Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Chinese Lion's Head Soup

Developed November, 2015 from an online recipe. Simple, fast, cheap, and so satisfying on a chilly night. Plump, flavorsome meat balls simmer in a light cabbage stock along with rice noodle squares. A one-pot supper ready in about 45 minutes.

1 lb (450 g) ground pork
1 large egg
2 T (30 ml) cornstarch
2 t (10 ml) dark sesame oil
1 T (15 ml) finely-minced fresh ginger root
1 t (5 ml) finely-minced garlic
1 t (5 ml) fish sauce
2 t (10 ml) salt
1 green onion, finely chopped
3 T (50 ml) vegetable oil
1-1/2 lb (700 g) napa cabbage
2 t (5 ml) ground mustard
4 T (60 ml) low-salt chicken concentrate (Better Than Bouillon™ is good) 
6 c (1.5 L) hot water
1 T (15 ml) soy sauce
4 oz (115 g) rice noodle squares, soaked in hot water until softened
2 t (10 ml) dark sesame oil
2 green onions, sliced across
Mix the meatball ingredients in a bowl using a wooden spoon in one direction until smooth and sticky. Chill for 30 minutes to firm up the meat mixture. Separate the cabbage into leaves, trim off tough bottoms, cut in half lengthwise and then across yielding eight pieces. Place noodles in a bowl, cover with hot tap water, and drain after 15 minutes. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy six-quart saucepan on medium-high. When the oil shimmers, add the cabbage, stirring frequently, until cabbage is softened but not browned, about five minutes.  Add the hot water, the chicken concentrate, mustard powder, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a fast simmer. Using a spoon and wet hands gently form 1 inch balls and drop them into the boiling soup, one by one. After adding the last ball, cover and simmer for five minutes. Stir in the drained rice noodles, replace cover and continue gentle cooking for another five minutes. Add salt according to taste, garnish with green onion, and drizzle on a little sesame oil. Serves four generously.