Friday, February 20, 2015

Star Anise Broth Soup with Tofu and Pork Meatballs

     A Soothing Savory Soup! 
     The simple petite pork meat balls in this recipe are mildly spiced with chile pepper and turmeric.  The flavor of the pork meat balls goes well with the daikon radish and star anise broth.
     One teaching method that I like for educating cooks about seasoning food is to select a recipe that only uses one specific herb or spice.  That way the cook can become familiar with the full effect and flavor profile of the specific herb or spice.
     Star Anise is one of the ingredients in Chinese Five Spice Powder.  Star Anise is a spice that naturally tastes good with pork.  Star Anise is a strong spice and only a small amount is needed to flavor a big bowl of broth soup.

     A hot soup broth is good for warming up after being outdoors in cold winter weather.  Broth quickly digests and it instantly provides necessary nutritional requirements.  Star Anise contributes to the gentle warming effect!

     Star Anise Broth Soup with Tofu and Pork Meatballs:
     This recipe yields 1 large bowl of soup!  
     Like many old traditional broth soups, there are no complicated cooking techniques involved in this recipe.  This soup is simply boiled!  
     Three cups of broth may sound like a lot, but by the time the soup finishes cooking, the excess liquid will evaporate, leaving an average large soup bowl portion of about 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups of soup!
     Step 1:  Place 3 ounces of ground pork in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 pinch of turmeric.
     Add 1 pinch of Chinese chile powder.  (Chile Japon or Cayenne Pepper)
     Add sea salt and white pepper.  
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Roll small portions of the ground pork mixture into tiny meatball shapes that are about the size of an acorn. 
     Set the tiny pork meatballs aside.
     Step 3:  Place 3 cups light chicken broth in a soup pot over medium high heat.
     Bring the broth to a boil.
     Step 4:  Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced ginger.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Add 3 peeled water chestnuts that are thin sliced.
     Add the reserved tiny pork meatballs.
     Boil till the pork meatballs start to become a firm texture.
     Step 5:  Add 6 to 8 thin slices of daikon radish.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1/8 teaspoon of ground star anise.
     Step 6:  Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
     Simmer the soup, till the meatballs and daikon radish slices become fully cooked.
     Step 7:  Just before serving, add a few paper thin thin onion slices.
     Ladle the soup into a large soup bowl.
     Add 10 to 12 bite size pieces of semi firm tofu that are cut into cube shapes.
     Place 3 julienne sliced snow peas on one side of the soup.
     Float a few cilantro leaves on the broth.

     The warm star anise broth tastes nice with tofu little pork meatballs ! 

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