Thursday, March 6, 2014

Swallowing Clouds

Plummy, salty sweet pork & cabbage filled wontons, floating in a chicken broth flavored with stir-fried cabbage, wilted & sweet, and peppery baby bok choy, then finished with beaten eggs, a drizzle of hoisin sauce and freshly chopped chives.

Want the recipe?
It’s at the bottom of this post.

Want the wine pair?
Next Thursday’s post will have all my food and wine pairing tips.

Want the beer pair?
It’ll be following the wine pair post, so be sure to check back.


Have you ever wondered what it’d be like to swallow a cloud?
Do you think it’d be smooth like velvet, tranquil and serene?
Or rather, violent and forceful,
Like the cut of a knife.

I imagine, those big, puffy clouds, so billowing and voluptuous,
Would probably go down gently, like the softest of whipped creams. 
While high flying cirrus, all feathery and wispy,
Would be brittle and crunchy, like freshly shaved ice.

But what would it taste like?
Would it have a special flavor, like the clean, fresh scent of a rainy day?
Or would it be sweet, like warm cotton candy,
Toasty and sugary, as it melts right away.

I'd never before pondered the tastes of the weather,
‘Till served Cantonese soup presented with a proud bow,
Full of dreamy creations that were there, hidden in it,
For in Canton a “wonton" means “to swallow a cloud."


Serves 4

¾ pound boneless country style pork strips
1½ cups cabbage (finely chopped)
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce, divided (Kikkoman brand – see below)*
12 won ton wrappers
1 large shallot (peeled, diced)
3 baby bok choy (cut crosswise into 6ths)
2 cans (14½ ounce each) low sodium chicken broth
3½ cups water
2 large eggs (beaten)
¼ cup fresh chives (chopped)
vegetable or canola oil

Slice the pork into bite-size pieces and marinate in 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce for 30 minutes.
Prepare the following ingredients in 4 separate bowls: cabbage, bok choy tops (leafy greens), bok choy bottoms and shallot.

Add 2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil to a large pot set over medium high heat.
When oil is hot (surface ripples), add the cabbage & stir-fry until nicely browned, then transfer to a separate bowl.  Repeat this process with the bok choy and shallot (cook bok choy tops & bottoms separately, till bright green), transferring them to a second bowl when finished.

Stir-fry the pork in two batches (drain, but reserve marinade), adding them to the cooked cabbage, then add the second tablespoon of hoisin sauce to the pork cabbage filling, mixing well to combine.

Add the broth and water to the now empty pot and while it heats, prepare wontons by filling each with the pork cabbage mixture.  Seal them closed with a dab of water around the edges, then set them aside.

When broth is boiling, add wontons and reserved marinade and cover and cook for 4 minutes.
Then, while broth continues to boil, slowly stir soup while adding the beaten eggs.
Return stir-fried vegetables and their juice to the pot.
Stir in the remaining tablespoon of hoisin sauce, add the chopped chives and serve immediately.

* I always use the Kikkoman brand of Hoisin Sauce because it contains plum purée, which gives the sauce a fruity, salty sweet flavor that pairs wonderfully with the stir-fried cabbage and pork.

Here’s a peek at what’s coming up next – 

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