I love oyster mushrooms for their elegance, silkiness and buttery quality, but never splurge on them because they are obscenely expensive at Whole Foods. So when I spotted some comparably cheap and fresh oyster mushrooms in Chinatown this past week, I picked up a ton of them. Because oyster mushrooms rarely make their way into my kitchen, I wanted to try to use them in a unique way, applying a method I’ve never tried before, and the word wonton somehow surfaced in my brain. A soup suddenly became a good idea, and just right for the mid-50s weather we had in Boston on Saturday. Making these wontons turned out to be a great way to encase the oyster mushrooms and this savory and slightly tangy lemongrass broth perfectly complimented their flavor and texture.
OYSTER MUSHROOM WONTON AND LEMONGRASS SOUP
Yield 4 servings
for the wontons
- 4 cups oyster mushroom caps, roughly chopped (reserve the inedible tough stems for making stock later)
- 2 TB Earth Balance
- vegan wonton wrappersfor the broth
- small piece of ginger, about the size of your thumb, cut into thin, matchstick-sized pieces
- 5-6 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 4-6 cups of homemade stock
- 4-6 lemongrass stalks, hearts removed and chopped
- 1-2 frozen cubes of vegan fish sauce (optional)
- 2 TB soy sauce
- 1 TB sugar
- chopped green onions, for serving
To make the wonton filling
- Saute the mushroom caps in the vegan butter for a few minutes over medium heat. Place the mushrooms over a strainer and press on it to drain most of the moisture out. When you are ready to assemble the wontons, follow these seven steps for folding wonton dumplings.
To make the broth
- Start by gently sauteing the ginger, garlic and lemongrass hearts in a bit of oil in a medium-sized sauce pan for about 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Add in the stock, hollow lemongrass husks, vegan fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar. Stir well and allow to simmer over the lowest heat possible for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove and discard the lemongrass husks and increase the heat to medium. Once it is at a very low boil, drop in the wonton dumplings, making sure not to overcrowd the saucepan with them. If the boil increases at all, dial down the heat a bit to ensure the boil stays consistent. After three to four minutes, remove the dumplings and place them in serving bowls.
- Repeat the process until the dumplings have been prepared, then ladle the hot soup over them.
- Sprinkle with the green onion and serve immediately.