I’ve been really craving Wonton Noodle soups lately, so much that I’ve been visiting my favorite HK Cafes for an almost daily fix. It was getting to be an expensive habit and I wondered why I didn’t make my own at home. I know how to make broth, I know how to make dumplings, all I needed was some veggies, noodles, fish balls and I’m set.
I decided to make a big pot of wonton noodle soup for Sunday dinner and invited my sister and her family over. I also tweaked my broth from a simple chicken broth to a Khmer style broth infused with lemongrass, garlic, kaffir lime leaves and ginger. I allowed the broth to simmer for 4-5 hours, letting all the flavors fully develope and mingle before cooking the dumplings and serving. You can use a whole chicken while making this broth and shred the meat for the noodle bowls later, but because I already had pork dumplings and fish balls (plus I didn‘t want too much meat), I used chicken base for my soup instead. Most chicken base comes with msg, if you can’t have or don’t want msg, check your labels to make sure your brand is msg-free. I made enough for 7 people, feel free to half the recipe for a smaller crowd or portions!
2 cartons of chicken stock, 16 oz each
15 cups of water
4 tablespoon chicken base
2 bay leaves
8 kaffir lime leaves
6 stalks of lemongrass, stalks only, no leaves, lightly smashed
2 – 2 ½ inch of ginger, peeled and lightly smashed
2 large onions, peeled and quartered
12 cloves of garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
3 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon “seasoning sauce”, such as Golden Mountain or Maggi
2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
Soup finishing ingredients:
10 green onions, roughly chopped whites and green
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 packages of fish balls
(you can also use meat balls or shrimp balls, or do a combo)
Juice from 1 lime
Salt to taste
Pork Wontons (or dumplings, makes a little under 4 dozens):
1 lbs ground pork
2 teaspoon garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoon ginger, finely minced
2 teaspoon chili sauce, such as Sambal Oelek or Sriracha
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon ‘seasoning sauce’, such as Golden Mountain or Maggi
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 package wonton skins, square or round makes no difference
Corn starch for dusting pan or plate so dumplings don’t stick together
Water for sealing edges
Noodles, cooked per package instructions
(egg, rice or wheat, your choice)
Baby bok choy, quickly blanched
Ground black pepper
Chili sauce, such as Sambal Oelek or Sriracha
Fried garlic chips
1. In a large stock pot over high heat, add water, chicken stock, chicken base, bay leaves, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, ginger, onions, garlic, fish sauce, seasoning sauce, sugar and black pepper.
2. Bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes then reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for at least 2 hours. I simmer mine for 4-5 hours.
3. After proper amount of time as passed, remove the solid remains of ingredients (leaves, lemongrass, ginger, onions and garlic)
4. Taste broth and finish seasoning according to taste, adding more salt or fish sauce and the juice from 1 lime. Turn up heat and bring broth to a light boil.
5. Add thinly sliced onions, fish balls, wontons and turn heat down to medium. Allow wonton to cook about 5 minutes, stirring broth gently as to not break them. Wontons are cooked when they float to the top of the soup. Add green onions and you’re ready to serve!
Pork Wonton (or dumplings):
1. In a bowl, gently mix together ground pork, garlic, ginger, egg, oyster sauce, seasoning sauce and black pepper. I mix with my fingers or you can use a fork, but don’t mash it together, gently mixing gives you a light dumpling.
2. Lightly dust a pan or plate (where you would store your prepared dumplings) with corn starch. If you don’t have corn starch, use lightly wet paper towels.
3. To make dumplings, I like to roll pork mixture into meatballs for faster wrapping, but you don’t have to. Spoon ½ to 1 teaspoon of pork mixture on to the middle of a wonton skin, don‘t use too much or filling will burst through the skin. You can do whatever fold you’d like, such as the nurse’s cap (which I’ve used) or a simple triangle.
4. Cover finished dumplings with a lightly wet paper towel and store in refrigerator until ready to cook.
1. Cook according to package directions. Drain and should be the last thing you prepare before eating. You don’t want the noodles to be gummy as they can be when cooked too far ahead.
1. Broth is a very personal thing, the ingredients I’ve used are very near and dear to a Cambodian heart, these are just estimates of quantities. Always adjust according to your taste preferences. Lightly smashing your aromatics releases more flavor. If broth reduces too much or flavor is too strong, add more water to dilute during final seasoning and before adding the finishing ingredients.
2. Remove any “scum” that may form on the top of your broth, though I didn’t use chicken in mine, “scum” was minimal and there is virtually no fat in my broth. Removing the veggies you’ve used for flavor also promotes a clear broth, plus you don’t want to serve your guests kaffir and bay leaves as they are not edible.
3. You can add chicken or any type of protein on the bone you’d like to slow cook for extra flavor to the broth during the first step.
4. My recipe makes close to 4 dozen wontons, you don’t want to cook them all at once, as they bloat and become over cooked if sitting in the broth for too long. Cook about half in the soup and serve. Cook additional wonton as needed.
Putting together your perfect bowl:
1. Add cooked noodles to your bowl, followed by baby bok choy.
2. Ladle piping hot soup with fish balls and wontons over noodles.
3. Top with chili sauce, fried garlic pieces, black pepper and additional lime juice to taste.
I usually put out a bowl of lime wedges, fried garlic, chili sauce, black pepper, seasoning sauce (Golden Mountain is fiercely loved by Cambodians and our go-to ‘soy sauce‘) and sugar to let everyone customize their soup to taste. Although my family has stated that my soup tasted great and they only needed a bit for fried garlic and chili pepper for the perfect bowl (yayyy!!). I hope you enjoy my Khmer take on this Chinese classic, it’s really quite simple and honestly, the hardest part is waiting for the broth! Good luck ❤