If you’re a lover of spicy (perhaps fiery) Asian dishes and soups alike, you’ve just met your new best friend. When my partner Richard and I were visiting my friend Drew in Vancouver in 2019, he took us to this amazing dumpling house that’s since closed. They had the most AMAZING spicy dumpling soup there and I still talk about it. Perfect for those chilly months, this soup also clears up your sinuses! Now, this is definitely a spicier soup BUT in Jeff’s Tips in the recipe card below, I specify how to cut down on it or omit it completely (as well as a few other key tips you’ll want to pay attention to).
- 1/2 cup chili oil, divided (see Jeff's Tips)
- 5-10 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms (you can also use up to 1 pound of sliced white or baby bella mushrooms. See Jeff’s Tips if you don’t do mushrooms)
- 1 tablespoon ginger, minced or crushed (I use Squeeze Ginger)
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 6 cups vegetable broth (see Jeff's Tips)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (I use low-sodium), tamari or coconut aminos
- 1 teaspoon white pepper (optional)
- 1 (16-ounce) can bamboo shoots, drained (optional)
- 1 - 1 1/2 pounds frozen wontons, dumplings (or "potstickers") with fillings your choice (you can find these in the frozen section at most markets, Asian markets or Costco - I like to use a mini size but any size will do. See Jeff's Tips)
- 8-10 ounces baby spinach
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch + 3 tablespoons cold water (See Jeff's Tips)
- 1/3 cup chili garlic sauce OR sriracha (both are usually in the same section of your market)
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1 bunch scallions, sliced and divided
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (I used half black and half regular)
- Add 1/4 cup of the chili oil to the Instant Pot. Hit Sauté and Adjust so it's on the More or High Setting. After 3 minutes of heating, add the mushrooms and ginger and sauté for 3 minutes.
- Add the rice vinegar and be sure to deglaze all the sticky browned bits caused by the mushrooms. Follow with the broth, soy sauce, white pepper (if using), bamboo shoots (if using) and frozen wontons or dumplings (See Jeff's Tips). Top with the spinach but do not stir. Secure the lid, hit Cancel and then hit Pressure Cook or Manual at High Pressure for 1 minute. Quick release when done.
- Meanwhile, mix together the cornstarch and water to form a slurry. Hit Cancel followed by Sauté and Adjust so it's on the More or High Setting. Once bubbling, stir in the slurry for 30 seconds and then kill the heat. The soup will have thickened-up nicely.
- Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup of chili oil, chili garlic sauce (or sriracha), sesame oil, hoisin sauce, scallions and sesame seeds.
- Ladle into bowls and top with more sesame seeds and scallions, if desired.
NOTE: READ JEFF'S TIPS BEFORE BEGINNING THIS RECIPE FOR SPICE ADJUSTMENTS!
This recipe, as written, is going to give you a 7-8 out of 10 in terms of spice factor. It is a pretty serious soup and will be the perfect remedy to a cold night or spicy craving! But since that's not everyone's bag, I've provided some options to make this friendly for all!
- If you don't want this soup spicy at all, leave out the chili oil, white pepper and chili garlic sauce. Instead, up the sesame oil to 6 tablespoons total. Add 4 tablespoons in Step 1 while sautéing the mushrooms and then add the remaining 2 tablespoons in Step 4.
- If you still want the soup spicy but prefer it less spicy, we'll reduce the chili oil and chili garlic sauce (or sriracha). Follow Steps 1 and 2 as is but taste the soup after it's done in Step 2. If you feel you want more spice but also have it not be super intense, start with 1 additional tablespoon of the chili oil and 1 tablespoon of the chili garlic sauce (or sriracha). From there, you can continue to add more of each spice by the tablespoon.
- If you don’t want mushrooms, just leave them out. Skip Step 1 and add the first 1/4 cup of chili oil along with the ginger and rice vinegar in Step 2 with the broth (or, if you don't want it spicy, omit the chili oil, white pepper and chili garlic sauce or sriracha - or follow the previous tip for it to just be less spicy).
- The 3:3 cornstarch slurry makes for a nice, thick soup as written. But should you wish it to be thinner, you can start with 1-2 tablespoons of a slurry instead.
- The longer the dumplings/wontons sit in the soup, the more they'll absorb the broth. This won't be an issue if serving the full pot at once. But if you plan on having leftovers, you can always add 1-2 cups more vegetable broth when reheating as well as adding additional chili oil and/or chili garlic sauce to compensate for the additional liquid. To that point, you can also have more control of your broth absorption by adding the exact amount of wontons/dumplings you wish to eat right away and having them bubble with the slurry in Step 3 for about 5 minutes until they're cooked. From there, store the remaining wonton/dumpling-free soup as is for leftovers with no worries about absorption! NOTE: Dumplings or "potstickers" (I hate that term by the way) tend to have thicker skins than wontons and remain pretty firm under pressure. Therefore, if using wontons instead of dumplings, they will likely be quite soft, delicate and melt-in-your-mouth if pressure cooked as written. If you prefer your wontons firmer and more al dente, waiting until adding them in Step 3 for 5 minutes will ensure this. Of course, you can also just boil or pan-fry them in some oil of your choice separately and add them to the soup at the end (if you don't mind the extra pan and work).