I am a firm believer in keeping things simple and this Fennel Infused Mushroom Wonton Soup is simplicity in a bowl. Simple, however, doesn’t mean boring and this fennel infused, slightly peppery broth with delicate mushroom wontons is a little bit special.
This parenting business is a tricky trade. We have one child and each day is made up of parenting peaks (hi-5 for talking the Elf down from a toddler tantrum cliff) and lows (mea culpa for not explaining her fragile relationship with sugar to the babysitter). I am in eternal awe of parents with more than one small person; you are super heroes. Knowing full well I am not in the running for parent of the year, I make a point of not being judge and executioner when it comes to other’s parenting skills. We all have bad days where the parenting fairy-dust is in short supply and let’s be honest, kids are born with perfectly tuned sonar able to detect any and all weaknesses within the parental unit. They can be, dare I say it, a little bit scary. Beautiful, but…scary.
Preamble aside, I have to break with my philosophy for a moment. I have a really big bone to pick with a mother who will probably never read this but whose words have weighed on my heart for days. Earlier this week the Elf and I were returning from a walk in to the village and a long promised visit to the ice-cream shop. Eating ice-cream and walking is a tricky task for a three year-old so we were travelling at a dawdle; it wasn’t long before another mother and her daughter overtook us. The little girl looked to be around seven or eight. Overtaking us on a bend, she tripped and slid down a small embankment. It wasn’t a bad fall but I asked her if she was OK and before she could answer her mother responded, “Oh, she’s OK, she’s well-padded.” The smile the girl gifted the Elf and I with slid from her face and she cast her eyes downwards and I just wanted to cry for her. And slap her mother. There were looming tears and pending slappage.
Saying something would have made the girl’s embarrassment worse so I didn’t, but I will now. Mind your words. Mind the effect those tiny barbs have on a young self-esteem because your opinion of her is the one she will seek and strive for her whole life. You have a chance to break the cycle now before your opinion becomes her opinion and her daughters’ opinion…
Perhaps they are the words you yourself heard in your youth, when your sense of self was just blossoming, and if so, I am sorry. I am sorry your sense of self was marred so deeply. But, you are an adult now and have the chance to swing the pendulum the other way.
Be mindful. Be kind. Be gentle.
And I will try to not be so judgmental. Now, on to the soothing silence of folding wontons and the deliciousness that is fennel infused mushroom wonton soup.
Folding wontons, I have found, is a peaceful and satisfying exercise. It is a little bit of mindfulness right there in your kitchen. Particularly when you’ve got your knickers in a knot and need a moment to just…be. Folding wontons is clean and precise but not difficult and if that wasn’t enough, you get to eat them. Bonus. Thanks to the wonders of YouTube and a CicCi Li tutorial anyone can master the perfect wonton. I used the rectangle ingot fold here.
My fennel infused mushroom wonton soup combines simple and clean flavours to enhance the core ingredients; mushroom and fennel. The earthy mushrooms, lightly sautéed in garlic and ginger and tossed with crumbled tofu, work beautifully with the slight aniseed fennel flavoured broth. A dash of ground white pepper for a little heat and this wonton soup is well-rounded bowl of wonderful.
Recipe Note: When making wontons, make sure to press out any air bubbles when sealing the wonton wrappers. Air bubbles equal exploding wontons.
Fennel Infused Mushroom Wonton Soup
Simple Mushroom Wontons
- 16 vegan wonton wrappers
- 150 grams mixed mushrooms I used Swiss and mixed Asian mushrooms including shiitake and enoki, finely chopped. Keep the Asian and Swiss mushrooms separate
- 100 grams firm tofu crumbled
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 1/2 inch thumb of fresh ginger finely grated
- a pinch of sea salt
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
Fennel Infused Asian Broth
- 1 L vegetable stock
- 1 garlic clove smashed
- 6 thin slices fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- pinch sea salt
- a small pinch of ground white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 small fennel bulb approx 100 grams, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup Chinese cabbage sliced finely into ribbons
- To make the wonton filling, heat the vegetable oil in a large pan and add the chopped Swiss (or non-Asian variety) mushrooms and cook for two minutes.
- Add the crushed garlic and ginger and stir.
- Add the crumbed firm tofu breaking it up further as you stir.
- Add the remaining filling ingredients and cook for 30 seconds.
- Taste and season if needed.
- Carefully, pour the mixture in to a bowl to cool.
- When the mixture is coolish, place a single teaspoon of mixture in the centre of a wonton wrapper. Wet the edges of the wonton with a small amount of water and fold in to a rectangle with the opening facing away from you. Seal the edges by pressing down. Hold the two bottom corners of the rectangle and pull them gently together and pinch. See the link in the notes for a video tutorial.
- Finish the remaining wontons and set aside.
- To make the soup, bring the vegetable stock to a soft boil in a large saucepan. Add half the chopped fennel and all other ingredients except the remaining fennel, cabbage and sesame oil.
- Simmer the broth for ten minutes to infuse the flavours. Taste and season if needed. Add the sesame oil.
- Depending on the size of your soup pot add the wontons - in batches of four or five - to the broth and cook for around three minutes. Remove the wontons and place four at the bottom of each bowl. Continue to cook the remaining wontons.
- Add the remaining fennel and cabbage to the soup and cook for one minute before spooning a ladle over the wonton serves.
- Serve hot.