Chicken Dumpling Soup, Japanese-Style

This dish makes a tasty and filling soup for a lunch, or it can be expanded into a rich dinner meal if you serve it over rice or noodles.  In the picture of the soup below, the mushrooms are enoki, and the bowl includes a small amount of rice vermicilli.

Tasty and filling chicken dumpling soup

Tasty and filling chicken dumpling soup

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This dish cooks very quickly so you should prepare the three separate elements of the soup in advance:

  1. The broth
  2. The dumplings
  3. The vegetables

Creating the Broth

  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • ¼ cup soy sauce made without wheat
  • 1 ½ tbsp. sherry, mirin, or sake

Mix together stock, soy sauce, and sherry, mirin, or sake into large pot. 

Preparing the chicken dumplings

  • 1 lb. chicken breast, either ground or skinned, boned, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp. minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp. miso (for helpful information about this ingredient, click here)
  • ¼ cup liquid egg substitute
  • ¼ chopped scallions

Place chicken, ginger, miso, egg substitute, and scallions in a food processor bowl.  Mix until the mixture becomes a coarse paste.  Form dumplings by gently rolling chicken mixture in cupped hands to create 20-24 dumplings, approximately 1” in diameter.

 Chopping the vegetables

  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced at an angle
  • ½ lb. daikon, cut into sticks approximately 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 cups mushroom, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup bok choy, sliced

Cooking Directions 

  1. Bring broth to a boil and then reduce to a lively simmer.
  2. Drop 6-8 dumplings (depends on size of your pot) into the simmering broth. 
  3. When dumplings pop up to the surface they are cooked (approximately 3 minutes). 
  4. Remove to a plate with a slotted spoon.
  5. Continue dropping, cooking, and removing dumplings until you have used up all of the meat mixture. 
  6. Leave dumplings on the plate.
  7. Add vegetables to broth and bring to a boil.  Then reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  8. Return chicken dumplings to broth.

For Weight Watchers: Points depend on how many dumplings you make and eat. Here’s the best way to calculate your points.

  • Each ounce of chicken is worth 1 point. 
  • 1 lb. of chicken is 16 points. 
  • If you make 24 dumplings, each dumpling is worth roughly .75 points. # 
  • If you eat 6 dumplings for a serving, then that serving is worth 4.5 points in both the Points plan and the PointsPlus plan.
  • Remember to count in the rice or noodles if you include either of them.

#Why “roughly?” Because the actual point count is .666 which is difficult to work with when adding up points for the day.  I’ve rounded each dumpling up to .75 points to make for easier counting and also to cover the points in the egg substitute, miso, and sherry which are spread throughout the dish. 

(Adapted from “Sumo Wrestler Hot Pot” in Japanese Hot Pots by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat and “Japanese Chicken Soup” in Ontario Chicken: Food for Living by Chicken Farmers of Ontario.)

 

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Odd Couple Soup: Chickpeas and Swiss Chard

They said I wouldn't like chickpeas, but I do!

They said I wouldn't like chickpeas, but I do!

Chickpeas and swiss chard…who knew?  They seemed like an odd couple to me, but this soup pulls it off.  It’s rich, hearty, healthy, and adapted here to be low-calorie as well.

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Sautéeing Tip: Most recipes sauté onions, garlic, and other spices in oil to release their flavour and enrich the soup.  My replacement is 2 tbsp. of powdered chicken broth and ½ cup of water.  I heat this to medium high and then add the onions, garlic, etc.  The mixture will thicken as it cooks so I add water as needed to avoid burning. 

 Note: I don’t count this sautéing mixture towards the quantity of broth required.

 Makes six 1 cup servings

 Ingredients

  •  1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp. Tomato paste
  • 2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas
  • 1 bunch (8 cups) Swiss chard leaves, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 

Directions

  1. Saute onion and garlic in broth mixture (see tip above) until onion is soft.
  2. Add chicken broth, tomato paste, and chickpeas.
  3. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in Swiss chard.
  6. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
  7. Salt to taste.
  8. Remove 2 cups of the soup and puree it in a food processor or with a hand blender.
  9. Return the puree to the pot and mix in well.

 For Weight Watchers: 2 points per 1 cup serving on the Points plan and 3 points per 1 cup serving on the PointsPlus plan.

(This recipe is adapted from one posted on the blog, Tales from a Veggie Kitchen.)

So Very Vegetable Soup

The Diet Equation: vegetables + vegetables + vegetables 

 The Solution: soup + soup + soup

 

So Very Vegetable Soup with Grated Sheep Romano

So Very Vegetable Soup with Grated Sheep Romano

So Very Vegetable Soup was my first soup creation and, after some tweaking, I pronounced it good—tasty, satisfying, and filled with different textures because some ingredients are crunchy while others are softer.  Then it turned out to be extra-good when I added a dollop of goat cheese or a sprinkling of sheep romano cheese to a serving. 

This soup is easy to make (except for lots of chopping), is foolproof (except if overcooked), and has so much fiber, you don’t have to worry about the carbs.  You can eat all you want with no weighing or measuring.  Or you can enrich the soup by adding potatoes, peas or legumes. A can of lentils, in particular, really enhance the taste.  But remember: additions like this will bring you back into the world of diet calculations.

So Very Vegetable Soup + Lentils

So Very Vegetable Soup + Lentils

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Caveat culinaria/us: The vegetable quantities below are rough estimates because I take an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach and just put in what I have.  You can add more of one vegetable and less of another, but you should aim for balance.  For example, too many carrots could make the soup too carroty and too sweet.

Basic Ingredients

  •  3-5 cups of chicken stock, broth, or bouillon to barely cover the vegetables.  The amount really depends on how many vegetables you’ve added.
  • 1-2 onion(s), chopped.  Any type will do.
  • Garlic to taste.  I add 2 tbsp. of chopped garlic.
  • 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • ¼ – ½ head of cabbage, chopped to bite-size pieces
  • 1-2 tsp. of a spice that appeals to you.  I find that parsley, thyme or basil works nicely.
  • Salt to taste. 

Other Vegetables You Can Add

  • 2-4 celery stalks, sliced.  You can leave on the leaves as well.
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and sliced 
  • 2-4 green zucchini, sliced
  • 2-4 yellow zucchini, sliced (Add halfway through cooking so this vegetable survives.)
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup turnip or rutabaga, diced
  • 1 cup daikon or lo bok, diced
  • 1-2 cups bok choy, chopped

Problematic Vegetables

  • Beets may overpower the taste of other vegetables, not to mention the colour of the soup.
  • Mushrooms give off a liquid when cooking that could alter the balance of the soup.  I suggest mild mushrooms such as enoki.
  • Spinach, because of its consistency, would have to be cooked separately, chopped, and added at the end.

 Directions

  1. Chop vegetables beforehand.
  2. Turn heat under a large pot to high.
  3. Add 1 cup of the chicken broth.
  4. Add garlic, onions, and all other vegetables.
  5. Add canned tomatoes and mix well.
  6. Add more chicken broth until vegetables are barely covered.  You want the soup to be chock-full of vegetables.
  7. Add spice(s).
  8. Bring soup to boil, then turn down heat until it is simmering.
  9. Taste to see if you need to add salt.  Start with 1 tbsp. and then taste, and so on.  My salt philosophy is to cook with it sparingly and let people add their own after being served.
  10. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

For Weight Watchers: 0 points on both the Points and PointsPlus plan.  If you’re dieting under the Points plan, you don’t have to worry about carrots or parsnip unless you plan to eat all the soup in one sitting!  The  quantity of soup will be so great that any individual bowl serving won’t have enough of either to count.