In case you haven’t noticed, there is a theme to these “Date Night Done Right” posts: Asian food. As tempting as it was to order Betty’s (again, the best Chinese food place in Dallas, and quite possibly the world) we decided it might be better for our waist line and our wallets if we made it ourselves! We were tempted to make those pan-fried potstickers again since we had wonton wrappers left over from before (they keep in the freezer for a long time, so if you don’t use all of them, be sure to save them!) Instead, we found a different way to utilize them – Wonton Soup! We also wanted to be slightly healthier, so instead of making a noodle or rice dish, we decided on Chicken Lettuce Wraps and shamelessly stole a copycat recipe from PF Changs (#notsorry).
Wonton Soup: I would start making this recipe first because it’s pretty simple and once you’re done with it, all you have to do is put a lid on the pot to keep it warm (or simply reheat it before you decide to serve it). Parker and I split up tasks in an effort to make dinner faster (sounded like a logical idea when you hadn’t eaten all day and it was already 9:00 at night), but I finished making the soup lightyears ahead of him.
Ingredients for Wonton Filling:
- 1/2 cup finely chopped Napa cabbage
- Coarse salt
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 3 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped, peeled fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Instructions for Wonton Filling:
- Work with one wrapper at a time, and keep the rest covered with a damp towel. Spoon one rounded teaspoon of filling in center of a wrapper.
- With dampened fingers (or a brush), wet the four edges. Form a triangle by folding the wrapper in half over filling, making sure the ends meet and filling is centered; press down firmly to seal.
- Moisten one tip on long side of triangle. Bring together both tips on long side, overlapping them slightly; press tips together to seal.
- Fold remaining top corner back. Transfer to an oiled plate; cover with a damp towel to keep moist. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.
- ….OR click here and buy a dumpling press (aka the best 4 bucks I ever spent)
Ingredients for Soup:
- 24 rectangular or square wonton wrappers (3 1/2-by-3-inch)
- Prepared wonton filling (from recipe above)
- 2 cans chicken broth (14.5 oz)
- 4 cups water
- Coarse salt
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 2 to 3 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Instructions for Soup:
- Once wontons are made, set aside (keeping them covered with moist towel). In a large pot, combine broth, 4 cups water, and 1 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil.
- Add wontons one at a time; return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until wontons are just cooked through, about 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in scallions, vinegar, and sesame oil; season with salt. Serve.
Onto phase 2! Now, the Wonton Soup could actually be a meal in itself. In fact, I had a small cup of the soup and two (lies, three) lettuce wraps and was full. But if you happen to be sharing this meal with a boyfriend (or just a boy in general)… I don’t know if you’ve picked up on this already, but they are like human garbage disposals and can eat anything and everything in sight without gaining an ounce (bastards). Anyways! Here’s everything you need to know about part two of your meal: Chicken Lettuce Wraps!
Chicken Lettuce Wraps: Makes 4-6 Servings
Ingredients for the Marinade:
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons sherry wine or red wine
- 2 teaspoons water
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
Ingredients for the Chicken Filling:
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced small
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil or peanut oil
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger or grated ginger
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup green onions, minced
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, minced
- 1 (8 ounce) can bamboo shoots, minced
- 1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts, minced
- 1 (6 ounce) package chinese cellophane noodles, cooked to pkg. directions (LIAR! Our package lied to us. We ended up with stringy noodles that tasted like plastic instead of those fun little crunchy noodles you get in lettuce wraps… So, I don’t know what we did wrong, but best of luck to you! If you figure it out, for the love of good please contact me here and tell me!)
Ingredients for the Cooking Sauce:
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sherry wine or red wine
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- lettuce leaves, washed and taken off the head but left whole
- Mix all ingredients for “cooking sauce” and set aside.
- In medium bowl, combine marinade ingredients and mix well. Add chicken and stir to coat thoroughly. Stir in 1 t. oil and let sit for 15 minutes.
- Heat wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 T. oil, then add chicken and stir-fry for about 3-4 minutes. Set aside.
- Add 2 T. oil to the pan. Add ginger, garlic, and onion and stir-fry for a minute or so.
- Add mushrooms, bamboo shoots and wter chestnutsl stir-fry an additional 2 minutes.
- Return chicken to the pan. Add mixed cooking sauce to the pan.
- Cook until thickened and hot.
- Break cooked cellophane noodles (assuming you figured out how to cook them…) into small pieces and cover bottom of serving dish with them.
- Pour chicken mixture on top of noodles.
- Serve along side lettuce leaves for everyone to take what they want, and then spoon into lettuce leaf and roll (like a burrito) individually themselves.
An hour or so later, we turned on an episode of South Park (a crude stupid dumb show boys like… or at least, that’s what I thought until I started watching it and now I’m hooked #awkward). Everything turned out great! Parker seemed slightly shocked that a dumpling could taste good even though it wasn’t fried, so I think that means this recipe’s a keeper. Knock on wood we haven’t messed anything up so far… Fingers crossed! Happy eating everyone, and maybe, just maybe next time I’ll post a “Date Night Done Right” recipe that isn’t all about Asian food (but don’t get your hopes up too soon… it’s kinda our favorite).
- Wonderful Low Calorie Ground Chicken Wonton Soup (weightloss.answers.com)
- College Survival Guide Part I: 50 Amazing Ramen Noodle Recipes (rasmussen.edu)
- How to.. (Wonton) (toki100.wordpress.com)
- Plumpling Dumplings (contemptibleimpudence.wordpress.com)