Frozen dumplings are one of my freezer secret weapons. They can be a hearty snack, a quick appetizer when friends drop by, or even the star of a dinner stir-fry. Whether they’re little Japanese gyoza or Chinese pot stickers, all are welcome freezer staples to me.
Now how about giving them the soup treatment? This sour-spicy soup, inspired by Thai tom kha gai soup, combines broth with creamy coconut milk, lots of ginger and lime zest for zing, pepper flakes for spiciness, frozen dumplings, and veggies for a soup hearty enough to be a full meal when that wonton soup craving hits. Oh, and it comes together in just about 15 minutes!
Instead of using lemongrass and tiny Thai chiles, which can be harder to find, lots of freshly grated lime zest and red pepper flakes help infuse store-bought chicken broth with flavor. Lime juice is added at the end to add the signature sour note.
Snow peas add color and crunch, but you can use sugar snaps or even green beans instead. Mushrooms are also delicious when they’ve simmered and soaked up the broth, and the dumplings are cooked right in the broth too so that they’re more flavorful and you don’t have to dirty another pot.
When choosing your frozen dumplings at the store, pay attention to the nutritional information. Some brands and varieties are high in fat and sodium, so shop smart and choose dumplings that fit your dietary needs.
Keep this soup up your sleeve for those harried nights, when you need a quick and healthy alternative to takeout. It’s as good as any soup you can pick up at your neighborhood Thai or Chinese restaurant.
Last-minute spicy coconut wonton soup
Serves: 6 (makes almost 3 quarts)
6 cups (48 ounces) low-sodium chicken broth
5 (¼-inch-thick) slices fresh ginger, smashed
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest (from 1 medium lime)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (13- to 14-ounce) can coconut milk
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
12 ounces frozen Asian dumplings, such as wontons, pot stickers, or gyoza
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced ½ inch
4 ounces snow peas
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from 1 medium lime)
Coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)
Place the broth, ginger, zest, salt and pepper flakes in a 4-quart or larger saucepan or pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes for the flavors to infuse.
Add the coconut milk, fish sauce and sugar, and bring back to a simmer uncovered. Add the dumplings, mushrooms and snow peas, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the dumplings are cooked through according to package directions.
Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Taste and season with more salt, fish sauce, pepper flakes or lime juice as needed. Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro if desired.
Recipe notes: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. The soup may separate when chilled. Reheat gently and stir to recombine.