BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Wonton Extravagance

41 Comments

Soup has a big job to do. Not only has it been tasked with nourishing the soul, but restoring the body and feeding hungry minds on top of that. Soup fills the empty spaces in stomachs and hearts alike, soothing in ways that words fail to match. Thick, spoon-coating, veggie-heavy bowlfuls may be the more popular choice these days, but there’s some serious praise due to the more brothy variety. The clean, clear flavors that can shine in such a medium are unparalleled, and there’s nothing to say that it can’t also be loaded up with hearty additions. Substantial, hearty, and yes, meaty mix-ins are the key to elevating the average cup of vegetable stock to something worthy of a meal. Even for the picky eaters in my fold, spread halfway across the continent, there was a comforting sense of unity when we all sat down to enjoy the same sort of meal.

Cooking with my dad over Skype has been challenging, but never due to his culinary skills. Simply crafting a recipe with ingredients that he could find, create a healthy meal with, and manage within his busy schedule has always been a stumbling block. Now that my sister has joined him in his tiny German abode, it’s increasingly difficult to come up with things that everyone will like. Dumplings are a hit across all branches of this family tree, so no matter the filling, it was a clear winner from the start. Their creative interpretation of my instructions has proven instrumental in understanding how most people craft their meals as well, reinforcing the importance of a flexible, resilient recipe. That also means that I can confidently state that these easy wontons can happily accommodate a swap of seitan to tofu, any sort of mushroom (fresh or frozen), and amounts are largely to be considered guidelines, not rules. Additionally, the finished dumplings stand up beautifully to freezing for extended periods, pan-frying or steaming just as well as they might float in soup.

The soup itself lived up to the high expectations placed upon the humble bowlful. Maybe the company (in person and on the screen) makes a difference, but it was one of the most comforting recent meals I can recall.

Seitan Dumplings

1 Pound Prepared Seitan, Drained if Water-Packed
10 Ounces Frozen Mixed Mushrooms, Thawed and Drained
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil
3 – 4 Scallions, Thinly Sliced
2 Teaspoons Fresh Ginger, Finely Minced
2 Cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
3 Tablespoons Tamari or Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
1 Package 3 1/2 – 4 Inch Round Vegan Wonton Wrappers

For Wonton Soup (Optional):

Vegetable Broth
Thinly Sliced Scallions
Thinly Sliced Chili Peppers, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, or Sriracha
Greens, Such as Kale, Spinach, or Arugula

Begin by placing the seitan, mushrooms, and scallions your food processor, and pulse until the mixture is coarsely ground, roughly approximating the texture of ground meat. Set aside for the time being.

Heat both oils in a medium saute pan over moderate heat. Once shimmering, toss in the ginger and garlic. Cook for about two minutes or until aromatic and toss in the ground seitan. Stir continuously to prevent it from sticking or burning for 4 – 5 minutes. Any liquid should have evaporated at this stage, so drizzle in the soy sauce and vinegar, scraping the bottom of the pan to dislodge anything that may have adhered. Continue to cook for an additional 4 minutes or so, until that liquid has also been absorbed into the filling. Let cool for at least 15 minutes, or until it reaches a manageable temperature.

Set out a plate to place your finished dumplings and cover the stack of unfilled wonton wrappers with a lightly moistened paper towel. They can dry out very quickly which will make clean folds impossible, so keep a close eye on them throughout the process. If they aren’t all used when the filling is finished, they can be sealed in a plastic baggie and frozen for 3 – 4 months. Place only about 1 – 2 teaspoons of filling in the center of each wrapper, and lightly dampen the edges with water to seal. There are many ways to shape your dumplings, depending on your tastes or how you’d like to use them, so I must defer to the experts here for instruction.

After shaping your dumplings as desired, you can either freeze them in an air-tight container for later use or move on to cook them right away. For the soup, simply heat up as much broth as you’d like and toss in scallions, spicy additions, and greenery to your taste. There’s no one right way to assemble such a soup, so just trust your instincts. Once gently simmering, carefully lower the wontons in and cook for just 2 minutes, until the wrappers look a bit more translucent. Serve immediately- Wonton soup does not keep or reheat well.

