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5 from 1 vote

Napa Cabbage Soup with Tofu and Meatballs

Learn to cook the heartiest soup, plus two tips on how to quickly create a rich broth with just a few ingredients!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main, Side
Cuisine: Chinese
Servings: 2 to 4
Calories: 222kcal
Author: Maggie Zhu

Ingredients

Soup base

  • 2 large slices ginger
  • 3 to 4 green onions , chopped

(Option 1) Quick pork and chicken broth

  • 1/4 cup chopped pancetta  (or bacon)
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or 2 cups, if you want the soup to be extra rich) (Optional)

(Option 2) Clear seafood broth

(Option 3) Easy broth

  • 3 cups chicken stock (or pork stock)

Meatballs

  • 1/2 pound (230 grams) ground turkey (or ground pork)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onion (green part) (Optional)
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry or Japanese sake)
  • 2 teaspoons or tamari for gluten-free
  • 2 teaspoons potato starch
  • 1 teaspoon ginger , grated
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil (or peanut oil, or vegetable oil)

Soup

  • 6 to 8 large napa cabbage leaves , chopped (generate 6 to 8 cups)
  • 1/2 daikon radish, peeled and chopped (generates 2 cups) (Optional)
  • 1 batch enoki mushrooms golden needle mushrooms, tough ends removed and separated
  • 1/2 (400g / 14-ounces) block soft tofu , chopped
  • Sea salt to taste

Instructions

Soup base option 1 - Quick pork and chicken broth

  • Heat a 3.8-liter (4-quart) pot over medium heat and add the fatty parts of the pancetta. When it starts to sizzle, turn to medium low heat. Stirring occasionally, cook until the fat renders and the pancetta turns golden.
  • Napa Cabbage Soup with Tofu and Meatballs Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  • Napa Cabbage Soup with Tofu and Meatballs Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  • Add the lean parts of the pancetta. Continue cooking and stirring until brown.
  • Napa Cabbage Soup with Tofu and Meatballs Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  • Napa Cabbage Soup with Tofu and Meatballs Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  • Add chicken stock and immediately use a spatula to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pot. Add 2 cups water (add 1 cup water, if using 2 cups chicken stock; or 3 cups water + 1 tablespoon oyster sauce or hoisin sauce, if you do not want to use chicken stock), ginger, and green onion. Cook over high heat until boiling. Turn to medium low heat. Cover and boil for 5 minutes.
  • Napa Cabbage Soup with Tofu and Meatballs Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  • Napa Cabbage Soup with Tofu and Meatballs Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com

Soup base option 2 - Clear seafood broth

  • Rinse dried scallops. Place scallops in a small bowl and add water to cover. Rehydrate for 2 to 3 hours. Drain and tear into small pieces.
  • Seafood Congee - the ultimate comfort food Cooking Process | omnivoerscookbook.com
  • Seafood Congee - the ultimate comfort food Cooking Process | omnivoerscookbook.com
  • Rinse dried shrimp, transfer to a small bowl, and add water to cover. Rehydrate for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • Combine the rehydrated scallops and shrimp, ginger, green onion, and 3 cups water in a 3.8-liter (4-quart) pot. Heat over high heat until boiling. Turn to medium heat. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes.

Soup base option 3 - Easy broth

  • Combine chicken stock (or pork stock), ginger, and green onion in a 3.8-liter (4-quart) pot. Heat over high heat until boiling. Turn to medium heat. Cover and boil for 5 minutes.

Meatballs

  • Combine all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl. Stir until all ingredients are just combined and form a slightly runny mixture. Do not over-stir it. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Napa Cabbage Soup with Tofu and Meatballs Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  • Napa Cabbage Soup with Tofu and Meatballs Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com

Soup

  • Rinse and cut veggies while letting the stock simmer.
  • Add daikon radish into the soup pot. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the thick parts of the napa cabbage. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Napa Cabbage Soup with Tofu and Meatballs Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  • Napa Cabbage Soup with Tofu and Meatballs Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  • Add the green parts of the napa cabbage and enoki mushroom into the soup. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • You can adjust the seasoning at this point, by adding a bit salt, if needed.
  • Add soft tofu. Push all the ingredients to one side of the pot, to clear some space for the meatballs. (If you don’t have enough space in the pot, you can take out some of the napa cabbage leaves)
  • Napa Cabbage Soup with Tofu and Meatballs Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  • Use a spoon to scoop 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of the meatball mixture and carefully add it into the soup. Repeat this until you’ve made about 15 meatballs.
  • Cover the pot and simmer until the meatballs are just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn off heat immediately and remove the pot from the stove, keeping it covered.
  • Serve hot as a main or side. To make it a full meal, you can boil some noodles (or mung bean noodles or shirataki noodles) and add them into the soup at the end of cooking. In this case, you might want to add a bit more salt or light soy sauce, to make the broth a bit saltier. This way, it will taste just right with the noodles.

Nutrition

Serving: 479g | Calories: 222kcal | Carbohydrates: 11.7g | Protein: 23.6g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 1078mg | Potassium: 695mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4.2g | Vitamin A: 6400IU | Vitamin C: 89.1mg | Calcium: 230mg | Iron: 4mg