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The Ultimate Comfort Food ~ Wor Won Ton Soup

Why are some foods "comfort foods" and others aren't? What makes them comforting? If  you asked 100 people to list their favorite comfort foods you would probably get 100 different answers. My theory is that the dishes that remind you of your happiest moments are the ones that ultimately become "comfort food".

Won ton soup usually falls into one of two categories -  really good or really bad. I was lucky to have experienced the really good version when I was growing up. We would often go into Vancouver's Chinatown for special occasions. We lived less than an hour from Chinatown, but it was almost like visiting another country. When I was really young, we would go to a restaurant that my mother had gone to when she was a little girl. The owner's name was Steve, he was a kind-hearted, jolly man and he would always greet us like we were long- lost relatives.  I remember that the food was always delicious. My two favorite dishes were the beef and broccoli and of course, the wor won ton soup.

There is a restaurant across the street from us, that has the best won ton soup. They only make it one day a week, Saturdays. The restaurant is very small, but it is always busy. The owner, May, is quite the character. Whenever my husband goes there without me, she always asks  "Where's the girl?" I once had a bit of a rash on my face, and she very loudly asked "What's wrong with your face?" Good thing she makes me laugh or I might have been highly offended. She also makes a mean won ton soup. Each serving of soup has about ten won tons in it and each of the won tons are the size of a golf ball. We often have this for breakfast on Saturdays and we are full until dinner time.

Won ton soup seems like it might be really fiddly to make, but I don't think that it is. There are just a few things to remember:  I  only fill about 4 won tons at a time and keep the remaining wrappers covered with a clean cloth. Don't over -fill the wrappers, and make sure you press out any air inside them or they will burst when they are cooked. The won tons will only take a couple of minutes to cook, have all the other ingredients, prepped and ready to go, to add at the last minute.

Won tons -

1/2 cup finely grated green cabbage
1/4 cup yellow onions, finely grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1 green onion, sliced thinly
1/4 inch piece of peeled ginger, finely grated
1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 tsp sugar
 about 1 tsp salt
about 1 1/4 lb. ground pork, not lean, for best flavour and texture

1 pkg. won ton wrappers
1 egg, beaten with a splash of cold water

Cook the cabbage  and onion in a little veg. oil until tender. Remove from heat and let cool. Add the remaining ingredients through  to the ground pork. Mix together gently, and then cook a small amount in a skillet and taste for seasoning. Place four wrappers on a clean surface. Put a small tsp. of filling on each one. Dip a finger in the egg mixture and run around the outside of wrapper. Fold in half to make  a triangle, pressing out the air as you are doing this. You can leave it in this shape or take the two sides and press together, like he is giving himself a hug. Place on cookie sheet and keep covered with a clean dish towel.

Won ton soup -

good quality chicken stock

your choice of quick- cooking vegetables such as sugar snap peas, thinly sliced carrots, thinly sliced chili peppers, baby corn, baby bok choy, thinly sliced bell peppers, green peas, bean sprouts etc.

thinly sliced green onions

peeled and deveined raw shrimp, optional

thinly sliced cooked chicken or cooked pork, optional

chopped fresh cilantro, optional

a few drops of sesame oil and hot chili sauce

In a large pot bring chicken stock up to a gentle boil. Add won tons. Let cook until they float - 3 to 5 minutes. Add the vegetables and the shrimp, chicken or pork if using. Let simmer just until the shrimp is cooked and the vegetables are tender-crisp.  Remove from heat and sprinkle with sliced green onions, sesame oil and hot chili sauce. Serve immediately.

To freeze: place uncooked won tons evenly on a cookie sheet. Place in freezer until frozen solid, then place in freezer bags. Keep frozen until ready to use.

Tags: Soup, Won Ton, Asian

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