Shanghai Chicken Wonton Soup

1/2 lb bok choy
1 lb ground chicken
1/3 lb Chinese garlic chives
chopped finely
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp microplaned ginger
1 small pinch ground white pepper
1 pkg wonton wrappers
2 qts chicken stock
3 tbsp chicken demi-glace
5 whole dried shiitake mushroom
2 bn green onion
white parts only
3 in knob ginger
peeled and sliced ¼’ thick
4 garlic cloves
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
2 tbsp Chinese mushroom seasoning
2 bn green onions
green parts only
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
For the Dumpling
Rough chop the bok choy and toss with 2 tsp kosher salt, let sit for about 10-15 minutes. Wrap the salted bok choy in a towel and squeeze out as much water possible. Transfer the bok choy into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped with a few peanut-sized chunks.
In a large bowl, combine chicken, bok choy, garlic chives, cornstarch, wine, soy, ginger, very light sprinkle of salt and white pepper. White pepper is very strong so be careful and remember that the bok choy is already salted so watch the salt! Mix vigorously for about 5 minutes, this tenderizes the meat and forms a tighter, more homogenous filling.
Now to taste your filling! Take about a tablespoon of filling and make it into a small patty. Cook this patty on a small pan, on medium heat for about 4 minutes (depending on the size of your patty). Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
To assemble, remember to always keep a damp towel on top of your wrappers, they tend to dry out fast. In a small bowl, beat your egg with about ¼ cup of water, this will be your “glue”. Put 1 tsp of filling in the middle of the wrapper, dip your finger into the egg-water mixture and dab the edges of the wonton skin. Fold the wrapper in half (diagonally), creating a tight seal and once again, fold the tip of the bottom edges together, creating a tortellini-shaped dumpling. (See picture below)
Bring a large pot of water to boil and once it’s boiling hard, gently drop the dumplings into the water. Stir with a spider or slotted spoon to ensure they cook evenly. Never cook the dumplings in broth, the cornstarch used to keep the wrappers separate will thicken and dilute the broth. Also, make sure not to drop too many dumplings at a time as this will crowd the pot. Each batch of dumplings should take about 5-6 minutes to cook, you can always remove one and cut it open to see.
Remove the dumplings from the water and be prepared to serve them as soon as possible! Let the water come back to a boil before dropping your next batch.
For the Broth
Combine all ingredients and simmer for at least 45 minutes. You’re only steeping the broth with aromatics and straining it out later, reserving only the broth. Keeping your aromatics in large chunks will prevent the broth from getting too cloudy. Taste along the way and re-season as needed.
To Serve
Place a cooked wonton in each espresso cup or mini ramekin, ladle with piping hot broth and garnish with sliced green onions. If you like, you can also do a small dot of sriracha or a very light drizzle of chili oil for those who like some heat.
**Chinese mushroom seasoning is a wonderful and natural alternative to MSG and MSG-laced bouillon mixes and available in most Asian markets. It only contains dried mushroom powder, salt and calcium (to prevent caking). If you don’t have any, add a few more dried shiitake mushrooms to the broth.
**Hong Kong style wontons contains ground pork and chunky pieces of shrimp, resulting in a dense meatball texture. Shanghai style wontons have either ground pork or chicken and bok choy or napa cabbage, lending to a lighter, juicier dumpling.