When I started thinking about what this week’s recipe would be I had in mind a soup, something really comforting like chicken broth with the addition of chicken meatballs and vegetables – carrots, leeks, celery, spinach and more. Then on Sunday night we watched documentary about sake making in Japan. That made us want to try some good sake. So, my original recipe took a decidedly Japanese turn with inspiration from ‘Tokyo Cult Recipes’. I also made a visit to the wine shop part of Japan Mart (there’s one in Khyber Pass and another at Sylvia Park) and chose, with the help of a knowledgeable sales girl, a bottle of sake to go with our meal.
Using an induction pad we cooked this at the table adding more chicken meatballs and vegetables as we wanted. Alternatively make this on the stove, add everything at once and serve in bigger bowls.
Chicken and Prawn Meatballs
350-400g chicken mince
4-5 large raw shelled prawns, finely chopped
4-5 water chestnuts, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cms piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 tbsp potato starch
1 tsp soy sauce
6 cups chicken stock
2 sachets dashi – available in most supermarkets and Asian groceries
1 piece kombu (dried seaweed) – available at most Asian groceries
150ml cooking sake
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp mirin
Vegetables & Tofu
Make your own selection of vegetables, any leafy greens will work including lettuce and rocket – I used the following
Firm tofu cut into cubes
2 leeks, diagonally sliced
Shitake mushrooms, stalks removed
A bunch of tatsoi (Chinese greens)
Spring onions cut into lengths
Bunch of sorrel
A few whole water chestnuts
Slices of lotus root (available frozen)
Shichimi (Japanese chilli pepper mix)
Finely chopped spring onions
Ajitsuke Ponzu (soy and vinegar sauce flavoured with yuzu) – available at Japan Mart
Yuzu koshou (yuzu and green chilli sauce) – also available at Japan Mart
In a bowl mix together all the meatball ingredients, cover and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.
Heat all the soup ingredients in a pot or casserole and simmer for a few minutes. Remove the kombu. Add some of the leeks, tofu and shitake mushrooms. Using two spoons shape the meatballs (they end up quenelle shaped) and drop them into the stock as soon as you shape them. They’re cooked when they float.
Next add a selection of vegetables. Let everyone help themselves to the hotpot and condiments. Add more ingredients as you like and top up with a little water if you need more liquid.
Serve with warm sake.