The Reluctant Gourmet receives a lot of questions via email. Some of them I can answer right away, and others I rely on the help of some of my chef friends for answers. Remember, I am by no means a professional chef. I'm called "Reluctant" for a good reason, but I promise that if I can, I will find answers for you.
I often save the baking-related questions for my friend, Pastry Chef Jenni Field, so here is a round-up of the most recent baking and pastry-related questions and answers. Thanks, Chef Jenni!
How do you keep the Wontons from getting mushy In Wonton Soup
Hello. I made wonton soup for the first time the other day and was very pleased with the way it turned out -- with ONE exception. The wontons were a little mushy. Now wonton soup you get at a Chinese restaurant has the wontons, of course, but they are rather stiff. If you have leftovers, you can put them in the refrigerator and they do not get mushy. I realize that cooking time is a factor (I boiled mine), but I'm wondering if a restaurant would use a different kind of wonton wrapper that keeps the wontons from getting mushy. Thanks in advance for your opinion.
From Chef Jenni Field
Wow, Chuck. This is a really good question, and using a different wrapper than is available to home cooks is often an answer that lots of people don't even consider. I would hazard a guess, though--and this is just a guess--that the wontons are steamed until just-tender and then added to the soup at service. Otherwise, I'd bet that even the most sturdy wrappers would get mushy as the starch granules swell and swell and then finally burst, giving a mushy texture.
If I were you, I would try the same thing. Set up a steamer, either a bamboo steamer/wok combination, one of those collapsible steamer inserts or even just a rack that would suspend the wontons over, not in, boiling water.
If you don't want to get out a bunch of other pots, consider boiling the wontons in salted water until just barely done, so the wrapper is still a little al dente, as it were, then place them in bowls and ladle boiling hot broth over them. The hot broth should finish cooking them until perfect doneness.
As to leftovers, I would only boil what I need and keep any extras frozen until the next time you make the dish.
I hope this answer helps.