Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Chicken and ginger wonton soup

I’m a big fan of comfort food. That food that reminds you of something special or takes you to a place you long for. Stews, something Mom or Granny used to make, flavours of the past and the point of this recipe – a soup. Warm and pleasing with each bite introducing something new and different.

Each culture has soup as part of their culinary repertoire. Japan – Miso, France – Bouillabaisse, South Africa – Butternut. I could go on but you get the point... Some soups are as simple as a clear broth while others have big tender chunks of meat or vegetables. Either way, soup is the ultimate comfort food.

Here’s just one that I bet will soon become a staple in your home and in a few years time become that dish you remember with such fondness.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: up to 1 hour
Yields: 4 to 6 portions


  • 1 pack wonton sheets / skins (available at Asian stores or good grocery stores)
  • 400g chicken mince
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • ½ onion, grated
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
  • Large thumb size piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 Thai chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • ½ cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Flour, for dusting

For the broth:
  • 2 tbsp coconut / vegetable oil
  • ½ onion, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
  • Thumb size piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 or 2 Thai chillies, finely chopped
  • 2L good quality chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup bean sprouts (optional)

Take the wonton skins out of the freezer and set aside at room temperature while you get everything ready.
In a large bowl mix together the minced chicken, celery, carrots, onion, spring onions, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, vinegar and fresh coriander (if using). Cover and set aside in the fridge until ready to use.

Start the broth.
In a pot heat the oil and fry the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli until fragrant – about five min.
Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil for 20 to 30 minutes to intensify the flavour of the stock before adding the soy, fish sauce, sugar and vinegar.
Simmer for an additional 20 minutes.
Taste and season accordingly – if the soup needs salt, add more fish sauce. Too salty, add a little more sugar and vinegar.

While the soup boils wrap your wontons.
Lay out a few wonton sheets on a floured surface.
Add a teaspoon of chicken filling to the middle of each wonton sheet.
Next, brush a little of the beaten egg around the edges of the wonton sheets with your finger.
Bring two points of the wonton sheets together to form a triangle pushing firmly together to seal in the filling and prevent the wontons from popping open while boiling.
Repeat this until all your filling is used up. (freeze the remaining sheets for next time)

To finish add your wontons to the soup stock together with the chopped spring onions and baby spinach and boil for five minutes until cooked.
Garnish with coriander and bean sprouts (optional)

NOTE: If you don’t use all the wrapped wontons, store them in a container with ample flour dusted around each wonton to prevent them from sticking to each other. They can be fried or steamed as a great alternative.

This soup can be made a day early and reheated in a pot. In fact this develops the flavours further for a just-about ready made dinner when you get home from work.

I really hope you enjoy! Please let me know if you make this soup and how it comes out -