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Appetizers, Soups

Chinese-style pork meatballs in broth

Chinese-style pork meatballs in broth
Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

I remember the first time I tasted tender veal meatballs with the southern Italian flavors of fennel, green olives and baby artichokes. The ingredients suggested olive groves and rocky coastlines, yet the atmosphere in which I was savoring them was ... Read more

Total time: 2 hours, 10 minutes | Serves 6 as an appetizer

Chinese chicken broth

  • 4 pounds chicken wings, backs and necks
  • 12 cups water
  • 1 (1-inch) piece ginger, sliced
  • 2 green onions, cut into 4-inch pieces
  • 1 star anise
  • Salt

Step 1Wash the chicken, place it in a 5-quart stockpot and pour in the water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for 1 hour, skimming and discarding any foam.

Step 2Add the ginger, green onions and star anise and simmer 1 hour without stirring.

Step 3Remove the broth from the heat and let it stand about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Spoon the broth -- being careful not to stir up any sediment on the bottom -- into a strainer lined with cheesecloth that has been placed over another pot or container. Add salt to taste. Keep warm for immediate use. Leftover broth may be frozen.

Meatballs and assembly

  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 3/4 pound coarsely ground pork butt plus 1/4 pound ground pork belly or 1 pound ground pork butt
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped canned water chestnuts
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Step 1Lightly beat together the egg and egg white. Place the ground pork in a large bowl and gently stir in the egg mixture, ginger, green onion, garlic, water chestnuts, oil, soy sauce, wine, salt, pepper, baking soda and cornstarch. Gently stir with 2 fingers in a clockwise motion. This prevents over-mixing and keeps the meatballs fluffy.

Step 2Gently form the mixture into 1 1/2 -inch meatballs.

Step 3Fill a wok with 2 inches of water and place a bamboo steamer basket on top. Bring the water to a gentle boil on medium heat. Line the steamer basket with two layers of cheesecloth. Add the meatballs and steam for 16 to 18 minutes, until they change color and feel firm to the touch.

Step 4Remove the meatballs from the steamer. To serve, place 3 or 4 meatballs and three-fourths cup broth in each of 6 small bowls.

Note: From Donna Deane, Times Test Kitchen director, and Mary Ellen Rae, recipe tester. Shaoxing wine is available in Asian markets. Use a combination of freshly ground pork belly (available in Asian markets) and ground pork butt, or you can simply use ground butt.

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