Wednesday, June 9, 2010

To follow the recipe or not? That is the question!

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
fresh noodles
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.


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