17 November 2011

asian beef balls soup with noodles

Since coming home from a 3-week holiday in Asia, I've been willing the weather to warm up.  To be fair, the weather in Wellington has warmed up from the freezing winter temperatures.  But Wellington, true to form, is taking its time schleping towards more summary days.

We had 104km/h winds yesterday.  And the thermometer did not go up any further than 10 degrees.  You see what I mean.

So as much as I'd like to start planning meals with lots of lovely fresh salad leaves, drizzled with this, that and the other, I find myself heading down the path of tummy warmers more often than not.

However, I have faith that warmer days are around the corner.   And there are things to be done before the sunny warm days of summer hits. Namely:

  1. Lose some weight
  2. Tidy up and paint my toes nails
  3. Break out the summer clothing.

Now this year, I'm carrying more than the usual 'winter weight'.  It's more like winter weight + eat all I want in Asia weight + eat until I'm about to burst at the conference weight!  To help with the mammoth pre-summer weight loss regiment, I've been cooking more vegetarian meals and also soups and casseroles that are lighter than what I had been cooking for winter (thick stews, cream-based sauces, slow-cooked fattier meats, etc).

'S' loves noodles, so I try and cook it at least once a week.  Asian style noodle soups are often easy to make and relatively healthy.  In fact, you could make this dish as healthy as you want it to be - like using lean mince and udon noodles for example.  I've used 'regular' mince here, that is, mince with fat.  It's a personal choice.

This really isn't a recipe that I created.  It's simply something I throw together often using flavours I'm very familiar with.  And if you decide to make this weekly like I do, change it up a bit by using different proteins (beef/pork mince, chicken/duck slices, frozen prawns and squid or tofu), or different types of noodles and just about any type of vegetable will work as well.  No fix rules here.

Give it a go and let me know if you like it, or what you did to change it up a bit!

Asian Beef Balls Soup with Noodles

Meat balls:
500g mince beef
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp ground white pepper

Rice bran oil (or any other light tasting vegetable oil, like canola or soya)
10 shallots, sliced (you can use onions if you prefer)
25g ginger, sliced (about 2 fingers length and width)
2 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli flakes (use 1/2 TSP if you prefer it less spicy or omit entirely)
1 bunch of fresh coriander (appx 1 cup), roughly chopped and set aside for later
The stems (near the roots) of the coriander, chopped
8 cups water (you can use stock, but I prefer to keep the flavour of the soup base clean)
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste

Selection of vegetables chopped/sliced - zucchini, carrots, corn, bok choy, asparagus, or whatever you like
Buckwheat noodles - follow cooking instructions on the pack

  1. Use a light hand and quickly mix the mince beef and all other meat balls ingredients together.  Don't over mix as I find that it makes meat balls dense and tough.
  2. Cover and put aside for the mince to marinade a little whilst you get on to the soup.
  3. In a large pot, heat some rice bran oil over medim heat and gently fry the shallots, ginger, ground coriander, chilli flakes and coriander stems.  Fry until the shallots are soft and lightly browned.
  4. Add the 8 cups of water to the shallots mixture to make the soup.
  5. Bring to boil.
  6. Lower down the heat to medium-low and add the vegetables.  Note - if you're using vegetables that cook quickly like bok choy, asparagus or zucchini, add these vegetables in only once the meat balls are almost cooked, in the last 3 minutes of cooking.
  7. Add the light soy sauce, fish sauce and sugar to the soup.
  8. Whilst the vegetables is cooking in the soup, make the beef balls.
  9. Wet your hands and very quickly and lightly again, roll the marinated mince beef into balls and place them on a plate.  Damp hands will help prevent the mince sticking to your hands and make it easy to roll.  I rolled my beef balls into the size of large Jaffa balls or gobstoppers.
  10. Heat a little rice bran oil up in a fry pan on high and very quickly brown the beef balls.  You want only a light brown and sear - not to cook the beef balls through.  Once lightly browned, scoop into a bowl/plate lined with kitchen paper and set aside.
  11. At this point, boil some water, ready for cooking your choice of noodles.
  12. Back to the soup - Turn the heat up to medium and add the beef balls into the soup and cook until the beef balls are just cooked.  Don't be tempted to cook the beef balls for too long, or else they'll over cook and start to fall apart.  So will your vegetables!
  13. Add some salt at this point, to taste.
  14. Whilst the beef balls are cooking, quickly cook your noodles in a separate pot.  Most noodles will take only between 3-5 minutes cooking time.
  15. Drain your cooked noodles and divide them into large bowls.  Top the noodles with the the cooked beef balls and vegetables - scoop these out without the soup.  Then ladle the hot soup over the noodles, beef balls and vegetables.
  16. Top with plenty of fresh coriander and enjoy!


  1. Yum, I love the look of all the fresh vegetables in there! Looks healthy and satisfying :)

    Oh, and I must tidy up my toenails too...

  2. @Milka - when I'm feeling particularly lazy or there are no fresh vegetables in the fridge, I use frozen mix veg. Work the same for me! Ooo...bought some silver and teal nail polish. Bring on summer! :)

  3. It's always this time of year the weather catches us out as the temps swing from low to high. I have already pulled out my summer clothes and painted my toe nails so no going back now, it will have to be a cardie over summer frocks :o)

  4. @Alli - that's my angle too! Vacuum packed the winter jackets and clothes. Just leaving out a few cardies and blazer for the cold days. Its still too windy and cold for summer frocks in Welly I'm afraid!

  5. WOW, what a great dish! LOVE the abundant ingredients. I am excited at my mom's satisfying feeling after her first try and she was proud of my behavior on Mother's Day! Thanks for sharing! I had featured u in the article of Top 7 Beef Based Recipes for Mother’s Day on AllFreshRecipes. I will pay close attention to ur newly posts!

  6. This would be nice to have on a cold evening.

  7. Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting? I'm pleased I discovered it though, ill be checking back soon to find out what additional posts you include. https://allasiarecipes.com


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