Friday, October 30, 2009

Lion's Head Meatball Soup

This soup gets its name from the dubious observation that the meatballs look like a lion's face and the greens look like its mane. I don't see it, but it's a pretty badass name. It's also a pretty badass soup and easy to make. I based my recipe on this one at Melting Wok, which includes Spam in the meatballs. This is optional, but highly recommended, as it gives a nice texture and smoky flavor. You can use various greens in the soup. Napa cabbage is traditional, but you can also use mustard greens or baby bok choy.


Meatballs:
1 lb. lean ground pork
1 can Spam
1 egg
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 shiitake mushrooms, chopped very fine
1-2 Tbsp. ginger, minced
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. oyster sauce
3 green onions, minced
1 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry

Combine all ingredients, making sure to break up the Spam completely. Form into meatballs and set aside. Traditionally these are served with one giant meatball in each bowl, but I think it's easier to eat if you make them as smaller meatballs.

Soup:
2 qt. water or broth
1 large handful Chinese or regular celery, chopped
2 large handfuls of leafy greens or Napa cabbage, slivered if necessary
1/2 red onion, in thin slivers
2 green onions, sliced into rounds for garnish
1 Tbsp. light vinegar
1-2 tsp. dashi granules

Bring the water or broth to a boil and add the dashi granules to make a flavorful broth. Add the meatballs gently so that they don't break apart or stick to the bottom of the pot and simmer them for 8-10 minutes (smaller meatballs need less time).

Add the celery and simmer for 5 more minutes. Add the red onion and leafy greens and simmer for 2-3 more minutes until the greens are just cooked. Add the vinegar and adjust the seasoning with more salt, if necessary. Garnish with green onions and serve. You can also add noodles if you like.

1 comment:

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