Sometimes, I want something quick and easy for a weekday dinner. Trader Joe’s has frozen chicken mini wantons that make for a good soup starter. Turning to a broth for this soup I was in a dilemma, do I make it Chinese—with chicken broth and ginger—or Japanese—with miso and dashi? My daughters’ philosophy is, “Why choose?”, so I went with both. For vegetables, I went with some of my family’s favorites—Shanghai bok choy, napa cabbage, and green onion.
The most common bok choy found in Western supermarkets are the large white stalked kind. I find this type unappealing. While there is plenty of vitamins in the dark leaves, the stalks become slimy when even slightly overcooked. Shanghai bok choy are smaller and green all over, with a better balance between stalk and leaves.
Karl’s Chicken Wonton Asian Fusion Soup
1 can (14.5 oz) low sodium chicken broth
3-4 fresh ginger, sliced into coins
2-3 Tbs. white miso
1½ cups dashi (1 ½ cups water plus 1½ tsp. HonDashi powder)
2 cups Shanghai bok choy, chopped into 1 inch pieces, stems and greens kept separately
1 cup napa cabbage, sliced thick and leafy parts kept separately
3-4 green onions, sliced into 1½ inch pieces, white and green kept separately
5-7 frozen chicken mini wontons per person, about half a bag
1. Put the chicken broth, ginger, and one cup of water into a medium soup pot.
Tip: Add the Hondashi to the pot later—it changes flavor if you boil it too much.
Note: While I usually prefer to make fresh dashi, for a quick meal I bend a little.
2. Put half a cup of boiling water into a measuring cup and mix in the miso paste.
Tip: If you just add the miso paste to the pot you might end up with lumps of miso in your soup. If you blend it with water first you can make sure that you’ve gotten all the lumps out.
Note: Some miso pastes have chunks of soy beans left in it. If you do have the chunky type of miso, the dissolved miso can be strained, as you add it to the pot.
3. Bring the pot to a boil and add the stems of the bok choi, the thick parts ofthe napa cabbage, and white parts of the green onions.
4. Reduce the heat and simmer the soup for 3-4 minutes.
5. Add the wontons, bok choi greens and leafy napa cabbage parts to the pot.
6. Continue simmering for another two minutes.
7. Stir in the green onion tops and dashi.
8. Simmer the soup for another 2-3 minutes and serve.