Ying's ideas of easy Chinese home-cooking

Asian Style Beef Meatballs and Radish Soup

蘿蔔牛肉丸湯

It’s the end of the year. My pal has been very busy and arrives home late at night. I am on a diet so I would try to have dinner as early as possible. Thus I would prepare meals in one pot. Meat and vegetable in one pot, sometimes with soup, sometimes in gravy. A big pot can serve two even for the lunchbox or breakfast the other day.

Root vegetable is particularly flavourful in winter. In this recipe, I use carrot, green radish and white radish. Carrot and green radish are two of the most commonly-used Cantonese soup ingredients and are suitable for most people in any body condition and in any season. White radish is seasonal in winter and is sweeter and juicier. Cantonese believe beef and radish are balanced food combination. The key ingredients are simple, radishes and ground beef. For a more flavourful soup base, I adapt the Japanese soup technique – anchovies, kelp, dry shiitake and ginger for broth.

This soup is clear and full of flavour. It takes less than one hour preparing and simmering. I like to eat with steamed rice, just mix them together and let the rice absorb the lovey soup. Or for a quick and warm winter breakfast, reheat the soup and poach some noodles or udon.

Key ingredients –
 Chinese white radish/daikon, half
 Radish, 1
 Chinese green radish, 1
 Korean tofu, 1

Beef meatballs –
 Ground beef, 300g
 Egg, 1
 Light soy sauce, 1tbsp;
 Sugar, half tsp
 Ground black pepper, half tsp
 Cornstarch/flour, 1tbsp

Broth –
 Dry anchovies, 10g
 Kelp, 10g
 Dry shiitake stems/dry shiitake mushrooms, 10g
 Ginger, 20g
 Light soy sauce, 4tbsp
 Mirin, 4tbsp

How to do –
1. In a big mixing bowl, ground beef and all seasoning ingredients, with a mixing spoon or chopstick, stir in one direction for about 100 times;

2. Tofu cut to cubes; radish peeled and cut to big chunks;

3. Heat some oil in hot pan and pan-fry tofu in medium high heat till golden;

4. About 1tbsp of ground beef for 1 meatball, bite size, casually squeeze in palm for irregular shape or roll to ball. Also pan-fry till set and golden brown;

5. Now let’s make the soup. Ginger slices, kelp, anchovies, shiitake stems at soup pot bottom, or put them in small soup pocket; then radish, tofu and meatball; 4tbsp of light soy sauce or mirin for seasoning; add water till ingredients mostly covered, radish would release quite a lot of juice when cooking;

6. Lid on, bring to boil then simmer in medium low heat for half an hour.

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