|Won tons of fun - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
I prefer using the round wrappers, as they're a bit thicker and the shape allows for the pretty pinch-folds on the edge to seal them up. The store only had the thinner square won ton wrappers, which fine since they come out looking like little packages. As long as the food is cute, what else matters, right?
I like gyoza or won tons because you can really fill them with anything, and are especially nice ways to dispatch small portions of leftovers. This was a little more premeditated, so I had some ingredients picked out specifically for this dish. Some bok choi, garlic, ginger, and shiitake mushrooms were buzzed in the food processor and mixed with unseasoned ground pork and chopped scallions. Little spoonfuls were stuffed in the center of each square and sealed shut. I like cooking things quickly, so I take all the little bite-sized packages and place them on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper and lightly brush or spray with cooking oil, and under the broiler they go. There's not a lot of meat filling, so it cooks quickly and the intense heat browns the wrappers nicely. It's almost like they've been fried and it cooks everything at once.
The broth for the soup was a little more involved -- I periodically make up batches of beef, chicken or vegetable broth. I keep a brown paper sack in the freezer full of vegetable bits and bobs like mushroom stems, celery and carrot ends, onion tops, etc. When the bag gets full, I'll boil water and make a pot of vegetable broth, freezing it for later use. It's a combination of being terribly compulsive and having a disdain for waste. By making broth, all manner of chicken and beef bones, plus vegetable flotsam get a second life in a meal.
Making the broth more Asian-inspired, I took chunks of fresh ginger to steep in the simmering liquid, and added fresh shiitakes for a strong, earthy flavor. Baby bok choi leaves were added, and healthy dashes of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar gave it a savory/sour tang. A few crispy won tons were floated in, as well as snacked on while the broth simmered. It wasn't exactly something my mom used to cook, but an inspired recreation that I think she would approve of. The next time the Wasabi parental-sans come out for a visit, I'll have to show them the twists I've done on their recipes.
A total personal family note that's too good not to share -- congratulations to my other cousin and her husband who just welcomed a baby girl into the world. Much love goes out to J + C, and to little Z who's got the lofty task of being a big brother ahead of him. See you soon!
|Ginger, shiitake mushrooms and oh boy - bok choi! - Photos by Wasabi Prime|