Cress and pork ball soup

Cress and pork ball soup

The Real Food of China
Leanne Kitchen

Soups play a big part in Chinese cuisine, from comforting, thick broths to light and flavoursome soups such as this one. This healthy soup is packed with watercress; it’s meant to aid the respiratory system and is an excellent source of vitamin C and iron. If you like, you could swap the watercress for any green leafy vegetable — try Chinese broccoli (gai larn) or bok choy (pak choy) — or make the meatballs with beef instead of pork.


Quantity Ingredient
200g bean thread vermicelli noodles
2 cm piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornflour
1 tablespoon shaoxing rice wine
1 egg, lightly beaten
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1.5 litres Chicken stock
1 bunch watercress, picked over, large stems discarded
500g minced pork
or 500g minced beef


  1. Put the vermicelli noodles in a small heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and soak for 5 minutes, or until softened, then drain. Using scissors, cut the noodles into smaller pieces.
  2. Put the pork in a bowl with the ginger, sugar, cornflour, rice wine and egg, then season with sea salt and pepper and mix well. Wet your hands a little, then take small handfuls of the pork mixture and roll it into small balls, about the size of a walnut. As you complete each ball, place it on a tray lined with baking paper.
  3. Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan over a medium heat, add the meatballs and cook for 5–7 minutes. In a separate saucepan, bring 2 litres water to the boil, then add the watercress and cook for 1–2 minutes, or until wilted. Drain and cool under cold running water, then drain again. Divide the watercress and noodles among four soup bowls. Add some meatballs to each bowl, then ladle over the hot stock and serve.
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