Spicy Chicken Wonton Soup

I recently got an intense craving for wontons. I think it's because we haven't had Chinese takeout in a while - which is something we don't do often in general, but it's been an extra long time, like six months - and I missed the free cup of wonton soup that comes with my meal. It's such a simple dish; a few wontons floating in a delicate chicken broth is as homey as it gets. It hits the spot so well, especially on chilly days.

True to my form, I couldn't just go with the simplest preparation though. I had to put my own spin on it, which basically means I made it spicy. I'm pretty sure that 99% of the time I "put my own spin" on a dish, I just add a spicy element and call it a day. Luckily for my tastebuds, adding spice is really all I need to take a dish from being ordinary to one of the best things I've ever eaten.
Ingredients [serves 4 to 6]:
1 lb. ground chicken
1 egg
2 scallions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
4 Thai chilis, sliced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
package of wonton wrappers (48 wrappers)

1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon crushed chili flakes
4 Thai chilis, sliced
1" piece ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 bunches baby bok choy, chopped
2 scallions, sliced

To start, assemble the wonton filling. Mince some garlic, chop up the Thai chilis, grate the ginger, and chop up the scallions.
Add the ground chicken to a bowl, chuck on the vegetables, add the soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and crack in an egg and mix together with a pair of chopsticks. Mom always said that mixing with chopsticks was best because it would prevent overmixing and you wouldn't be tempted to mash the ingredients together the way you might with a spoon. Gotta listen to Mom, right?
I used store bought wonton wrappers; I'm sorry, but not sorry. It's just one of those super convenient elements that I'm never going to make at home, despite all of the weird times I've made easy-to-buy ingredients myself.
Put about a tablespoon of filling in the center of the wrapper. Dip your finger in water and run it along two edges and then fold the wrapper over on the diagonal. Carefully seal the wonton, pressing out any air as you go. If you don't eat all of the wontons in one go, they can be laid out on a sheet pan and popped into the freezer. Once they're fully frozen, put them into a zip-top baggie and then you can satisfy wonton cravings on a whim.
There are a few different ways to finish off the wontons, but I like to fold the two "arms" over so that the wonton is hugging itself.
To assemble the soup, grab a stock pot and drizzle in a little sesame oil and turn the heat up to medium. Toss in some minced garlic, Thai chilis, crushed pepper flakes, and a knob of ginger split in half.
When everything's sizzling and the oil starts to turn red, pour in the chicken stock and the soy sauce and bring to a boil. You can certainly use homemade stock but I took another shortcut here. Honestly, I think that homemade stock would be wasted here since there are so many strong flavors being thrown in (like the sesame oil and the spice) but it's up to you.
Once the soup comes to a boil, add in the bok choy and the wontons and cook until the wontons are floating and the skins look slightly translucent.
Just before serving, add in the scallions.
To serve, ladle large portions into bowls and give everyone a pair of chopsticks and a Chinese soup spoon. These spoons are perfect for cradling wontons; they won't slip off the way they probably would with regular soup spoons. If you don't have these spoons, just provide the largest spoons you have that will still fit in people's mouths.
The broth is spicy, the wontons have a bit of spice, and it's the perfect combination. Honestly though, the ginger in the broth is so fragrant, the sesame oil is warming, the filling is hearty, and this is the type of dish I want to warm up with on a chilly pre-spring evening. Plus, all the food groups are represented and you don't have to feel super guilty about indulging in a second helping because it's homemade and you know the precise quantities and quality of the ingredients and that should make you feel pretty good.
Here's the recipe page:


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