labor required: seaweed and (the world’s 2nd best) meatball soup

by Chen

With minimum ingredients, the soup looks simple; but not the technique for the meatballs, which I learned from my mom. However, mine can never beat hers no matter how hard I’ve tried. No wonder mom’s dish is always the best in the world.

seaweed and meatball soup
Dried seaweed can be found in Asian supermarket (NOT the seaweed snack “Nori” or the “ready-to use” style).

Makes 4 servings

1 cup dried seaweed
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp chopped fresh ginger
salt

For the meatballs:
4 oz lean grounded turkey (or pork or chicken, your pick)
1 1/2 tbsp cooking wine
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt

Day 1.
Soak the dried seaweed in water.

Day 2.
Wash the seaweed carefully and rinse thoroughly to get rid of grits.

In a large pot, add seaweed, chicken broth, and ginger and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low. Cover and let it simmer for 20 minutes or until the seaweed becomes tender (the cooking time really depends on how thick the seaweed is; it may take longer to cook).

While the soup is simmering, make the meatball. Place all the ingredients for the meatball in a large bowl. Use chopsticks to stir everything together. Keep stirring in one direction and be vigorous. Stop this “exercise” when the meat gets “sticky,” but keep in mind that the longer you stir, the better the meatball is. This is what I mean by “labor required.”

When the seaweed is ready, drop spoonful meat into the simmering soup. Season the soup with salt to taste. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes or until the meatballs are fully cooked. Turn off the heat and stir in 1 tsp sesame oil. Serve immediately.

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