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Clear Soup with Meatballs

ingredients

serves 8
175 g (6 oz) very finely minced beef
1 small onion, very finely chopped
1 - 2 garlic cloves, crushed
15 ml (1 tbsp) cornflour
a little egg white, lightly beaten
salt and freshly ground black pepper

for the soup

4 — 6 Chinese mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
30 ml (2 tbsp) groundnut oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely crushed
1 cm (1/2 in) fresh root ginger, bruised
2 litres (3 1/2 pints) 8 cups beef or chicken stock, including soaking liquid from the mushrooms
30 ml (2 tbsp) soy sauce
115 g (4 oz) curly kale, spinach or Chinese leaves, shredded

method

1. First prepare the meatballs. Mix the beef with the onion, garlic, cornflour and seasoning in a food processor and then bind with sufficient egg white to make a firm mixture. With wetted hands, roll into tiny, bite-size balls and set aside.

2. Drain the mushrooms and reserve the soaking liquid to add to the stock. Trim off and discard the stalks. Slice the caps finely and set aside.

3. Heat a wok or large saucepan and add the oil. Fry the onion, garlic and ginger to bring out the flavour, but do not allow to brown.

4. When the onion is soft, pour in the stock. Bring to the boil, then stir in the soy sauce and mushroom slices and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the meatballs and cook for 10 minutes.

5. Just before serving, remove the ginger. Stir in the shredded curly kale, spinach or Chinese leaves. Heat through for 1 minute only: no longer or the leaves will be overcooked. Serve the soup immediately.

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