I have always loved wonton soup. Having spent a large portion of the 90s on military bases, which were quite culturally homogeneous, most of the “exotic” restaurants we had a chance to try were Chinese buffets. I loved them (in my pre-veg days), and was sad when I became vegetarian and couldn’t find meat-free wonton soup in restaurants.
My parents had some in-depth cookbooks for people who wanted to learn Chinese cuisine, and as a teenager I experimented with making wontons filled with mashed tofu (instead of the recommended ground pork) and green onions. They were good but tended to leak tofu, and I made them occasionally in high school and university until I discovered a local buddhist vegan restaurant that makes divine wonton soup. Padmanadi is an awesome restaurant for anyone visiting Edmonton, veg or no. However, they are a 30+ minute drive away, and I wanted a recipe I could whip up at home.
Trial and error resulted in a recipe that uses gluten flour in the filling for wontons that stay together while being cooked, but aren’t too gummy or rubbery. White pepper and five-spice powder give the broth a great flavour, and I heartily recommend adding your favourite vegetables, thinly-sliced, before serving. If you can’t find egg-free wonton wrappers, try using thin dumpling wrappers instead. I’ve used both, and dumpling wrappers are the ones used in the photos above.
Wonton Soup -An original recipe by Agent Minty
Makes 36 wontons
- 1/3 block (about 220 g) of medium or “traditional” tofu (not drained)
- 1/4 can of chopped water chestnuts
- 1 1/2 Tbsp soya sauce
- 1/4 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp water
- 1 coarsely chopped scallion
- Pinch of ground white pepper
- 1/4 tsp 5-spice powder
- 1/2 cup gluten powder (vital wheat gluten, seitan powder, etc)
- 1 package vegan wonton wrappers
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- your preferred chopped vegetables: I like baby bok chou, sliced carrots, whole baby corn, and even a bit of cauliflower.
- ~ 1 Tbsp miso paste
- 1/4 tsp each ground white pepper and 5-spice powder
- 2 Tbsp soya sauce
- Puree tofu in a food processor for about 20 seconds until mostly smooth but still a bit gritty.
- Add water chestnuts, soya sauce, ginger paste, water, chopped scallion, white pepper, and five-spice powder, and pulse a few times until incorporated but not too smooth.
- Add in gluten flour and pulse repeatedly until the texture is like cookie dough.
- Transfer to a bowl and cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and store at room temperature for 15-20 minutes to let the gluten develop.
- Pinch off 1-2 tsp-sized lumps of filling and place in the centre of the wrapper. Wet the edges of the wrapper and press to seal.
- Continue filling wontons, laying them on a single layer on a plate or tray to dry slightly.
- Prepare chopped vegetables and set aside.
- Prepare your broth – the miso paste, pepper, soya sauce, etc. are just recommended amounts for one large or two small servings (about 6 cups of broth). Add garlic, sriracha, ginger, or other seasonings to your taste.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Toss in the wontons you wish to eat (about 7 or 8 per person), and cook about 5 minutes, until they float.
- Meanwhile, transfer chopped vegetable to simmering broth and cook for the last two minutes.
- Transfer cooked wontons to the broth and add chopped scallions on top. Serve.
- Unused wontons can be frozen, uncooked, and tossed directly into boiling water to thaw when needed.