Not the catchiest title for a dish, admittedly, but I was really pleased with this quick recipe. It’s low-fat but hearty and wholesome and pretty adaptable – you could use a different kind of mince for the meatballs, chicken strips instead of meatballs, left over shredded meat chucked in at the last minute, different vegetables…today I wanted to use my home-grown pak choi, which has coped brilliantly over the winter in a mini-greenhouse. I only planted it in October and it’s been the easiest thing I’ve ever grown. It’s an F1 variety called Rubi with lovely purple leaves – great in winter salads as a ‘cut and come again’ leaf with a light mustardy flavour or in oriental dishes and soups.
Purists out there will probably scowl at my willy-nilly mixing of pretty much all the Asian ingredients I had in my kitchen and I’m sure I could do better in terms of authenticity if I learnt a little more about specific regional ingredients. But my husband described the result as tasting “like real-live Asian food” which is pretty much what I was aiming for. Some recipes for similar soups suggest frying the meatballs before adding into the soup, which would improve appearance – poached turkey mince ain’t that pretty looking – but poaching means less oil and an easier one-pot approach.
300g turkey mince
2 teaspoons grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bunch spring onions
1 red pepper
2-3 good handfuls of pak choi leaves
1 litre hot chicken stock
2 nests of dried egg noodles
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Sweet chilli sauce (to taste – I added about 4 tablespoons)
Soy sauce (to taste)
Fish sauce (to taste)
This was a quick dish to prepare, about 10 mins prep and max 30 mins cooking time. It served 2 generously as a main meal, with a leftover lunch portion for one (ie, me).
1. Slice and finely chop 2 spring onions. Mix together in a large bowl with the turkey mince, a small amount of lime juice, 1/2 a teaspoon of grated ginger and some salt and pepper.
2. Form the turkey mix into small meatballs and set aside
3. Heat some oil in a large saucepan – I used olive oil, with a glug of sesame oil for extra flavour. Gently fry the crushed garlic and the rest of the grated ginger.
4. Add the hot chicken stock and sweet chilli sauce (use more/less than I did depending on preference) and bring to the boil.
5. Gently drop in the meatballs and reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes.
6. Whilst they’re cooking, thinly slice lengthways the carrots, red pepper, spring onions and the mushrooms.
7. After 15 minutes, cut open one of the meatballs and check that it is cooked. If it is, add in the carrots and noodles for 2 minutes, then the peppers, mushrooms and spring onions for 2 more minutes.
8. Add the lime juice and soy sauce and/or fish sauce to taste, checking the flavour of the broth.
9. Just before serving, add in the pak choi leaves. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with fresh coriander.