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My Mom's Pork Meatball Spinach Soup

Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword chinese, meatball, pork, shiitake mushroom, soup, spinach
Servings 2 servings
Author Lokness

Ingredients

  • 4 medium dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch (for cleaning mushrooms)
  • 10 - 12 ounces spinach
  • ½ pound pork butt (with 20% fat)
  • 8 cups water
  • salt

Marinade for meatballs:

  • ¼ teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon corn starch

Instructions

  • Soak the dried mushrooms in cold water for at least 5 hours or overnight. Rinse mushrooms under running water. Drain. Add 1 tablespoon corn starch. Rub the mushrooms all over with the starch to remove dirt. Rinse. Remove the stems with scissors. Squeeze out as much water as possible. Pat dry with paper towels. Cut into ¼-inch dices. Set aside.
  • Wash the spinach thoroughly for at least 2 times to remove all the sand and dirt. Drain. If there are roots, cut to remove.
  • For the pork, cut into thin strips. Then, cut the strips into tiny dices. Gather the meat together, pat down slightly. Chop repeatedly and rapidly, fold and chop again. Repeat the same motions until the meat turns into ground meat. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir for a few times until the meat is slightly sticky. Add marinade and mix well. Add the mushroom and mix again. Divide into 12 (1½-inch) portions. Roll into meatballs and squeeze tight slightly. 
  • In a large pot over high heat, add 8 cups water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add spinach and cook the stems are just softened, about 2 – 3 minutes. Remove the spinach to a large bowl. Add the meatballs and cook until they float, about 3 – 4 minutes. Season with salt to your own taste. Return the spinach to pot and cook for 1 more minute. Turn off the heat. Transfer to serving bowls. Serve immediately. 

Notes

  1. Dried shiitake mushrooms take a long time to rehydrate. I recommend soaking them the night before. If you're in a hurry, use warm or hot water for soaking. Although mushrooms will get soften much quicker, but some of the flavors will be lost.
  2. Get your dried shiitake mushrooms in Asian supermarkets.
  3. There are lots of dirt on spinach. Wash them for at least 2 – 3 times. No one wants sand in their soup.
  4. Pork butt is not the butt. It’s the shoulder. The fat distribution of this cut can be varied. Make sure to get a piece with about 20% of fat. If the meat is too lean, the meatballs will be rough. I usually buy ¼ pound extra, so I can trim off parts (either lean meat or fat) that I don’t want.
  5. It’s common to mince your own meat at home in Chinese cooking. But it is not a must, you can ask your butcher to do it for you.
  6. If you prefer, you can dip the meatballs into little bit of soy sauce when serving.