Chinese Meat Ball and Cabbage Soup

This is the favorite soup of my third daughter, Rachel. In fact, it's one of the first things she learned to cook on her own. The Asian flavors are a great change of pace in our generally Ashkenazi or European repertoire of soups. You can vary the number of mushrooms depending on your taste. It's a good idea to keep either fresh peeled ginger in the freezer or a jar of fresh, chopped ginger in the refrigerator for this type of dish. The recipe is an adaptation of one in a small, interesting cookbook, Chinese Cooking for Everyone, by Kyoko Ikeda.

Meat Ball Ingredients

Mix all ingredients except oil, and knead well. Form into 1 inch balls. Heat the canola oil in large pot. Fry meat balls until brown on outside. This frying step can be eliminated to cut down on time and oil, but the meat balls will not taste as good, and they won't hold together as well.

Soup Ingredients

Cut cabbage into large pieces. Chop onion. Heat 2 T. oil in the pot used for the meat balls (put meat balls on plate to wait). Stir-fry vegetables (cabbage, onion, mushrooms) until partly browned. Soak bean threads in warm water for 5 minutes. Pour remaining soup ingredients over vegetables, add meatballs and bean threads. If broth does not cover ingredients, add more broth, and heat for 30 minutes over low flame.

Serve this soup with additional soy sauce, hot pepper sauce, or hoisin sauce on the side.

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