Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Lazy kind of days......and cardboard boxes.

Do you have days when you just don't want to get out of bed?

The warm duck down is wrapped around you and the cloud of comforting 'just right' air envelops you.

Yet the alarm beckons.....

My alarm rings with a statement of "Mumma sandwiches must be made.....wakey wakey rise & shine".

And invariably I leave behind one or two little snugglers in my spot in the bed as I make my way to the kitchen.

They can stay.

They don't have to make sandwiches.

They don't have to get out of bed for anything at all.

I leave them be.

They will follow me soon enough...tummies gurgling for brekky.

Today after I dispatched the big ones, one by one off to school,  I sat on the couch.

I could have stayed there ALL day.

It is a bit drizzly outside. 

But a parcel arrives.  I arise to answer the door.

It is in a big box.

We unwrap it.

The contents are inconsequential.  

A box A box. my kingdom for a box!

Perfect indoor toy for the two littlest.  I mean really is there anything better than a cardboard box?

Wonton noodle soup is one of my absolute favourite foods.  A bad one is sooooo dissapointing but a good one is close to heaven I think!
Mine is always different depending on what is in the pantry or fridge or garden.
It's surprisingly easy if you haven't made it before.  DO give it a whirl!
It uses ingredients that I consider MUST ALWAYS have pantry items. Especially if you love Asian cuisine as much as me!  It needs other ones too from the fridge but I make sure I ALWAYS have these as I make quite a lot of recipes that rely on them (I store little portions of pork mince in the freezer for dumplings and wontons).
The MUST HAVE pantry items are: dried noodles, maggi seasoning (as pictured below),

chicken stock, wonton skins (I always have these in the fridge),

shao xing wine (distinguishable by it's distinctive duck egg blue & red label as in pic below),

sesame oil. (Most of these things are at your local Asian grocer- it is worth finding a good local one in my opinion. I love asking about ingredients I haven't used before. Asian grocers are treasure troves.)
The most difficult part to this recipe is the making of the wontons.  And it isn't actually that hard. They are very forgiving and once you have made it once I bet you will be going back for more.
Experiment with different flavours & noodles too!  It is delicious with slivers of chicken or silken tofu....go crazy!
The recipe I have written here is the mix I used on that day.  It tasted great but I haven't done it like that before- i will again though!.  I had some gorgeous Giant Red Mustard leaves to use, some chilli and some Vietnamese mint- all growing in my garden asking to be made into something delicious.  Vietnamese mint is one of those magical asian herbs- like Coriander- it was perfect for this soup, it added an amazing fresh zinginess that lifted the soup to another level. Soooooo good. and you could just feel it doing you good too!  My kids LOVED it!  It grows really easily- you really should plant some- you should!  Giant red mustard is the same. It grows easily and loves to be plucked!

  • 1 inch knob of ginger
  • a handful of Vietnamese mint ( i used 3 in the soup, 2 in the pork mince and another one to garnish)- I would often use coriander but didn't have any
  • 1 red chilli
  • 2 inch knob of ginger (1 inch grated into pork mince & other 1 inch sliced and put in broth)
  • 2- 3 drops of Maggi seasoning (this is SUPER strong- don't over use this sauce.  It is to me the 'secret' ingredient if you like, to the authentic flavour of Wonton soup but be very careful not to overpower the broth with it. )
  • 200g free range pork mince
  • 2 tablspoons sesame oil
  • 1 egg
  • a bowl of water (for helping seal the wontons)
  • a pack of wonton wrappers
  • 2 litres of chicken stock (if you don't have good home made stock you can substitute with a good powdered one)
  • a dash of LIGHT soy (it is more salty than dark so you don't have to use as much & will also leave the broth a lovely light colour)
  • green veg of your choice (I had Giant Red Mustard leaves in the garden so used those)
  • dried soba noodles (it was all I had in the pantry- i don't have any rules about which to use- but the rule I stick to is to make sure you boil the noodles in  a separate pot as it will taint your broth otherwise)
  • extra salt if required
In a pot bring a prepare your dried noodles as per packet instructions.  When cooked drain and run cold water to stop cooking process. I add a dash of sesame oil to keep noodles loose and to add flavour. Set aside.

In a large bowl add pork mince,  grated ginger, egg & sesame oil.  Get your hands in there and amalgamate the ingredients very well. It will resemble a paste almost.

On a floured surface put a wonton wrapper so it lies as a diamond and add about a heaped teaspoon of pork mince mix to the centre.  

Dip your finger into the water and baste the edges.  Then fold over and squeeze the edges firmly to make sure they are sealed.  Repeat till all mix made into wontons.

Now for the broth.  Bring  2 litres of chicken stock to the boil. Add 1 inch of ginger slices, a sprig or two of Vietnamese mint,  maggi seasoning and soy.

Once at a boil drop in the wontons.  You will see the wrapper start to shrink around the meat mix to create that lovely little shape you know and love!

Cook the wontons for about 5 minutes.  I added the mustard leaves only about a minute before I served- I love them to be crunchy.

In each serving bowl place a small amount of noodles,  some wontons & some green veg.  Now ladle over the broth till covered and add chilli & fresh herbs!


My listening pleasure today is a band from Norway I've been listening to alot lately.  Theya ren't new but I love them. They help add some quiet to my busy-ness:


  1. that looks fabulous! I shall pop to the garden to pick some of the GIGANTIC vietnamese mint bush that is taking over an entire veggie patch! lol x

  2. That soup looks delicious!! I love cooking soups, but tend to stick with the same old recipes that I already know, so time to try something new!
    I know what you mean about a couchy type of day, I have two of my boys home today and am finding it hard to get motivated to do anything, I think it is the drizzly weather... Have a good day! Julie:)

  3. Yum! I totally made wonton soup last week when I was sick. I was going to blog about it too! Will leave it a little while <3

    PS I really want some Vietnamese mint now...

  4. Oh, what a lovely warm bowl of noodles! I could do with this as a pick-me-up lunch today, totally.

  5. Can you BELIEVE it.... we're having wanton noodle soup for dinner TONIGHT too!!!
    Just popped into my local Asian grocer this morning to get the stuff to make my wontons.
    Maggi seasoning is totes yum and I agree it is so tasty, but makes hubby itchy all over and kids inherited his eczema gene... so not fun at all so we try to avoid that stuff.

    I'm using dried cuttlefish, scallops and dried shrimps pre soaked in hot water, then boiled to make the broth. Mum's not-so-secret broth recipe for everything soupy!

    Hope you feel better real quick!! Xxxx

  6. Thank you so much! I've had the flu over the last few days and all I can think about is wonton soup!!!

    Perfect timing!

    Thanks so much!


  7. Made it tonight...I think, I love you and your wonton soup. It was gorgeous. family think I'm pretty amazing for making it. Thank you so much!

  8. Oooooo, this sounds delish! I have just pinned it to my pinterest, to remind me to give it a try.
    Can I ask, what is the Maggi seasoning? I actually live in Hong Kong, so am not sure if I will be able to find this. I am sure there will be a more local seasoning, some where, if I know what it is.


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