Chinese Spinach Soup with Minced Meatballs & Salted Fish
Here's my version of Chinese style spinach soup that's full of umami and definitely NOT vegetarian. I first tried this dish a couple of weeks back, at a hawker that was famed for making it. I wasn't impressed - but was inspired to hack it into a yummy dish that I'd enjoy.
Lo and behold - this is my version of this healthy dish. What's different? I top it off with golden nuggets of garlic and salted fish chips. This flavourful garnish elevates a typically more subtle spinach soup. AND I marinated my meatballs before cooking instead of adding them in plain and raw.
I promise - it's worth it! Best eaten with a steaming hot bowl of white rice and a side of freshly cut chili padi.
INGREDIENTS (for 2 pax)
1 pack baby spinach, washed clean and cut into 3cm pieces
100g chicken or your meat of choice (this is approximately half a pack from the store)
1 vegetable stock cube
2 bowls of water
1 chili padi, chopped
1 bunch coriander, chopped
1 generous dash of white pepper
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sesame seed oil
3cm piece of salted fish, sliced very thinly
3 whole garlic cloves, sliced very thinly
1 tablespoon oil for frying
1. Marinate the minced meat to prepare for cooking. In a mixing bowl, add 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste, 1 chopped chili padi, chopped coriander, 1/2 teaspoon sesame seed oil, salt and white pepper. Mix until well combined. Set aside for later. Make sure not to over-mix or you will lose the meaty texture.
2. In a pan, quickly fry the garlic and salted fish chips until golden brown. Set aside for garnish.
3. In the same pan, add 2 bowls of water and the vegetable stock cube. Bring to a boil.
4. Once the stock is boiling, add in the spinach and let it gently wilt. About 1 min tops.
5. Add in 1 egg and beat it to combine with the stock.
6. Immediately add in the other 2 eggs carefully. This egg is meant to be half cooked and runny, so gently place it on top of the spinach to slow cook.
7. Quickly use 2 spoons to scoop out the "meatballs" and into the soup. These will cook up pretty quickly and change colour. It is cooked when it starts to float. About 2 mins. I prefer to use the spoon to shape the meatballs for a more "organic" look rather than round meatballs. You can pre-roll the meatballs if you like.
8. Once the meatballs are cooked, immediately turn off the fire and serve your soup in bowls. Removing it quickly from the pan will ensure the eggs stop cooking and remain runny!
9. Garnish with the garlic and salted fish chips - and enjoy with white rice or noodles of your choice!
ALY'S COOKING TIPS
Do not add salt to the soup. You might feel that it lacks salt, but let me assure you that the salted fish garnish will melt into the soup and it will be "just nice" for the fish!
Use a spoon to scoop out the meatballs directly into the soup. This creates an "organic" shape that's more appetising than perfect round balls. This is purely OCD on my side - ball them up if you like!
Only use vegetable stock - any other stock will be too overpowering for the soup.
Don't be lazy and marinate the meatballs please! I have made the soup super basic so that the flavour of the meatball and the garnish will make this dish shine LOL