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Monday, September 14, 2009

Comfort in a Bowl - Grandma's Wonton Soup

did i ever tell you the story of when, at the age of 8, i ate 24 of my grandmother's wonton dumplings? no? well allow me. 24 may not seem like a lot, or maybe it does, but at the time, i was a scrawny little shit, shorter than most of my classmates and while i never went to bed hungry, i can't imagine it was cheap keeping me fed. i wasn't aware of all the details, but i do recall grandmother counting pennies for my lunch money everyday and that is why she holds such prime real estate in my heart.

what i recall of that day is that grandma put a bowl of hot soup in front of me, heaping with wonton dumplings, the wrappers slick but at the same time wrinkly, clinging to the meat filling. and every time i emptied my bowl with a declaration that i wanted more, she would smile and make me more. for awhile, rather than extolling my grades (because back then, i really was a good student) or pimping my dance moves (Michael Jackson had nothing on me), she would tell anybody and everybody that i ate 24 of her wonton dumplings in one sitting. a pat on my head would follow. rather than be embarrassed, i would be comforted. yet another thing grandma was proud of me for, eating an assload of her food, something so easy and so damn good.

so when last weekend i felt like ass warmed over, i wanted comfort food. something to warm my very being, something that could possibly put more spring in my step. i spent all day saturday not only working on my DB challenge and a homemade chili concoction, i made grandma's wonton dumplings. it is unbelievable and magical to me that despite how much my head and stomach hurt, i was able to stand in my kitchen all day and prepare this comfort food. because let me tell you, wrapping dumplings takes a hot minute! i meant it when i said on twitter that cooking/baking is such a balm for anything, especially when the end result brought such comfort to my sick body.

wonton soup


Wonton Soup
adapted from memory

*again, i don't have exact measurements, i dumped a lot of stuff in a bowl

Wonton wrappers
about 1 lb ground pork
wood ear fungus, rehydrated in hot water, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
some vermicelli noodles, hydrated in hot water, roughly chopped
fish sauce to taste
4oz pate
homemade chicken stock (really, you can use any kind of stock you want)

mix ground pork, fungus, onions, garlic, vermicelli, and pate together. add a dollop in the middle of wonton wrapper and make sure that you seal the meat in. i went simple and just folded the wrappers diagonally and sealed with a water/cornstarch mix. store in container covered with damp paper towel until ready to cook.

to cook, add to simmering pot of water (or stock) until wrappers are translucent. it doesn't take long for the meat to cook thru. to serve, put in bowls and pour hot stock over dumplings. consume as is, or dipped in hoisin/chili sauce.

024


Today's Song: Pat Monahan, Always Midnight



12 comments:

  1. interesting use of pate in the wonton!

    ReplyDelete
  2. great story! and 24 wontons, dayam, I can't even do that now I don't think or perhaps I never tried. I have about 16 pieces of dim sum dumplings and I am full so no i can't do 24 wontons.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great photos! I have many memories of my dad wrapping wontons for me and regardless how many he wraps, it never seemed like enough. Nothing beats homemade wontons and the best thing about them is you can really personalize it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a great story!!! And your wonton soup sounds amazing!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. ravenous couple, i just wanted to add a bit of crazy cholesterol to the mix! :)

    HW, oh i wouldn't be able to do that now either!

    Friedwontons, i completely agree. i'm fairly certain that the next time i make this, it won't have all the ingredients i listed in the post. i like versatile recipes like that.

    Spryte, thank you!

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  6. How prettily arranged your wontons are! My mom is obsessed with arrangements. She used to make me slice char siu and thin as possible and arrange it in a fan like that. My poor sis. When we were in Portland, my mom asked her to slice some cucumbers. She tossed them all randomly on the plate and my mom started lecturing her about her presentation. That's why I learned to cook from my ba noi. She didn't care so much about how things looked, she just liked having us in the kitchen with her.

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  7. i always dreamt of trying to do wanton, but i really don't want to prepare the dough...

    is it the same if i buy the ready little squares at the local asian shop?

    thanks for answering

    p.s. amazing blog, it's already in my links!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Chi WC,
    for some reason, i've always liked to arrange food on my plate in a pretty manner. it's fun to me. i also like to slice things as thin as possible, it's like a challenge to me.

    Desperate.viz, thank you so much!
    yes, use wonton wrappers. that's what i used this time around. homemade wonton wrappers are overrated :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Chi WC,
    for some reason, i've always liked to arrange food on my plate in a pretty manner. it's fun to me. i also like to slice things as thin as possible, it's like a challenge to me.

    Desperate.viz, thank you so much!
    yes, use wonton wrappers. that's what i used this time around. homemade wonton wrappers are overrated :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. i always dreamt of trying to do wanton, but i really don't want to prepare the dough...

    is it the same if i buy the ready little squares at the local asian shop?

    thanks for answering

    p.s. amazing blog, it's already in my links!

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a great story!!! And your wonton soup sounds amazing!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. great story! and 24 wontons, dayam, I can't even do that now I don't think or perhaps I never tried. I have about 16 pieces of dim sum dumplings and I am full so no i can't do 24 wontons.

    ReplyDelete