Monday, 24 August 2015

Grandma's Meatball Soup


When I was a little girl, I always looked forwards to eating my grandma's "Bakwan Thng" (Meatball Soup). There were two things that I enjoyed about this soup.

The first is obviously the delicious meatballs and the second is the black wood ear fungus (bok nyee). I would painstakingly poke around the soup to fish out the soft chewy black fungus. I simply loved it because of the texture. 


If there is one dish that evokes childhood memories, it is this one. It's a child friendly dish and up to today, I enjoy this soup very much. Back in the old days, grandma made her own minced meat by mincing meat using a cleaver.

The chopping board was placed on the floor and grandma would squat and chop away. Once the meat was fine enough, she added onions, an egg and continued chopping until everything was well mixed. This mixture was then seasoned with salt and lots of pepper. That's what I loved, the peppery aroma.


Well, I could never make minced meat the way grandma did. My hand and legs will get tired and worse, I will get a backache. See? Grandma was a lot tougher hah..hah... So this wimpy granddaughter of hers got the minced meat from the supermarket.

The vegetables for the soup are onions, cabbage, carrots and wood ear fungus. I don't remember how grandma cooked her soup because, I was only fascinated with the meatball making process. I most likely ran off to watch Ultraman when the cooking proper was in progress hah..hah....


What I do is boil the carrots, onions, cabbage and wood ear fungus for about 30 minutes before I added the meatballs. Then I simmer the soup for another 20 minutes or so to make sure that the meatballs are properly cooked. The soup is then seasoned to taste and I love adding lots of pepper. 


I like to simmer the soup until the cabbage is soft and mushy. Somehow, I love my cabbage like that in soups. Grandma always made fried shallots to add into her soups and these fried shallots do wonders. It brings the flavors to a different level.


This soup improves with age and the mushier the vegetable become, the more I enjoyed it. Last week, I boiled a big pot and I had this soup for 5 days in a row for breakfast. By the third day, the soup tasted wonderful and no, I did not get tired of it. And I still did one thing - dig for the wood ear fungus. Old habits die hard!









Meatball Soup
Recipe source : Phong Hong

Ingredients :

For the meatballs :
- 300g minced meat
- 1 big onion, finely minced
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp cornflour

For the soup (quantity is up to you)
- big onions, cut into wedges
- cabbage, cut into chunky pieces
- carrots, cut into chunks
- wood ear fungus, soaked to soften

Method :
- to make the meatballs, mix all the ingredients together until the mixture is sticky.
- keep in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- put all the vegetables into a pot and pour water into the pot. The amount of water should barely cover the vegetables (add more if you want more soup).
- bring the pot to a boil and lower the heat to simmer for 30 minutes.
- Take the minced meat out from the fridge and bring the soup to a boil.
- using your hand, form the meatballs and drop them one at a time into the soup until all the minced meat are used up.
- simmer the soup for about 20 minutes and season with salt and pepper.
- serve hot and garnish with fried shallots.

Note : You may use chicken stock cubes or whatever seasoning you prefer.

42 comments:

  1. I am drooling now over the meatball, hehe...

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  2. Ahhh, love your meatball soup Phong Hong.. Reminds me of mum's vegetable+meatball soup too.. Those days, mum always cooked one-pot stuff, and this vege-meatball soup was one of them.. Just chuck chicken carcass+cabbage+carrots or wong ah pak into the pot and boil, then roll meatballs and throw them in.. Her meatballs only minced pork marinated with soy sauce and lots of pepper, tu aje, but sedappppp.. But I see yours lagi sedap, with the fried shallots lagi, must be very fragrant...

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    1. Louiz, this type of soup is very convenient and delicious. Got meat, got vege. Can just eat the soup without rice. Nutritious too!

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  3. And I hated those black ear fungus for the exact same reason that you loved them: the texture! >.<

    Don't lah chicken stock. You boil the vegetables until mushy, that's wonderful vegetable stock already. I can imagine how tasty this bakwan soup will be!

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    1. RG, you are right. The vegetables already make the soup sweet and tasty (vegetable stock!) and there is no need for chicken stock.

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  4. Hi Phong Hong,

    Traditional home cooked food is always very satisfying... Your grandma is such a great cook and this meatball soup is her legacy!

    Zoe

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    1. Hi Zoe! My grandma was a very good cook and I do miss her dishes. I guess I'll just have to cook them myself based on my memory.

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  5. Sure looks good!

    I'll try it one day. :)

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    1. Hope you will enjoy the soup, Lina!

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  6. Must be so flavourful, lots of ingredients. Mine is plain and simple but it's good too. I love clear soup!

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    1. Arthur, this soup has very robust flavors coming from the vegetables and also the meatballs.

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  7. I love this soup! I make this soup all the time from the already minced pork I buy from the supermarket, of course. I keep it very simple....just cabbage and minced pork balls....and, yes, I like the cabbage really soft and mushy too. Sometimes I add some meehoon to make it a real meal and, if I'm eating it this way, I'll definitely add some fried shallots as it certainly ups the ante of the noodle dish. I'm not sure about eating it for 5 days though coz I usually make just enough for one meal, otherwise reboiling the soup tend to soften the already super soft cabbage.

