For many people who are not confident in the kitchen, recipes are life lines.
For me, the fun starts when I can experiment, and hopefully, improve upon a recipe.
What is there to be lost? What's the worst that can happen?? A bad dish. Nothing more.
A few days ago, I became obsessed with a recipe from my Noodles cookbook. It was for a Chinese soup made with homemade chicken broth infused with scallion and ginger. It had noodles and pork balls. I was intrigued by the pork balls. But I was dissatisfied with the fact that the soup had no vegetables. I like one-pot meals and felt that this recipe could be perfect with the addition of some veggies.
So I played with it. Cooking for years has given me a flavor for the types of ingredients that combine well. I added baby bok choy, oyster mushrooms and carrots to this soup recipe. The result was very, very good!
Here it is:
1. If you have the energy to make homemade chicken stock, then more power to you. I cheated and used canned stock, but infused it with fresh ginger and scallion.
10 oz. minced pork
3 scallions, finely chopped
6 oz. Chinese cabbage
1.5 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine
7- 8 oyster mushrooms
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
2 cups of baby bok choy
1 tablespoon of shredded ginger
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 cup of cilantro
Heat the oils together and saute the ginger and garlic, until the garlic begins to turn brown. Set aside.
Shred the cabbage and boil for 2 minutes. Drain and squeeze the remaining water out of it. Pat dry with a towel.
In a bowl, combine the pork, scallions, cornstarch, rice wine, cabbage and cilantro. Put in the fridge and chill for one hour. Then shape into 22 meatballs, using about 1 tablespoon of the mixture for each one.
In the meantime, boil water and then put the fresh noodles in for 1 minute until soft. Drain.
Saute the baby bok choy, oyster mushrooms and carrots together in 2 tsp. of sesame oil.
Heat 6 cups of chicken stock infused with several slices of ginger and 3 scallions. Bring to a boil. Add the meatballs, cover and cook over low-medium heat until they rise to the top and are cooked.
Put noodles in each bowl. Add a spoonful of the bok choy/carots/mushrooms, a few meatballs and chicken stock. Garnish with chopped scallion and chopped cilantro.