Tempeh Wonton Soup

In celebration of making wontons for the first time, we finally cooked our own veggie broth as well, and this soup came out just wonderfully – the gentle broth complimented the spicy salty wontons, and the sweet new crop cabbage added a nice crunch. With store-bought wonton wrappers, these Chinese dumplings are pretty easy to make, but they do require a little bit of time and patience.

The stock recipe we adapted from the Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure by Lorna J. Sass, a book we very much recommend for anyone with a pressure cooker. There is a little planning ahead to do for this dish: the tempeh needs to be put in the marinade on the day before, the wrappers need a few hours to thaw, and the filling has to cool down before the assembling process can begin.

The Marinated Tempeh:

  • 200 g tempeh, crumbled
  • 1/2 dl light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger

Heikki mixed all the ingredients and let the tempeh marinate overnight in the fridge.

The Filling (for about 64 wontons and a little extra):

  • 1 red bell pepper, finely cubed
  • 1 leek, the white part, finely chopped
  • the marinated tempeh from above
  • canola oil for frying

We fried the marinated tempeh crumbs in the oil for about 15 minutes on medium heat, until they were all nicely browned. Then we added the veggies to the pan, and fried for a few minutes, until they’d softened a little bit.

The Stock:

  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 dl shredded cabbage (new crop)
  • 1 leek, the green part, chopped
  • 5 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4 cm piece of a ginger root, sliced
  • about 4 dl loosely packed fresh cilantro, with roots (scrubbed)
  • 1 stalk shopped lemon grass
  • 1 and 1/2 litres water

We placed all the ingredients in our pressure cooker, brought it to high pressure, cooked it for 10 minutes, and then let the pressure come down naturally for 10 minutes. Then we strained the stock through a fine sieve and added:

  • 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil

Without a pressure cooker, the stock needs at least an hour of simmering.

Assembling the Wontons:

The wrappers need to be defrosted first, which takes a few hours at least. They do keep in the fridge for a while after defrosting, so this can be done on the day before. Not all wonton wrappers are vegan, so it’s important to read the labels carefully!

While I was assembling the wontons, I took care that the additional wrappers were covered with plastic. The method I used for assembling is very easy and seals tightly, but there are many other possibilities, like the fun boat shape in Veganyumyum‘s wonton recipe.

First, I placed a little less than a teaspoonful of the filling on one end of a wrapper, and brushed the edges of the wrapper with water. Then I rolled the wrapper tightly around the filling, and pressed down the ends of the resulting roll, adding a dab of water on each end. I took care to press the excess air out of the roll while doing this – the dumplings will be prettier that way.

Now, I folded the wonton roll gently in half, bringing the two ends together, and pressed them firmly with my fingers to seal. And then I repeated the process 63 times, keeping the already filled wontons covered under a kitchen towel while working on the rest.

The Boiling and Serving of the Wontons:

When all the wontons were ready, we brought a big pot filled with water to a brisk boil, and cooked them for 1-2 minutes, until all had floated up to the surface. Then we picked them up with a slotted spoon, and placed in the hot vegetable broth we’d just made.

We sliced some new crop cabbage into our bowls, scooped a generous amount of soup over it, and enjoyed!