There are times when I just get too tired of eating rice
(not complaining at all) and have no idea what else to cook, but yet, I wish to have some hot and soupy food to warm my stomach. And I guess, the best choice of food will be none other than a noodle soup. Hubby is definitely not a big fan of hot and soupy stuffs for the simple reason that he needs to allow the food to cool down first and therefore, takes up a lot of his precious time when eating (aren’t guys more complicated than girls?) .
Anyway, in order to captivate him with the noodle soup, I used his favorite noodle which is the Chinese egg noodle aka ‘Yee Mee’. Initially, I was just thinking of cooking a clear broth noodle soup, but after a while, it struck me that I once made the herbal broth which tasted so delicious and nourishing. These few weeks I have been using more herbs and the Bénédictine D.O.M herbal liqueur in my dishes (one of them was the Herbal Chicken with Bénédictine D.O.M) after reading up on their health benefits.
This time round, I used both wolfberries and dried Solomon’s seals to make the herbal broth. Wolfberries or better known as Goji berries are used in both sweet and savoury soups, congees and teas. It has one of the antioxidants-fruits, that have the most anti-ageing and cancer-fighting effects. In traditional Chinese medicine, the berries are used to reinforce the liver, invigorate the kidneys and replenish vital essence. On the other hand, Solomon’s seals or best known as Polygonatum odoratum (玉竹) are used to sweeten soups, moisten the body and help to clear the internal heat. Traditional Chinese medicine doctors also believe that this herb can help to relieve constipation, thirst, sore throat and dry cough.
The steps in preparing this dish are many and tedious, but in order to cook a nourishing meals, I guess those extra yet manageable steps are worth spending time on. The outcome of this dish was that each and every sip of the broth was filled with the sweetness from herbs that were used and in a blink of an eye, hubby finished up his portion (mind you, he already had a light dinner prior to that). It was surely satisfying knowing that he was well-fed and most importantly, well-nourished.
Chinese Pork Herbal Noodle Soup Recipe
Serves: 2 pax / Prep Time: 20 mins / Cooking Time: 30 mins / Level of Difficulty: Simple
- 250g ground pork
- 2 dried shiitake mushrooms (soaked and chopped into small pieces)
- 4 shallots (finely sliced)
- Mustard greens (washed and drained dry) – vegetables of your choice
- Fresh scallions (finely chopped)
- 1 tbsp. wolfberries/ goji berries
- 5 pieces dried Solomon’s seals (Polygonatum odoratum) – soaked in water for 30 mins
- 2 pieces Chinese egg noodles (Yee Mee)
- 8 pieces pork balls
- 2 medium farm eggs
- 1 cube Knorr pork stock cubes
- 2 tbsp. Bénédictine D.O.M herbal liqueur
- 2 litres water
- 4 bird’s eye chillies (optional)
- 0.5 tsp. salt
- A dash of white pepper
- 1 tsp. corn flour
- 0.5 tsp. sesame oil
1. Marinate the ground pork in a bowl and use your hands to thoroughly mix the marinade into the meat. Set it aside for 1 hour in the fridge.
2. Pinch off a piece of the meat mixture and gently shape them between your hands to form 1.5 inch (table tennis ball size) pork balls. Continue shaping them until half of the ground meat is used.
3. Add the shiitake mushrooms into the remaining ground meat to form meatballs. Repeat Step 2 of shaping the meatballs until all of the meat is used.
4. Gently placed the meatballs in a plate and set them aside.
5. Heat a frying pan with oil and add in the shallots. Cook and stir them until light golden brown. Scoop it out and set it aside.
6. In a small pot, add in water and bring it to boil. Blanch the vegetables for a minute or two. Set it aside and pour the water away.
7. In another larger pot, add in water and bring it to a boil over a high heat. Put in 1 pork stock cube, wolf berries and dried Solomon’s seals. Turn down the stove to medium heat and allow it to simmer for about 15 minutes.
8. Gently add the meatballs and pork balls into the pot and allow it to simmer until it is fully cooked.
9. Add in the Bénédictine D.O.M herbal liqueur and allow it to simmer for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and set it aside.
10. Scoop the herbal soup enough portion for 1 pax from the larger to the smaller pot. Add the Chinese egg noodle and cook for 2 minutes until it has soften. Put it in a serving bowl.
11. Gently crack an egg into a soup ladle, maintaining that you don’t break the yolk when cracking the egg. Turn down the boiling soup to a simmer and cook the egg until the egg white is set. Bearing in mind that the egg yolk still hasn’t thicken at this moment in time. Remove the egg and gently place the egg onto the noodle.
12. Alternatively, you can crack the egg into the soup and do a quick stir. Repeat Step 10 for the remaining noodle.
13. Place the vegetables, meatballs, pork balls, fried shallots and scallions onto the noodle before pouring the boiling herbal soup. Serve immediately with bird’s eye chillies.
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