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June 28, 2007

Wonton skins (Recipe: wonton skin soup)

Wontonwrappers

In the annals of medicine, nobody writes about it.

There are no tests, no consultations, no second opinons, no clinical trials.

And yet, this condition, this very real affliction, can be cured.

For those who, like me, occasionally succumb to wonton lust (defined as the overwhelming urge to eat Chinese food), there is no remedy more effective, more immediate, more satisfying than a bowl of steaming hot soup, redolent with ginger, and filled with lovely, pillowy dumplings floating here and there.

Alas, I live five miles from the nearest Asian restaurant. Thank goodness for my pantry, and a ready supply of wonton skins in the fridge or freezer.

Wonton skins (also called wonton wrappers) are thin pieces of an egg-based dough, cut into 3-4 inch squares. In the 14-ounce package I keep in my pantry, there are approximately 50 skins. Each square holds one tablespoon of filling.

When I was growing up, I only knew wontons that were cooked in soup, and they were always filled with a mixture of pork, shrimp and scallions. As a non-pork eater, I'd always remove the little blob of filling by cutting around it with my soup spoon, and I'd scoop up the wonton skins with the soup. In the end, the balls of pork filling would be left sitting in the bowl. Now I make my own wontons, filled with chicken or veggies.

Wonton skins are easy to find in almost every supermarket these days; even in my small town, the produce section of the market stocks fresh wonton skins. I'd never bother to make them from scratch, but they are easy to make.

Why not think of wonton skins as big square noodles, an instant fresh pasta dough ready to be turned into ravioli with sweet or savory fillings, asparagus-wonton wraps, crab wontons with Asian slaw, or a beautiful fried wonton appetizer?

You can use wontons as the "icing" on a lovely cupcake, too, which gives wonton lust a whole new meaning.

Wonton skin soup

If, like me, you find yourself eating the wonton noodles and leaving the filling behind, you will love this soup. All wontons, no filling! Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a main dish, or 1 person with a cold or a bad case of wonton lust.

Ingredients

1 quart chicken stock (homemade or low-sodium storebought)
1 nickel-sized slice of fresh gingerroot
1 scallion, white and green parts, sliced thin
4 cups baby spinach leaves
10 wonton skins, cut or torn into strips
Sea salt (if using unsalted homemade stock)
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

In a stock pot, simmer chicken stock with gingerroot for 15 minutes. Remove ginger and discard. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 4-5 minutes, until wonton skins are cooked through. Season with salt, if needed, and lots of black pepper to taste, and serve hot.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

Comments

Lydia, I love this soup. Easy ingredients and easy on the tummy goodness! Always love spinach. Think I might have to throw in a couple of peas but love it.

I made wonton skins from scratch once and it was such a hassle. They ended up being really thick too. It was a mess. Now I always buy them from the store. I love wonton soup, nothing like it to warm you up.

i wish it was cooler here in rhode island so i could actually enjoy a bowl of this soup! i can't bring myself to eat anything but salad lately. it's so sad!

I used these for the first time last week to make gyoza. Traditionally, gyoza is made w/ a round wrapper, but I bought the wrong ones. No matter. They were super easy and eaten up in no time.

Ooh, that wonton skin soup sounds so comforting and delicious. Wonton lust LOL :)
I recently fried wonton skins to a crisp, then used them a base for some spicy toppings (mimicking some Indian street food). It was tasty, but the flour on the skins burnt in the oil, caused my smoke alarm to go off...quite a mess!

I love wonton wrappers--they're my favorite cheat for making ravioli!

Tanna, peas would be a great addition -- especially fresh from the garden peas. Some sliced shiitakes, too....

Amy, some things are best left others to do the hard work, like making pita bread (I tried it, once). Wonton skins, too!

Stacy, ditto. In this heat and humidity, I don't feel like cooking anything. I am highly motivated to go out to eat in air conditioned restaurants, tho.

Susan, the gyoza wrappers are not just round, but also a little bit thicker than wonton skins. I use them interchangeably for the most part; it's what's inside that counts!

Nupur, sounds like some kind of Indian taco chips?! Wontons fry so quickly. Here's an earlier post with a recipe for curried chicken wontons that are one of my favorites:
http://ninecooks.typepad.com/perfectpantry/2007/02/arrowroot.html

Lisa, they're my favorite cheat, too. And it's only recently that I've started using them to make anything other than soup wontons. Wish I hadn't been so slow to catch on to how versatile wonton skins are.

