This isn’t a traditional wonton soup. I suppose a vegan wonton soup wouldn’t really be considered traditional anyway, but I really took some liberty with the recipe. The wontons are stuffed with one of my favorite greens, Chinese broccoli, and chopped seitan. I tossed the filling in a chili-mustard sauce for a salty, spicy kick. The slight bitterness of the Chinese broccoli really balances the piquant heat of the dressing, creating a really yummy dumpling.
I wanted the wontons to be the star here, so I made a very light ginger-soy broth to float them in. I only covered the wontons about half-way with the soup base, so really, this isn’t so much a soup as fresh dumplings lightly dressed with an aromatic broth. In fact, the broth is quite plain on its own, but it works very nicely with the flavorful dumplings.
Chinese broccoli is fantastic, and if you’ve never had it, I wholly recommend a search of your nearest Asian grocer to find some. It’s a vegetable chimera of all of my favorite things; the florets of broccoli rabe, the stems of asparagus, and leaves like tender collard greens. It has a mild flavor with a sweet and slightly bitter bite, and it’s perfect for stir-fries or any other hight heat/quick cooking method. It’s also quite good for you, and its complex (but not overwhelming) flavor is a nice change of pace from regular broccoli or simple spinach.
Folding wontons isn’t hard, so as long as you can find the wonton skins, you’ll be good to go. The brand I used here is called Twin Marquis, and I know they make both vegan and non-vegan wonton skins and gyoza wrappers. Look for the white (not yellow) square wrappers. The round ones are gyoza skins, much better for pot stickers; even though they’re similar, they’re a good deal thicker than the wonton skins. Either way, check the label for eggs.
If you have leftover wonton skins, you can make extra wontons and freeze them in one layer on a cookie sheet, then transfer to a freezer bag for long-term storage. Just drop them directly into boiling water when you’re ready to cook them. You can also wrap the skins up tightly and store them in a fridge for a day or two. Fill them with anything you like (spinach and tofutti cream cheese? Tempeh sausage?), fold in half and seal shut. Pan fry them in 1-2″ of oil until cripsy and golden brown on both sides. It’s a wonderfully tasty and quick appetizer or snack.
Chinese Broccoli Wontons in a Light Ginger-Soy Broth
16 Wonton Skins
1 Tbs Oil
1-2 tsp Fresh Ginger, minced
1 Cup Chinese Broccoli, thinly sliced
3/4 Cup Seitan, chopped fine
1/2 tsp Hot Chili Sauce, more if desired (like Sriracha)
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp Tamari or Soy Sauce
4 Cups Water
5-6 Fresh Ginger Slices
1 Tbs Mirin
2 Tbs Tamari (or soy sauce)
1 1/2 tsp Sugar
2 tsp Rice Vinegar
1/2 tsp Salt, plus more to taste
1/4 Cup Chinese Broccoli Leaves, packed (sub: spinach or collards)
Filling: Begin by chopping the Chinese broccoli very thinly with a sharp knife, from the base of the stem up towards the leaves (just like chopping scallions). Heat a large pan with oil and add the ginger. Once the ginger becomes fragrant, add the broccoli and seitan, stirring well and cooking until the broccoli is bright green and tender-crisp.
Transfer the broccoli-seitan mixture to a small bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust to your liking. Set aside while you make the broth.
Broth: Heat all of the broth ingredients together except the greens in a small sauce pan, until sugar and salt is dissolved and the ginger has had time to infuse into the broth. Taste and add more salt if desired, but remember this is a mild broth that is only meant to be a complement to the wontons. Once the broth has begin to simmer, turn off heat and toss in greens. Cover and set aside.
Fill the wontons: Place 1-2 tsp of filling in the center of the wonton. Wet the edges of the wrapper with water (a finger dipped in water works great) and seal into a trianlge, removing as much air as possible from the dumpling. Make sure edges are secured.
Set the triangle in front of you, pointing up. Wet one of the bottom corners. Hold the corners, one between each thumb and forefinger. Begin to bend the wrapper, as if you were forcing it into a horseshoe shape. Don’t change your grip, and resist the urge to fold the corners over. Bring the two ends together, crossing them slightly, and press to seal. Going from the triangle shape to a completed wonton is one fluid motion.
Your dumpling should look like a fun little fish-boat-hat. Like this:
You can now freeze your dumplings, or cook them right away.
To prepare the soup: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Re-heat your broth to steaming, if necessary. Gently lower the wontons into the boiling water and cook until they become translucent, about 2-3 minutes if the wontons aren’t frozen, longer if they are. Remove them from the water with a spider (or other slotted spoon device) and place them into the hot broth.
Take care to remove and discard any dumplings that have opened up during cooking. If they open, water gets inside, washes all the flavor away, and you’ll be sad if you serve it or eat it. It will taste like watery mush, and I promise you won’t be happy about it.
Ladle 3-4 wontons into a bowl and add a small amount of broth, enough to half-way cover the wontons. Make sure to get some greens in there, too. Serve immediately.