Chinese Meatball Soup with Cabbage
This tasty soup is from China and it is filling because of the meatballs and vegetables in there. Feel free to add more vegetables if you like, such as mushrooms or beansprouts, or simply make the recipe as it is. This is a rich and meaty soup made with beef stock and soy sauce, and the meatballs are made with ground beef, and seasoned with ginger, rice wine and soy sauce. It is worth keeping some chopped fresh ginger in the freezer. It keeps well in there and you can just take some out whenever you need it in a recipe.
When making this recipe, we prefer to brown the meatballs before adding them to the soup. This is not essential but it does bring out the flavor of the meat and also encourages the meatballs to hold together instead of falling apart, so the step is worth doing. This soup can be served with soy sauce on the side so people can add their own. Hoisin sauce would also work and also add a nice sweetness to the dish.
There are lots of different Chinese soup recipes including well-known ones like wonton soup or chicken and corn soup, but this one is really good because it is so meaty. If you wish to adapt it, you could use chicken stock instead of beef stock, or swap the ground beef for ground chicken or ground pork, for a slightly different end result.
- 8 cups beef stock
- ½ head Chinese cabbage
- ¼ grated carrot
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1 yellow onion
- Soy sauce, to taste
- Canola oil, as needed
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 lb ground beef
- 3 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 teaspoons fresh chopped ginger
- 1 tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- First make the meatballs.
- Knead the beef, water, cornstarch, ginger, rice wine and sherry, then shape into 1 inch balls.
- Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a pot and fry the meatballs until they are browned on the outside.
- Transfer them on to a plate and do not clean out the pot you use.
- Chop the cabbage and onion.
- Add another splash of oil to the pot you browned the meatballs in and stir-fry the cabbage and onion for a few minutes.
- Add the remaining soup ingredients and the meatballs.
- Cook gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add more broth if the soup is too thick or if the ingredients are not covered.
- Season to taste and serve hot.
This rich and meaty soup features vegetables as well as meatballs. You can make the meatballs large (like in the picture) or smaller, as you wish, but do brown them first so they hold together better. The soup is versatile and you can use whichever vegetables you want in there. Mushrooms, beansprouts, water chestnuts and bell pepper would all work, or you can stick with the Chinese cabbage (also known as Napa cabbage), onion and carrot if you prefer. This soup makes a nice lunch or evening meal, or you could serve smaller portions of it as an appetizer.
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