Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

January 19, 2022
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Fortune noodle meatball soup

Soup is the ultimate comfort food and this one is great on a cold winter day. It has meatballs, noodles, and a hot and sour broth. Wood ears are black fungi that grow on trees. Other members in this family are cloud ears and snow ears. With so many ears, trees must be great listeners!

2 oz. (60 g) dried wood ear mushrooms

3 oz. (90 g) fresh Chinese wheat noodles or dried spaghetti

1 lb. (500 g) ground meat

1 tbsp. (15 ml) cornstarch

2 tsp. (10 ml) sesame oil

2½ tsp. (12.5 ml) salt

½ tsp. (2.5 ml) ground white pepper

4 c. (1 L) canned or homemade chicken broth

3 tbsp. (45 ml) Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp. (30 ml) pickled mustard greens, diced

1 tsp. (5 ml) salt

pinch of ground white pepper

2 green onions, thinly sliced

3 sprigs cilantro, both leaves and stems, minced

1 tbsp. (15 ml) store-bought or homemade chili oil

In a bowl, soak the mushrooms in warm water to cover until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain. Thinly slice, discarding any hard parts, and set aside.

Bring a medium-sized pot filled with water to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles and cook according to package directions. Drain, rinse with warm water, drain again. Place in a bowl and cover to keep warm.

For the meatballs, put the meat, cornstarch, sesame oil, salt and pepper in a food processor and process to a smooth paste. Scoop mixture out into a medium bowl. With wet hands, roll into walnut-sized balls (about a heaping tablespoon for each ball). Arrange, without crowding, on a lightly greased plate.

In a medium pot, combine the broth and vinegar, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the meatballs and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until meatballs are cooked through, about 8 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and pickled greens, and simmer for 2 minutes more. Add the cooked noodles and cook, stirring, until noodles are heated through. Season to taste.

Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish each bowl with green onions, cilantro and chili oil, and serve. Makes 6 servings.

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