Soup of the Week: Pot Sticker Soup

Craving pot stickers, but don’t want to deal with the fiddliness of makin’ em and can’t be arsed to order in? Make this soup instead.

See notes below about mushrooms and that wack-a-doo tea bag.

This recipe makes six meal-sized servings.

What you need:

  • 1 lb pork loin, tenderized and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tbsp light soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1 inch chunk of fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, halved and sliced in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 celery stalk, halved and sliced in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 liters of cold water
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 1 cup black mushroom, finely sliced
  • 2 tsp 5 spice powder or 1 Bengal spice tea bag
  • 2 cups green cabbage, shredded
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • Soya sauce to taste
  • White pepper to taste
  • 1 lb medium-width rice noodles
  • 1 bunch green onions/scallions, finely sliced

What you do:

  1. Cut your pork loin down to manageable chunks and tenderize with a meat mallet.
  2. Cut the tenderized loin bits down to bite-sized pieces and marinate in the light soya sauce for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Make the noodles according to package instructions and reserve.
  4. Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the oil, onion, garlic and ginger.
  5. Cook until the onion is translucent and add the pork.
  6. Cook the pork until browned and add the carrots, celery, water and spice blend/tea bag.
  7. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes
  8. Reduce heat back to medium and add mushrooms, cabbage, fish sauce, sesame oil, soya sauce and pepper.
  9. Let simmer for about 10 minutes.
  10. Taste test and adjust seasonings accordingly. I like to season modestly and let eaters adjust with additional soya sauce to their preference. There’s always room for more pepper, though.
  11. If you’ve used the tea bag, remove it.
  12. Place a handful of noodles in the bottom of each bowl, ladle hot soup into each and sprinkle with sliced scallions
  13. Serve with soya sauce and hot sauce as condiments.

About the mushrooms: I tend to almost always have packages of dried shiitake and black mushrooms on hand,  so I use those and reconstitute them before adding to soups and such. Generally speaking, 2/3 of a cup of dried mushrooms comes out to about 1 cup once they’re reconstituted. That’s an imprecise measurement, I know, but it’s ok because this is soup we’re talking about, not a cake.

Also note that dried mushrooms tend to have a much more intense flavour than their fresh counterparts. You may consider using a bit more mushrooms.

Other also, fresh black mushrooms are kinda slimy.

Black mushrooms are sold by a buncha different names: wood ear, cloud ear, tree ear, ear ear, black fungus, and more. They’re so worth tracking down and having in the pantry for all manner of things (I like to make a pizza with just pesto, black mushroom and mozza). When in doubt, ask your grocer. They always have them in stock, but kinda hidden at my local Asian grocer’s. They typically come shredded.

About the tea: Tossing a bag of Bengal Spice tea into brothy things is one of my favourite soup hacks. Add it and some chopped veg to your next bowl of 39 cent ramen and you’ll see what I’m talking about. I’m not going to claim that the flavours of the tea and the five spice powder are interchangeable, but they both make really great additions to this soup. Resist the urge to use a full-on chai tea because any leftovers will get bitter due to the tannins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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