earthy flavors & textures.
To top it off, thin slices of barbecue-flavored cha-sui pork and honestly can you say seventh heaven!
One of the reasons I also incorporate Shiitake & Enoki mushrooms to the soup is because, we really must try to eat more of it in our diet. Both Shiitake & Enoki mushrooms are considered super foods as they help in lowering cholesterol, fighting tumors & cancer - in short, we really do need to find more ways to eat these nature's miracle workers.
I strongly recommend you begin with preparing and keeping chicken stock in the freezer at all times. It makes such a difference to the flavor of the soup.
Let's go! What a delightful meal as an anecdote for all the rain we've been getting this weekend!