Making any kind of dumpling is always a special occasion for me. You should always make dumplings for your loved ones, because that little bit of extra effort just shows that you love them and they are worth it. Actually, these dumplings are shockingly easy to make, and are hardly any effort at all. I am using some simple ingredients which I can get from my local supermarket, or already have in the pantry. The flavors are a general nod towards Thailand, but this is not a traditional dish. It is rather tasty, though!
‘Special Occasion' Shrimp Wonton Soup
Makes 16-20 dumplings and serves two as a main or four as an appetizer
For the filling:
½ pound of shrimp
1 clove of garlic
½ oz ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 scallion, finely chopped
1 handful of cilantro
1 teaspoon roasted chili paste
1 teaspoon cornstarch
For the broth:
4 cups chicken stock
Juice of 1.5 limes
2 teaspoons soy sauce
½ oz ginger, shredded
1 clove of garlic, sliced
2 teaspoons roasted chili paste
2 Shitake mushrooms, sliced
½ a red chili pepper
2 scallions, sliced
Garnish for bowls:
½ a red chili
2 Shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
Baby Bok Choy sliced raw or whole and blanched
A soup like this depends on the quality of the broth. I want it to be powerful and punchy. I used some of my homemade ‘Special Occasion’ chicken stock from the freezer, (usually reserved for pan sauces) which is so concentrated I diluted it by half to get my four cups. You could use low sodium chicken broth from a carton, but be prepared to adjust the seasoning a little. The Thai roasted chili paste is essential though, as it provides our sweetness, and earthy notes. (I love this stuff, and can quite happily eat it straight from the jar.)
Bring everything to a boil, and if you peeled the shrimp, throw in the shells and tails too. The recipe here is just a guideline – the broth should be hot, sour, salty and just a little bit sweet. Keep tasting it, adjust those elements, and when it gets to the point that you just can’t put the spoon down, you are bang on the money! Turn the heat off to let everything infuse, and bring it back to a boil just before serving.
Peel the shrimp, and combine in the bowl of a Vitamix with the other ingredients.
You don’t need to use the full power of the Vitamix for this, it should remain a little chunky. I think I only went to speed 3 for a few seconds, stopping to make sure everything was well mixed. Here is the final texture:
Once again, you need to taste it for seasoning! Even I wouldn’t trust my own recipe to be identical the second time round; maybe I splashed in a little more fish sauce, maybe the garlic clove was bigger? The chili was hotter? Don’t take any chances. Take a teaspoonful and microwave it for 10 seconds to cook it through, then taste and adjust.
Now for the stuffing. One of the great things about these dumplings is that they require no elaborate shaping or crimping. Looks are not a priority here. All we have to do is place about a teaspoon in the middle of the wrapper, wet the edges with water, join up the corners, and apply a moderate amount of pressure to seal. A rough seal is all we really need, because these are very forgiving.
You could freeze them at this point, although I’ve never done it, because I really just need to eat every single one that I see in front of me as soon as possible. They will take no more than four minutes to cook in boiling water, and while that is happening, bring your broth back to a boil.
When the dumplings are done, arrange them in your prettiest bowl with your other garnishing ingredients.
You could just pour over the broth (if you didn’t use the shrimp shells), you could also sieve it, but if you want to go ‘full-on fancy pants’, and I usually do, you could go for the French press/tableside pour option.
There’s really no need for this at all, but it is quite fun.
This dish is delicious, comforting and refreshing. It took only about 30 minutes work, but it still feels like a special occasion dish to me.
If you want to learn how to work with other bold Thai flavors, don't miss The Chopping Block upcoming Trip to Thailand hands-on cooking class offered on:
You'll learn how to make this traditional menu:
- Mango and Cucumber Spring Rolls
- Beef Satay with Peanut Sauce
- Tom Kha Gai (Spicy Chicken and Coconut Milk Soup)
- Tofu Pad Thai