This a lovely, light and healthy meal-in-a-bowl. Look for fresh lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves in an Asian grocery. Both can be frozen if you buy more than you need for this recipe.
- Dry Rice or Wheat Noodles 400 g
- Ground Chicken 450 g
- Garlic 2 cloves, mashed to a paste
- Fresh Ginger a thumb-sized piece, grated
- Green Onion 2, white part finely chopped, green part sliced on the diagonal
- Bird’s Eye Chili 1, de-seeded and finely chopped
- Fresh Cilantro a small bunch, leaves and stems separated
- White Pepper 1 tsp
- Salt 1 tsp
- Low-Sodium Chicken Stock 1 L
- Kaffir Lime Leaf 2 pairs
- Lemongrass 1 stalk
- Star Anise 1 piece
- Beansprouts 1 cup
- Napa Cabbage shredded, 1 cup
- Lime Wedges for serving
1. Cook the noodles in a generous amount of salted boiling water until al dente. Set aside to drain in a strainer.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the ground chicken, garlic, ginger, white part of onion and chili. Finely chop a few of the cilantro stalks and add these along with the pepper and salt. Mix lightly but well.
3. In saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a simmer along with the kaffir lime leaves and star anise. Bash the lemongrass stalk with a mallet or the heel of a chef’s knife to release the fragrance and add it to the pot. Keep the stock at a low simmer while you make the chicken balls.
4. Wet your hands and roll the chicken mixture into ping-pong-sized balls. When all are made, drop them into the simmering stock and cook for 15 minutes. Break one chicken ball in half to check if it is cooked through. If it is still pink in the centre, cook the balls a little longer.
Divide the noodles, chicken balls, napa cabbage and beansprouts among four bowls. Pour in the hot stock, leaving behind the aromatics. Garnish the soup with cilantro leaves, sliced green onions and lime wedges. Serve at once.