Tender and springy meatballs cooked in tomato and shiitake soup. This chicken meatball noodle soup is super tasty, filling and healthy.
I love minced meat for its versatility. It’s the major component of dumplings, potstickers and steamed (or pan-fried) buns. It’s also used as noodle topping or to add that X-factor to stir-fries, etc. Yesterday I used minced chicken breast to make meatballs, cooked in tomato and shiitake soup, accompanied by noodles. It was very satisfying!
When I was a postgraduate student in England, I learned how to make tender, springy meatballs from my roommate Libby. Ever since then I think of her every time I cook meatballs. She told me that using egg white and corn starch is the key to success. They help the mince to combine as well as to stay moist and tender. She also advised to swirl the mince constantly in the same direction. This will give meatballs a springy texture.
You might ask me “How about the egg yolk then?” Don’t worry! Nothing is wasted in this chicken meatball noodle soup. I simply drop the yolk into the soup, along with the raw meatballs. Another tip: the best (safest) way to check if the meatballs are fully cooked is to open one or two and have a look. Turn off the heat straightaway when they are done because overcooked meatballs will have a harder texture.
To me, tomato works wonders in all types of soup. And a pinch of white pepper provides a great addition to its sweet and sour flavour. I also use dried shiitake mushrooms in this chicken meatball noodle soup for its distinctive aroma. Please remember to soak them in cold water prior to cooking, 8-12 hours at least. Well rehydrated shiitake are full of flavour and soft. They won’t have a rubbery texture (some people suggest soaking them in hot water for a short period of time. Believe me, you won’t get the same result). You may replace shiitake with other mushrooms, preferably wild ones.
When it comes to noodle soup, I’d like to clarify one thing (it may be obvious to some of you). You always need to cook noodles in a separate pot with lots of water then add the cooked noodles to whatever soup you are serving. One of my friend back in Switzerland was very surprised when I told her so. She used to boil noodles in the soup. There is not enough liquid for a start, and the extra starch coming off the noodles would change the flavour of the soup.
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