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[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

You know those recipe variations occasionally tossed off at the bottom of the page in some cookbooks? I rarely pay attention to them, because they're often very vague and short. But something grabbed me while flipping through Fuchsia Dunlop's Land of Plenty. I was honestly just looking for a dipping sauce for some frozen dumplings, when I noticed this simple soup under a recipe for homemade wontons. To be sure, I was still going to use my frozen dumplings, but now I had a full meal on my hands, not just a snack.

What I love about this is that the setup couldn't be much simpler. Add stock, some pantry staples, scallions, dump in steamed dumplings, and that's dinner. It's part dipping sauce, part soup. Because I had them around, I added some shiitake mushrooms, but going with the spirit of the original recipe, the addition is optional.

About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is the editor of Serious Eats: Chicago. He loves tacos and spicy food. You can follow him as @nickdk on Twitter.

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