Recipe: Amazing Asian Soy Sauce Soup with Minced Pork Meatballs

Nov 9, 2014 by     9 Comments    Posted under: Recipes, Soup Recipes
Simple Soy Sauce Soup with Minced Pork Meatballs

Simple Soy Sauce Soup with Minced Pork Meatballs

I found this recipe in a cookbook I picked up while in Malaysia a few years ago.  And though I fell in love with Asian soups years before going to Malaysia, my Malaysian eating experiences heightened that love.  So as I was flipping through this cookbook (Modern Nonya by Sylvia Tan), the “Everyday Soups” section caught my eye.  One particular recipe stood out as something I really wanted to try; Babi Tauyu Soup (Pork Mince in Soy Sauce Soup).  Sylvia described it as:

“An extremely old-fashioned soup that Peranakan families used to turn out for their everyday meals.  though simple, it was a clever stroke matching the richness of pork with the salty sweetness of dark soy sauce, cut through by lots of pepper and coriander leaves.” 

I couldn’t agree more with her assessment.  This soup is fantastic.  And with my flavor enhancing modifications, it’s even better.

What surprises me most about this soup is how freaking delicious the broth is despite it being only chicken stock and some soy sauce that seeps out of the meatballs.  It really doesn’t make any sense.  Dark, savory, salty, and richly flavored, the broth tastes like hours of hard work concentrated into only 10 minutes.  I’m in love with this soup.  And thanks to it being only slightly more difficult than cooking a package of ramen noodles, it is something easily enjoyed every week.

Ingredients Needed for a Super Simple Asian Soup

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 4 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce (regular soy sauce, not low sodium)
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 4 ounces water
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bunch cilantro

How to Make Soy Sauce Soup with Pork Meatballs

Combine pork, soy sauces, white pepper, ginger, sesame oil, and water in a large bowl, mixing well to evenly disperse seasonings in the pork.  Though the water is not strictly necessary, it will give the meatballs a softer texture.  Pretty cool little Chinese trick.

Combine Ingredients in Bowl to Mix

Combine Ingredients in Bowl to Mix

Mix Meatball Ingredients Until Fully Incorporated

Mix Meatball Ingredients Until Fully Incorporated

Let sit for 10-15 minutes to allow the pork to marinade in the seasonings.

Form the pork mixture into loose bite-sized balls and set aside.

Form into Meatballs

Form into Meatballs

Bring chicken stock to a boil.  Once boiling, add the pork meatballs to the stock.

Drop the Meatballs into Broth

Drop the Meatballs into Broth

As the meatballs cook, they will release much of the soy sauce and turn the soup broth a rich dark color.

Meatballs in Soy Sauce Broth

Meatballs in Soy Sauce Broth

When stock returns to a boil and the meatballs float to the top, the soup is done.

Bring to a Boil

Bring to a Boil

Serve with a large handful of coarsely chopped cilantro.  Serves 2 as a meal, or 4 as an appetizer.

Simple Soy Sauce Soup with Minced Pork Meatballs 2

Simple Soy Sauce Soup with Minced Pork Meatballs 2

Variations to Consider

For a more filling soup, cook some sobe noodles or udon noodles in the chicken stock prior to adding the meatballs.  I’ve tried rice noodles, but they don’t stand up to the richly flavored broth very well.

Additionally, I really enjoy adding steamed baby bok choy.  Don’t cook the bok choy in the soup, as it’s flavor will bleed too much into the soup broth.  Instead, steam the bok choy separately, then add it to the soup bowls just prior to serving.

In addition to the chopped cilantro, crispy garlic makes a nice garnish, as does a touch of chili garlic paste.

Recipe by Jothan Yeager, October 2014

 

The Bald Gourmet modifies a simple Asian soup recipe found in a Malaysian cookbook and falls in love with the result.

 

5.0 from 2 reviews

Recipe: Amazing Asian Soy Sauce Soup with Minced Pork Meatballs
 
Prep time

Cook time

Total time

 

This soup is fantastic. What surprises me most about it is how freaking delicious the broth is despite it being only chicken stock and some soy sauce that seeps out of the meatballs. It really doesn’t make any sense. Dark, savory, salty, and richly flavored, the broth tastes like hours of hard work concentrated into only 10 minutes. I’m in love with this soup. And thanks to it being only slightly more difficult than cooking a package of ramen noodles, it is something easily enjoyed every week.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese, Malaysian
Servings: 2 as a meal, or 4 as an appetizer

Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 4 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce (regular soy sauce, not low sodium)
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced ginger
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 4 ounces water
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bunch cilantro

Instructions
  1. Combine pork, soy sauces, white pepper, ginger, sesame oil, and water in a large bowl, mixing well to evenly disperse seasonings in the pork. Though the water is not strictly necessary, it will give the meatballs a softer texture. Pretty cool little Chinese trick.
  2. Let sit for 10-15 minutes to allow the pork to marinade in the seasonings.
  3. Form the pork mixture into loose bite-sized balls and set aside.
  4. Bring chicken stock to a boil. Once boiling, add the pork meatballs to the stock.
  5. As the meatballs cook, they will release much of the soy sauce and turn the soup broth a rich dark color.
  6. When stock returns to a boil and the meatballs float to the top, the soup is done.
  7. Serve with a large handful of coarsely chopped cilantro.