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    1. Kris, I know that most people don't usually eat the same soup for so many days but I find it convenient. No need to cook everyday hah..hah...

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  8. I like such soups! Like 2 in 1

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    1. Ola, it is convenient. Just throw everything into the pot!

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  9. Hi Phong Hong, Your grandma's meatballs soup looks good. Their dishes are usually good with the 'agak-agak' ingredients. Why is this so? My mum calls this soup 'Chap Chye T'ng'.

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    1. Kimmy, my grandma also has a chap chye thng which she also served during CNY. You are right, all their agak-agak ingredients turn out super good. No need to follow a recipe!

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  10. oooh, I like meatballs be them deep fried, cooked in soup or roasted or grilled.. I especially love those made from minced meat added with crunchy bits like onions, carrots, sengkuang or water chestnuts..

    your grandma minced the meat herself from scratch, that would be a lot of work (I mean effort as well as exercise as in work-out).. I remember my mum used to do that and sometimes she would ask me to help, and I was more than happy to do it because it looks more like playing when chopping the meat, haha!!

    errr, I would also go for the minced meat readily available from wet market it supermarket lah.. the chopping and all really not fun huh?? but I guess would be nicer and better texture than the minced huh?? maybe your should practice it more often, it could be you are not used to it, do it a couple of times more and I think your back won't ache anymore.. well, you know, like we go exercise after a long absence.. :p

    I can imagine how refreshing and flavorful the soup is, with all goodness from the fresh veggie and the meatballs, sweet!! so only all these can make a nice soup huh?? no need those pork bones etc like we boil soup for dinner?? I would like to do this, looks simple though may take some time..

    wah!!! one pot of meatball should for breakfast for 5 days non-stop!! that must be so delicious and you love it so much, eih, like that sure can lose those kgs very fast lah, haha!! let me know your result, hehehe~~ :p

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    1. Can't go wrong with meatballs, eh? I love them deep fried too but so troublesome!

      Oh no, I will not chop meat myself hah..hah... My back is not strong and I do not want aching muscles either hee..hee...

      This soup is flavored by the vegetables and also the meatballs. No need for pork bones or additional flavorings.

      You know, soups are good for dieting. I tried that before and managed to lose weight. Problem is, never maintain and regain the weight again :(

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  11. Love this! Like a perfect hearty meal for cold weather, and it has lots of 'liu' too~

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    1. Hayley, this soup is enough and complete for a meal. Everything campur together!

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  12. You know or not.. the way our mothers or grandmas used to chop on the wooden board is not the same we do now... My brother in law used to say... "The meat somehow got the "cham pan" smell.. so the meat always turn out tastier than us! hahahaa.. Since the day he mentioned it, I have to agree with him...

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    1. Claire, I don't remember the "cham pan" smell hah..hah...

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  13. Somehow I too love this meat balls soup! Grandma's or mother's soup always tasted the best. I am never tired of these meat balls soup and wood fungus is one of my favourite soup ingredients.

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    1. Nancy, I agree with you! And I bet your kids love your soups too :)

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  14. Hi Phong Hong,
    This is so yummy-licious! I can just empty a big bowl of meatball soup without any rice. Traditional homecooked food is still the best. This meatball soup is quite similar to my late mom used to cook except that she loved to add some 'dong chye' in minced pork.

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    1. Karen, my grandma also used "dong chye" in her other soup. Ah! I must look for "dong chye" and recreate another soup to enjoy!

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  15. I like fungus and I understand there are some health benefits in eating fungus

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    1. Libby, me too like fungus/mushrooms. They are very tasty and nutritious.

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  16. This is such a healty meal Phong Hong! You have inherited the skill from your grandma. Keep it up! I'm working mum. Weekend is the only time I cook and explore new recipe. This is one of the recipe that is definitely in my must-do list.

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    1. Hi Amy! I also only cook during the weekends. There is simply no time to cook during the weekdays, besides I am tired after work!

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  17. Meatball is a friendly dish for young & old..I have never tried making meatball from scratch like your grandma did..very healthy bowl of soup, I do not mind having it every day. :D

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    1. Agnes, we are lucky that we can get minced meat very easily form the market or supermarket. I cannot imagine mincing meat from scratch!

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  18. These meat balls in the soup looks really yummy. I had replied you to your question, sorry for the late reply. :)

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    1. Hi DG! Yes, I went over and read your reply. Thank you!

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  19. Sound simple enough. Got meat and vege. Kids would love this

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  20. Those meatballs must be very delicious! My spouse would love to eat this.

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    1. The meatballs are the best part of the soup hee..hee...

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  21. Walau eh! You had this delicious meal for 5 breakfasts! I could do 30 days for a yummy breakfast.
    Your grandma was the Grand Dame in the kitchen and now the grand daughter is the new Diva!

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    1. Hi TM! Well, I hope I have inherited some of grandma's culinary skills :D

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