If pan-frying, heat up about 1/4 – 1/2 inch layer of neutral-flavored oil on the bottom of your saute pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the dumplings in one even layer and let sizzle until brown and crispy; just 2 – 3 minutes. Flip and brown the opposite side if desired. Serve immediately with additional soy sauce for dipping.

Makes 40 – 50 Seitan Dumplings

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

41 thoughts on “Wonton Extravagance

  1. I love the whole skype cooking idea. Lovely soup.

  2. Those wontons look amazing! I haven’t had wonton soup in years. I will definitely have to try making this one weekend. Thank you for posting this.

  3. Wonton soup has always been my favorite. It seems like such an extravagance these days when I find a restaurant that carries a veggie wonton version, but for some reason I never realized how simple it would be to create the dish at home!

  4. $39.75 + $75.70 shipping is the cost for those wrappers. There has to be a better way (other than making my own again).

    • The better way is to find them in an Asian market! This was just the only online source I could find, and wanted to provide an example of what to look for. By all means, seek out other options when the least bit possible!

      • Hi Hannah,

        I have looked for them, and the ones without eggs seem to have other ingredients (like some form of alcohol) or other things that seem weird in something edible. Plus, I do not have an Asian market in my town, or anywhere near my town. I have many where I work, but I’m out on a leave of absence from work at the moment. I know that’s not really relevant at the moment, but it’s a calamity when even my local “Indian” grocer doesn’t even have fresh produce. One of the owners tried selling me bay leaves as dried curry leaves once. It said bay leaves right on it. Sorry to complain so much, but my small town is aggravating me right now. oxoxo

      • Ah, well in that case, there are definitely recipes for making your own wonton wrappers. A quick search yielded this method, which seems promising: http://low-cholesterol.food.com/recipe/vegan-wonton-wrappers-281598

        I’m sorry you’re having such trouble finding a reliable source of ingredients! That really is the worst… Here’s hoping that new stores are on their way in, and the bad ones on their way out. The high turnover rate is possibly a good thing in this situation.

      • You’re so sweet. I’m really not too hard up, except for those little things once in a while. I was just miffed when once again my local local tea lounge didn’t bother to open again today. The four out four times I’ve tried to go she has been closed. You might tell that my standards seem a little high, but when you have hours posted for your business, it would be nice if you followed them, right?

        Peace!!!

  5. The weather here is warming up but I would love to have a soup like that:)

  6. HA! Well done on the pun title…not sure it is going to beat Chocolate covered Katies post title for today though… “Copycat little Debbie Cosmic chocolate fudge brownies” is out in front at the moment BUT I would rather eat your wonton extravagance soup any day :). I have been eating a LOT of soup lately. I eat it for my evening meal and have done so for the last 8 weeks. I started out on on a green smoothie plan to accompany some other online vegan’s and ended up changing my life :). Soup is now what I eat for my evening meal and this one looks amazingly promising. I, too, come from German heritage…I am a bit more “removed” from “The Old Country” but the logic and need for simplicity runs strong in our veins young padawan! ;). We Aussies spend a lot of time eating Asian food. We are part of the Asia Pacific and have a very ecclectic population demographic that is reflected in our food. I will be giving this recipe a spin ASAP because it looks like soul food to me :) Cheers for sharing your communal meal with us all Hannah :)

  7. Those dumplings look wonderful–a perfect way to warm up on a cold day! And cooking via Skype sounds crazy, but awesome too :)

  8. Until I went to India and tried their wonton equivalent, I never thought of it much but your post brings all those cravings back :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  9. I have to say, one thing I occasionally miss is wonton soup…so I’m so happy to see this recipe! Total soup for the soul.