Notes
Variations to Consider: For a more filling soup, cook some sobe noodles or udon noodles in the chicken stock prior to adding the meatballs. I’ve tried rice noodles, but they don’t stand up to the richly flavored broth very well. Additionally, I really enjoy adding steamed baby bok choy. Don’t cook the bok choy in the soup, as it’s flavor will bleed too much into the soup broth. Instead, steam the bok choy separately, then add it to the soup bowls just prior to serving. In addition to the chopped cilantro, crispy garlic makes a nice garnish, as does a touch of chili garlic paste.

9 Comments + Add Comment

  • […] is my new favourite soup! Adapted from a recipe from http://thebaldgourmet.com/recipe-amazing-asian-soy-sauce-soup-with-minced-pork-meatballs/ it is cheap, quick to make and perfect if its cold outside or you’re feeling a bit under the […]

  • Sounds like won ton soup without the skins. Your meat balls are pretty much the standard wonton filling. The noodles and bok choy are not unusual additions to won ton soup, either, in places I frequent. Sounds good, though. Dark soy labels typically list some form of sugar like Molasses, sugar or caramel so the flavor profile is sweet along with the darker color. While I envy you the beautiful Idaho scenery, I’ve got my choice of Asian markets of assorted ethnicities here in Jersey. Many are full supermarket size. The soy sauce takes up one side of a whole aisle. Shopping is an adventure. A favorite simple Chinese soup of mine is Congee, also known as jook. The base is pork bones with a little meat on them, from the Asian market, water, a little rice, and wide assortment seasoning and condiment options. Chicken bones or prepared stock works too. It is a rice porridge. The Chinese have it for breakfast instead of oatmeal. Best I ever had was made by a Chinese friend’s wife, using the carcass from the Thanksgiving turkey.

    • Hi Jeff. The original soup only had meatballs, cilantro, and broth. I added the veg and noodles to kick up the nutritional value a bit and make a more filling soup, which then made it much like the soups you mentioned. The “amazing” factor with this soup to me is the intensely flavored broth that comes from nothing but chicken broth, soy sauce, and cooking pork. It confuses me every time I make this soup, and I love it for it. Give it a try and let me know what you think. I’ve been known to get excited over little things before that make other people wonder what’s wrong with me. :)

      As for congee……love the stuff! Tasty and filling. The last batch I had was full of intestines, kidneys, and blood cake cubes. I’m confident your Chinese friend’s wife’s version was drastically more delicious!

  • I know I am terrible at substituting things and should just go get everything, but… would this still work without dark soy sauce? I only have regular. Also – would this work with beef instead of pork?

    • Hi Lindsie. Beef should work instead of the pork. It will have a different texture and flavor though of course. You’ll need the dark soy though. I don’t think it will be as successful without using dark soy sauce. You need the dark for color but also for the different flavor profile it adds. It’s cheap though and readily available at all the local Asian stores.

      • I did it! Glad I got the dark soy sauce. This soup is delicious!

  • the Asian Market is on Cleveland in a small strip mall across from Edwards Plaza.
    Address: 3115 Cleveland Blvd, Caldwell, ID 83605
    Phone:(208) 455-9223
    http://www.idahopress.com/news/article_321f69ca-76db-11e0-9c6b-001cc4c002e0.html

  • Great soup for a busy/COLD day. Read the recipe last night and knew it would be lunch for today. I had everything on hand but the cilantro so I used some chopped garlic chives plus mixed some granulated garlic in with the pork marinade. I prepared some basmati rice; a scoop in the bottom of the bowl finished the soup perfectly, noodles would also be wonderful. Thanks for the recipe and please share more soup recipes with us. BTW, Caldwell has a great little Asian market.

    • Helen, thanks for trying the soup. So glad you liked it. Crazy how delicious the broth is even though it’s just chicken stock and soy sauce huh? Mmm….now I want it again. Love the stuff. So where is this Asian market you speak of in Caldwell?

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I'm Jothan Yeager and I am The Bald Gourmet. After years of experimenting in my kitchen, creating delicious food and eating at amazing places around the world, I wanted a place to share my experiences with everyone. Thus the Bald Gourmet was born. I hope to open the doors of great food and great cooking to you, to inspire you to reach beyond prepared boxed meals, and to teach you of a world of deliciousness that has brought joy to me and those around me. Please enjoy the adventure which is The Bald Gourmet and share it with those you love.