This is my new favourite ‘Fakeaway’! I absolutely love a Chicken, Wonton & Noodle Soup when I visit our local shopping mall as it never feels like fast food. I think I like this version even better as I know exactly what is in it and it did feel a little less greasy than a shop bought one. I also didn’t get to my car feeling like I could drink a thousand litres of water from the MSG content. This particular version of a Chicken, Wonton & Noodle Soup was inspired by the great Marion Grasby, so I really can’t take all of the credit. I did however, make just a couple of minor tweaks, which I usually do. Not because hers wasn’t awesome already but because that is simply how I roll.
I know people can be afraid of making wontons but truth be told, they are ridiculously easy. If you have a real aversion to trying them, it is definitely ok to substitute store bought dumplings of your choice. The wonton wrappers come in packs of approximately 25 which is more than enough for the soup. If you are so inclined, buy two packs and double the mixture recipe as they freeze really well and you will have enough for a second and possibly a third round of this awesome Chicken, Wonton & Noodle Soup. To freeze, place them in a single layer on trays, freeze, and once frozen, store in zip lock bags for up to 3 months. Alternatively, if you have the filling leftover, again, store it in a zip lock bag in the freezer. This is why I recommend that you use fresh prawns.
Prep time: 30 Minutes (it may take a little longer to make the wontons if you haven’t done it before)
Cooking time: 40 Minutes
$$ Medium Budget
For the Wontons:
300gm of chicken mince
150 grams of fresh green prawns (preferably Australian wild caught or sustainably farmed), roughly chopped
2 spring onions, very finely sliced
2 tsp of sesame oil
A good sprinkling of ground white pepper (about 1/4-1/2 a tsp)
1/2 a tsp of sea salt
1 tsp of fresh grated ginger
11/2 tsp of corn flour
11/2 tbs of water
1 Packet of wonton wrappers
For the Soup:
2 tbs of peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
4 Chicken thigh fillets, skin on and bone in
1 heaped tsp of Chinese 5 spice
1/2 a tsp of sea salt
4cm piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp of whole black peppercorns
4 whole star anise
1.5 litres of low sodium chicken stock
3 tbs of soy sauce
4 cakes of dried egg noodles (cooked to packet instructions)
2 baby bok choy, halved and sliced lengthways, wash thoroughly to remove any grit
2 spring onions, finely sliced diagonally
1 cup of coriander leaves
Chiu Chow Chilli Oil to serve (optional, this is the one I like to use and it is available in most supermarkets)
To prepare the broth for the Chicken, Wonton & Noodle Soup, place the ginger, garlic and peppercorns in a mortar and pestle and give them a good bruising to release all of the oils. It doesn’t need to be a fine paste and if you don’t have a mortar & pestle you can place them between two sheets of baking paper and bash with a rolling pin.
Place the chicken thighs on a piece of baking paper and sprinkle over the sea salt and Chinese 5 spice. Use your hands to really rub it on and under the thigh pieces until they are evenly coated.
Heat half the oil in a large stock pot and brown the thighs on both sides until golden. Remove them from the pot and pour in the rest of the oil (if needed) and add the ginger, garlic and pepper paste. Fry for a minute or two, being careful not to burn the garlic. Pour in the stock and soy sauce, then pop the star anise and chicken thighs back in the pot. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and reduce to a simmer. Simmer the soup for at least 30 minutes, but the longer the better as the flavour will intensify. Remove the chicken from the broth and set aside once cooked. Allow to cool slightly before roughly slicing the meat off the bones at about 1cm intervals. If you are like me, you won’t resist having a sneaky gnaw on the bones before discarding. Place the chicken in a bowl and cover to keep warm. Strain the stock and pour it back in the saucepan so it can be super hot when you are ready to serve.
To prepare the wontons, place the chicken mince, chopped prawns, ginger, spring onion, sesame oil, corn flour, pepper, salt and water in a mixing bowl and use a spoon to combine the mixture until it has a pasty consistency. Pour some water into a small ramekin and take a wonton wrapper, dip your finger in the water and run it around the edge of the wonton wrapper. If you hold it flat in your palm, this will make it easier to handle. Use a knife to place a small amount of the filling in the centre (roughly half a teaspoon amount) and then fold over, corner to corner, so you have a triangle shape. Use your fingers to pleat it into the middle, making sure it is well sealed. Don’t worry about them looking too professional, you just want them nice and sealed so the mixture doesn’t come out during cooking. See the image below of my very ‘beginner’ looking wontons and the good news is, even though they looked a little rough, none of the mixture came out. To cook the wontons, bring a large pot of water to the boil and once boiling, pop your wontons in one at a time. They are ready when they float to the top and this will only take a few minutes.
When I make a soup like this, I like to prepare the elements separately and then ladle the broth over the top. So, place your sliced spring onions and coriander leaves in a bowl of iced water to crisp up, drain just before serving. Cook the noodles according to packet instructions, drain and divide them between bowls. Blanch the Bok Choy in boiling water for a minute at the most. I do this by putting them in a deep dish and pouring boiling water over the top, I then use tongs to divide them between the bowls. If the chicken is a little cool, ladle a bit of the stock over the top to reheat and then divide it over the noodles. Place your cooked wontons in the bowls (4-5 per serve) and pour over the simmering stock. Top with the spring onion and coriander garnish and drizzle with the chilli oil if that is your preference. You could also use sriracha or fresh chilli slices to garnish.