Posted by: marthabernie | July 3, 2012

THIS WEEK’s EXPERIMENTAL RECIPE – Chinese Sweet and Sour Soup Plus Dumplings!

I am doing my usual early summer clean out of freezer and pantry, using up things which I don’t fancy needing in the next few months, and today I came across a package of frozen wontons from Trader Joe’s and a package of frozen Shumai dumplings.   I went to the Tupperware bin in which I keep soup and other mixes and found two packages of egg flower soup mix.  This was the start of what has turned out to be a decent batch of Chinese sweet and sour soup.  Here’s what I did.

I made the soup according to directions, using 5 cups of water in a large pot.   I did not add the egg, but of course, it wouldn’t hurt.  Instead, I threw in a can of chicken broth, two more cups of water, many shakes of black pepper, many shakes of white pepper, and about 2 tablespoons of Chinese 5 Spice herbs that comes in a jar in the spice section.  I let this simmer for awhile, then threw in some frozen peas and some chopped carrots.  I like the vegetables to take on the flavor of the broth, so I usually put them in early.

After tasting this concoction, I decided to go sweet and sour, adding about half a cup of Hoisin sauce and half a cup of sweet and sour sauce.  I simmered again, tasted again and then added more white and black pepper and about one quarter cup of rice vinegar.  Back to the simmer.  Once the broth tasted both sweet and sour,  I brought it to a boil, dropped in the frozen wontons and Shumai dumplings and brought it back to a boil.  The trick is not to cook the wontons and Shumai for long as they will eventually fall apart, although the broth does take on a little of the starch from the wontons  etc as they cook and it thickens up a little.

I use white pepper to give things a bit of a kick, and the vinegar of course adds the slightly sour taste.  If you are an experimental cook like me, you can season to your own taste.

Bon Appetit!

NOTE (7-7-12):  After forgetting a container of this soup in the refrigerator for the past six days, I reheated this afternoon and it was WONDERFUL!  I advise letting it sit in the refrigerator for at least a couple of days before serving.

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