My Goals & Discoveries
Simple, streamlined approach
Starting with ground pork avoids the need to hand-chop meat. Treating it with a baking soda solution before cooking helps the meat retain juices, allowing us to shorten the cooking time but still produce meatballs that are juicy and tender.
Pure, mild, savory flavor
Lightly seasoning the pork with soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, sugar, scallion, fresh ginger, and white pepper produces meatballs with well-rounded but still porky flavor.
Light, springy, unctuous texture
Beating the pork mixture in a stand mixer causes its sticky proteins to link up into a strong network that traps the pork’s fat and moisture, resulting in a texture that is resilient and unctuous. Steaming the meatballs for 90 minutes in the oven breaks down the pork’s collagen so that the meatballs are tender.
Softened cabbage and noodles
Adding the cabbage during the last 30 minutes of cooking allows it to soften and absorb the flavor of the chicken broth without turning to mush. Soaking rice vermicelli in just-boiled water softens the noodles but doesn’t overcook them.