  10. Girl you are reading my mind! This looks delicious and exactly what I have been craving. My family is across the country and we sometimes cook over Skype too. It’s not the same as in person but better than the phone. PS- I have those same bowls and spoons, think I got them in a little Chinatown shop in SF :)

  11. Although I have an Asian background I have to say I’ve never made any wonton before. Will bookmark this post and give the recipe a try later.

  12. I had no idea that half your family was overseas! I had created a story in my mind that your sister was in Germany studying abroad for a year and that you had recently visited. I’m glad to know the real story now and how fun to be cooking together over Skype!

  13. I don’t think I’ve ever had wonton soup before but your photos sure make me want to try some! Most of my family, besides my parents and brothers, all live in Sweden. What a fantastic idea to Skype cook with them!

  14. How wonderful that you cook via Skype! That would be awesome for me and my mom since she lives 12 hours away from me. This soup looks stunning!

  15. Love the wontons! It’s definitely one of those recipes where everyone pitches in to help make them. How cool to do it over skype. :-)

  16. Wonton soup is one of my faves! Definitely have never thought about making my own though. Thanks for sharing this and I will try it out when i’m feeling adventurous :P

  17. My dad texted me the the other night asking if I like Seitan. I called him and asked him where he’d heard of it. He said that he recently saw a show where a butcher’s daughter stopped eating meat at 14 and turns to the seitan instead of steak. She explained how becoming a vegetarian broke her father’s heart and I told my dad he could probably relate; he is a first generation American from Italy and I told him I was going vegetarian when I was 12. I’m going to send him a link to this post to see if I can further pique his interest in seitan. It’ll be a huge win if he actually tries it!

  18. i need this hot and spicy soup right now to deal with this congestion! my calls with mom over some authentic indian recipes are now on skype too:)

  19. Those dumplings sound SO good and I love that they are vegan! How very creative :).

  20. Wondeful & tasty seitan filled dumplings here! I will use my home-made seitan for this! :) Yummm!
    A perfect recipe for me!

  21. That’s so lovely that you all cook over skype! :)

  22. Wonton soup is one of my most favorite soups. I can only imagine how delicious it was!

  23. WHAT?! Half your family is in Germany?! When did THIS happen? Goodness! Doesn’t the time difference make it difficult to cook together?

  24. I love wonton soup and you really made this beautifully! It’s always been my top choice for comfort food. :) How interesting and heart warming that you cook with your dad through Skype. :) I think it’s an awesome idea.

  25. I love à good soup and this wonton soup looks like the perfect comforting dish to me!

  26. A soup for the soul… Great, have to try these dumplings.

  27. 40 dumplings?! You’re a crazy lady! These sound utterly tasty, though. So maybe 40-50 is necessary. ;)

  28. Looks like a lovely soup. I have never thought of skype cooking before, it’s a great idea for sharing food, brilliant!

  29. This soup looks divine. Such a gorgeous photo! (And gorgeous dumplings!)

    Cooking over skype sounds awesome yet also simultaneously slightly torturous… after all, one person gets to see/taste/smell/eat the food, and the other person only gets to see it, right? Or maybe you both cook the same thing at once…? Anyway, it’s a nice idea for spanning long distances between family members! I like it.

    • No, no one gets left out! We decide on the recipe about a week in advance so there’s time to gather ingredients, and we both prepare it at the same time. I usually guide my dad through since he’s not exactly into vegan cooking, but he’s taught me a thing or two in the process. No matter what, we always end up with something good to eat in the end, so it’s purely a win-win situation.

      • Nice! I love this idea. My family is also spread far & wide, but nothing brings people together like food. And coming together around food is one of the things I miss the most, especially when our only communication is with sporadic phone calls and e-mails. It sounds like your family has worked out an excellent system, and one which I hope to imitate someday soon. :) I can think of a friend or two who I’d like to share a long-distance skype cooking session with, too!

  30. Wonton soup always seemed like such a daunting thing to me, but your recipe seems pretty simple. Gonna bookmark it now! :)

  31. These sound delicious, will definitely be trying them! Such a great idea to give skype cooking sessions!

  32. Pingback: Friday Favorites | Luminous Vegans

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