Wonton soup with available Japanese ingredients!

I happened to live in a Japanese town and near to a Japanese market. I cook all type of foods from Vietnamese to Italian. I grew up eating my Mom’s Vietnamese Chinese wonton soup and my family loves that dish a lot so I cook it often. But the Chinese market is far away and I don’t really like the meat quality over there so I experimented with replacing some Chinese ingredients with the Japanese one which I always have in stock.

Hong Kong wonton soup uses pork bone and salted fish. Which I replaced them with pork ribs, chicken bones, and Bonito flakes. Vietnamese use dried shrimp. The dried seafood is very important to achieve the “umami” flavor.

Ingredients:

1/Broth:

  • 1 pound pork ribs/bone
  • 1 pound chicken bones or chicken broth. If you have more pork bones, just use them.
  • One full stock bag of bonito flake (both can be found easily at any Japanese market)
  • 1 white onion and a small ginger.
  • Salt and sugar for seasoning.

2/Wonton Filling: mixing all of the ingredients together then chill in the refrigerator until ready to wrap.

  • 0.5 pound ground pork (not lean)
  • 0.5 pound shrimp, deveined and finely chopped (or 0.5 pounds frozen shrimp, brought to room temperature and finely chopped)
  • 5 to 6 strands yellow chives, chopped or green onion or 1 shallot, whichever you have on hand. (I used green onion)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoons rice vinegar or mirin
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch pepper

Making the broth: Boiling the hot water, enough to cover the bones/ribs which have been washed. When the water was boiled, put in the bones/ribs and cook them for about 5 minutes. Dump out the water and rinse the bones under cold water. This step is very important to achieve a clean and tasty broth. To save time, you can also boil some water on the side and pour into the pot with the clean bones and start the cooking process. The amount of water is about three times covered the bones. Using medium to low heat. Skimming the scums which are floating on the surface of the broth often. Add some salt and a pinch of sugar to add flavor to the ribs. After one hour, check out the broth water level, if it is too low, add some more water, at least double the level of the bones. At this step, you can take out the ginger and the onion if they become too soft, then add the bonito which was stuffed in the stock bag, into the boiling broth. after 30 minutes, you can discard the stock bag. It depends on how you like the pork ribs to be cooked. You can cook it longer to have tender pork ribs which will fall off the bones or stop the cooking process to have firm and chewy ribs to munch on. Seasoning the broth with a teaspoon of salt. If you already had wonton soup at the restaurant, you already know how it tastes so you can adjust the seasoning the say you want. The broth supposes to have a deep rich flavor from the bone and balance seasoning of some salt and sugar. Not too salty or not too sweet.

Wrapping the wonton

Boil some water and cook the Baby bok choy for about 2 minutes. Take them out when they are still green.

Then in the same pot, boil the wrapped wontons for about 5 minutes until they float to the surface. Drain the wontons then arrange them in the serving bowl with some sesame oil to prevent them from sticking.

Chop green onion thinly and top the bowl. You can make some dipping sauce for the wontons and ribs with 1 part soy sauce + one part sugar + 1 part rice vinegar or mirin. Mix some chili sauce in if you like it spicy. I bet this homemade wonton soup will be tastier than most of the wonton soup from the restaurants.

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