Canh Bi Do (Pumpkin Wonton Soup Recipe)
The Vietnamese pumpkin has a naturally sweet creaminess. If it's cooked properly the skin is also edible and adds a wonderful texture. To make the dish into a complete meal, I add fried tofu for protein and wheat germ, fried onion and shiitake mushroom for extra flavor. The rest is a simple broth so as not to overpower the flavorful pumpkin wontons.
Yields: 8 servings1 (1-pound) package square thin wonton wraps
½ pumpkin with its skin, diced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ (19-ounce) package firm tofu
2 tablespoons wheat germ
2 cloves garlic, freshly grated
8 shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
1 (10.5 ounce) can low-sodium vegetarian broth
2 teaspoons mushroom seasoning salt (or regular salt)
1½ teaspoons rock sugar (or granulated sugar)
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
¼ cup green onions, cut into 1" pieces
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
Preparing the tofu: Cut the tofu into 1¼-inch slices. In a wok, heat the oil. Pan-fry the slices on both sides until golden. The tofu should have a nice fried outer crust and still be moist inside. Using a spatula, cut the slices in half crosswise and pan-fry the sides until golden. Transfer the tofu onto paper towels. Sprinkle with mushroom seasoning salt. Let cool for 10 minutes, then finely cut into shreds. Set the tofu aside.
Frying the onions: Heat the canola oil in a small pan. Fry the onions in the oil, stirring frequently to prevent the onion from burning, until the color is evenly golden brown. Reserve the oil. Drain the onions on paper towels. Set aside.
Cooking the pumpkin: Fill a pot with 3 cups water. Add the pumpkin (you'll have about 3 cups). Bring to a boil, then cook for about 15 minutes until softened. Remove the pumpkin and let cool, leaving the liquid in the pot.
Seasoning the broth: Add the vegetarian broth to the liquid in the pot. Add sugar (the amount of sugar varies with the natural sweetness of the pumpkin), fried onions and soy sauce. Lower the heat to medium-low until you're ready to serve.
For the filling: In a small pan, add more oil if necessary. Add the grated garlic; cook until fragrant. Add the chopped mushrooms and the green onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Season with mushroom seasoning salt and pepper. Allow to cool a little. Transfer to a food processor. Add the fried tofu, wheat germ and pumpkin pieces. Pulse until creamy. Add cilantro. Transfer to a bowl and let cool until you're ready to wrap.
How to wrap wontons (this is one method; there are a dozen other ways of forming these dumplings): Fill a small bowl with cold water. Moisten your finger with a little water then, holding a wonton wrap in the other hand, brush the edges of the wonton. Place about 2½ teaspoons of the wonton filling in the center of the wrap. Fold in half, forming a half moon. Seal the wonton by forming small pleats along the edge and pinching firmly. I made 56 dumplings with 1 pound of wonton wrap. Repeat until all the ingredients are used.
Boiling the wontons: Fill a pot with cold water. Bring to a boil. Place 7-8 wontons at a time in the pot. Bring back to a full boil and cook for about 3-4 minutes until the wonton skin is just cooked through. Meanwhile, re-heat the vegetarian broth.
Bring the broth back to a boil. Add black pepper and drizzle with sesame oil.
Drain the wontons from the other pot using a slotted spoon, immediately transfer to a bowl and cover the wontons with the hot broth.
Note: Count about 7 dumplings per person.
I used Bob's Red Mill brand wheat germ.
You could replace the bí đỏ with regular pumpkin (but without the skin), butternut squash or sweet potato. However, the texture of bí đỏ is a lot drier and starchier.
Mushroom seasoning salt brings a very distinct, earthy flavor to the broth. You can find it at gourmet specialty stores or in most Korean stores. I buy mine at Marina Foods -10122 Bandley Drive -Cupertino, CA 95014.
I used Golden Gate brand tofu but you could use any other kind of tofu, just make sure to look for the firm variety.
You can find wonton wraps in the fresh section of Asian stores and sometimes in the fresh produce aisle of many supermarkets such as Safeway. I buy mine at Ranch 99 market. My favorite brand is New Hong Kong Noodle Company (this same brand is also excellent for thin egg noodles).Published By: on May 30, 2013.