My Trader Joe’s Asian food product adventure continued. There were leftover frozen dumplings and Chinese-style barbecued seasoned pork and so I’ve been getting creative. Among the Trader Joe’s frozen Asian dumplings that I recently reviewed, the chicken and cilantro mini wontons were among my favorites. I wondered if I could pair the frozen wontons up with my shortcut Cantonese char siu pork. The result was this quick and fairly decent bowl of wonton noodle soup with char siu pork.
One caveat is that I had some homemade chicken stock and fresh Chinese egg noodles in the fridge, but you can use the shortcut Asian chicken stock from the Viet World Kitchen (my other site) and even top-ramen noodles. Don’t be shocked. Instant ramen noodles are a staple in many Asian kitchens, including mine. If you use ramen noodles, I suppose you could use their broth flavoring packet and water for the stock.
Parboiling the wontons first before poaching them in the stock prevents them from adding their starchiness to the stock. As the wontons cook in the stock, they absorb from of the stock’s flavor, thereby tasting better.
4 cups chicken stock, home made or shortcut version (on Vietworldkitchen.com)
1/3 pound fresh egg noodles or 2 Top-Ramen type of dried noodle flats
16 frozen Trader Joe’s chicken and cilantro mini wontons
1/4 pound Quick Char Siu Pork from Trader Joe’s
1/4 pound green vegetable, such as asparagus, bok choy, gailan, fresh peas, or broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
Light (regular) soy sauce
White pepper or chile oil, optional
1. Bring the stock to a boil in a saucepan, lower the heat and cover to keep hot. Have your soup bowls nearby as you’ll be working fast.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Use a long-handled noodle strainer or mesh strainer to blanch the vegetables. Remove, flush with cold water, and divide among the soup bowls.
3. Return the water to a boil and use the strainer to plunge the noodles into the pot. Let them cook until chewy-firm; the cooking time depends on the noodles. Remove the noodles from water, rinse them under cold water and divide among the soup bowls.
4. Return the water to a boil and add the frozen wontons. Stir gently to separate them. At this point, remove the lid from the stock, then increase the heat on the stock to bring it back to a boil. After the wontons float to the top, scoop them from the water with a slotted spoon and slide them into the stock. Let them poach gently in the stock for about 3 minutes, until done; poke into one with a paring knife to test. (As the wontons cook, doctor up the pork, if you haven’t done so. Or, warm them up in a skillet if you did it in advance.)
5. When the wontons are cooked, scoop them from the stock and divide them among the soup bowls. Taste the stock and make any flavor adjustments with soy sauce and/or salt. Then ladle the stock into the bowls. Drizzle on some sesame oil and then top with the pork. If you like extra heat, sprinkle some white pepper and/or chile oil to finish. Serve immediately.