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What’s for Dinner Wednesday – Thai Pork Dumpling Soup

October 17, 2007

DinnerChers Amis,

I’ve designated this as What’s for Dinner Wednesday and since fall is upon us I thought soup would be perfect. Thai Pork Dumpling Soup is a favorite a notre moulin. It is a family- friendly variation on a soup I originally saw on the Tamales World Tour back when I actually had time to watch the Food Channel (three kids ago.) I love this soup because it basically a simple combination of chicken broth, pork meatballs and cellophane noodles to which each diner adds as much (or as little) zesty spice paste as they like.  Slurping is encouraged.  I also like that I can make the meatballs ahead of time and freeze them until the day I want to whip up a hot batch of soup.  I made it last spring for a Lenten soup dinner and it was quite popular.  I hope you like it too!

Thai Pork Dumpling Soup

Cilantro Paste:

1/2 bunch fresh cilantro w/o stems

1/2 Tablespoon (TBS) brown sugar

1/2 TBS freshly grated ginger

1 Teaspoon (Tsp) black pepper

1 Tsp pureed garlic (@ 1 large clove)

1 TBS fish sauce (or soy sauce)

10 cups chicken broth (I usually use 1 large 49.5 oz can of Swanson’s chicken broth)

1-3.75 oz bean thread noodles(cellophane noodles)

meatballs:

1lb ground pork

1 TBS fish sauce (or soy sauce)

1 Tsp pureed garlic

1 TBS cornstarch

garnish:

1 bunch scallions, white and green, thinly sliced

cilantro leaves

Paste:  Puree all paste ingredients in a blender until fine paste is formed. (This can also be done by hand by chopping all the ingredients except the liquids together on a cutting board and then mixing with the fish sauce in a small bowl) Set aside until dinner.

Follow the directions on your noodles.  Typically you place the noodles in a large bowl of hot water for 10-15 min, drain and cut into 2-4 inch lengths and set aside.  The original recipe calls for only 1 oz noodles, but my family loves the slick transparent strands so we use a whole package for a very dense soup. If you have a bigger family, use all the noodles and add more stock.  It is very flexible.

While the noodles are soaking, combine the ground pork, fish sauce/soy sauce, garlic and cornstarch in a bowl, mix to combine and form small meatballs the size or hazel nuts.  Set aside.

Pour the chicken stock into a large soup pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and add the pork meatballs and noodles.  Cook uncovered about 10 minutes until the pork is done.  The noodles will be see through/translucent.

If your whole family loves Thai and cilantro, mix the spice paste into the soup and serve with garnish of green onions and cilantro leaves.  Since my children all like different levels of spice, I serve up steaming bowls of noodle soup and pass the spice paste and garnish at the table.  Some just like it plain, and others add as much green as possible.

It is a great soup to serve with a side of fresh pineapple, citrus or grapes.  What’s for dinner at your house?

–Marjorie

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