I am so "wanton" this soup! I too pick out the filling in wantons (I'm known from coast to coast for not eating "no stinkin' chicken and the ground pork filling is always suspect...)

This is an "aha" moment recipe - like remembering I am the grownup now and I can have dessert first too...

Your pantry and writing always inspire me - thanks.

I always cheat and use them to make ravili, as you saw. Gyoza or wonton work great fot that purpose. Thanks for the soup recipe, I have been looking for one lately!

I'm still trying to source these locally, but now that I know what a pack looks like it should be a bit easier! I get wonton lust, so often, we are miles from a good Chinese restaurant as well... maybe it's just as well!

It is funny that you left the little blobs of fillig behind in your soup! An old friend of mine claimed that her father created one of the first commercial wonton skins...now that is a claim to fame huh?

Ktc, it's so nice to hear from you! I'm not surprised that, like me, you are a wonton picker-outer. (and by the way, you CAN have dessert first!)

Tartelette, I love how easy it is to make ravioli with wonton skins or gyoza (which are a bit thicker). Wish I'd discovered it years ago.

Kelly-Jane, I find them in the produce section of my regular grocery store, near the pre-packaged haricots vert and baby beets! (isn't that awful? In France they would laugh, or scream....)

Callipygia, now that I make my own filling, I don't have to leave the blobs behind anymore! Maybe your friend's father is the person I have to thank for being able to find wonton skins in my grocery store?!

I just love this recipe, Lydia. Tell me, do you have a favorite brand(s)? I've tried different ones to mixed results. If they're too thin, they fall apart, you know? Of course, I may just have to take a flight home to visit your local Asian market, which sounds like a gem.

Susan, wonton skins are always thinner than gyoza wrappers (the round ones used for dumplings), so if you want something thicker, look for the gyoza. I always try to buy from the Asian markets, which have high turnover so I know the wonton skins are fresh. I don't really have a favorite brand -- in fact, I'm not even sure my Asian market carries more than one brand of each type of fresh noodle. There's always more choice of dried noodles.

hehe..I'm thinking wonton twist with toasted sesames for snacking :) Traditionally, chinese wonton wraps are alkaline based, which are different in texture and taste wise. I don't see them here in the States. But your everyday wonton skin soup sounds easy, I can use thick or thin wonton wraps, no problem there :)

We make wonton dumplings very often here. Usually, pork, chinese mushrooms, dried scallops are used as fillings. soo yummy!

MW, wonton twists sound great. The wonton skins I buy are quite thin -- maybe double them to get a good crunchy twist?

Valentina, I've had fun experimenting with all kinds of fillings. I think my favorite are spicy vegetable ones.

my mom and i used to make the russian meat dumplings, pelmeni, with these - it saved so much time and was so tasty!!

hmmm all the wonton wrappers made locally are labelled 'eggless' ... i wonder if that's a local thing, they also say 'trinistyle' :)

i most recently used them to make potstickers and you can see the wonton label there, yum! :)

http://www.trinigourmet.com/index.php/sarinas-vegetarian-potstickers-recipe/

Radish, I love that you used wonton skins for something so un-Chinese!

Trini, thanks for the link to your recipe. I've never heard of "trini-style" wontons, so it's fun to see the photo. Your potstickers look delicious.

I've popped by from SteamyKitchen and saw your wonton post, and voila...I just made wontons using store-bought wonton wraps too! They're just so easy :)

Tigerfish, welcome! Love your post about wontons. Pantry readers, here's the link:
http://teczcape.blogspot.com/2007/06/wontons-or-wantans-my-kind-of-dumplings.html

Lydia, this is a great idea! I do leave the wanton fillings unless it's made of prawns :-)

Never heard of this, but sounds good.

Nora, my favorite filling is veggies, prawns and something spicy. So much fun to make my own wontons now. But when I can't be bothered, I love this wonton skin soup.

Peabody, it's real comfort food!

Thank you for Wonton Soup recipe !!! :)

Golfy, welcome to The Perfect Pantry! Hope you try this soup -- it's simple and delicious.

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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