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ME(al) Time - Asian Inspired Meatball, Shiitake and Red Bean Broth

This is second installment of the cooking and

eating well for one series


Asian inspired meatball, shiitake and red bean broth

Or, put another way, how can you create an awesome meal with about a quarter pound of leftover mince meat that translates into a whole meal and more. You are probably wondering, how I had that little left over. Simple. I had bought a pound, or as he measured it, two fistfuls, of ground beef from the butcher. I wanted to make chili for two to last 2 meals (dinner and next day lunch). So, obviously I didn't need a pound of meat for that. I could use it all, of course, but as I

make a case here

, I would rather make more dishes than give into the momentary desire of gluttony.

So, anyway, the chili was fantastic and all that, and I put away the remaining uncooked meat back in the fridge with the intention of making something off it when inspired. I won't lie. I already had meatballs in my head. I just had not decided meatballs

and what


Couple of days later, while standing at my fridge door and contemplating lunch, meatballs danced in front of my eyes. I also had a bag of shiitake mushrooms that I had picked up at the weekend farmers' market. Sadly, they were not wild picked but farmed. Atleast I had the solace that they were not wrapped in plastic. Ok, tree killing paper bags, I know. I am sorry. Next time, I'll carry a small bag just for such delicate items so they don't have to juggle with the potatoes and brussel sprouts in the bag.

Shitake Mushrooms

The idea of making dumplings stared at me. But well, I was not about to be convinced into the process of making the dough. Hence, nixed. Yet, the idea of Asian was stuck. I decided to do something more Japanese influenced. Befitting the weather, it was particularly cold couple of days back, I chose to do a light flavorful broth with meatballs, mushrooms

and something else

. Noodles were trying valiantly to get my attention. I had some, but not buckwheat. Uninspired. They beat a sad retreat. Dry red beans. I always have them. Eureka! They rounded out the soup.

I soaked my beans for about 30 minutes in boiling hot water to reconstitute them. If you plan ahead, you can soak them overnight in normal water. But, I was not that organized. I also cooked the beans in the broth with the mushroom and meatballs. So the soup is cloudy from the starch released from the legumes. If you want a clearer broth, you can cook the beans separately (either in a pot or pressure cooker) but that would strip away the richness as well as the wholesomeness of the dish.

This recipe makes enough for a meal with leftovers for lunch. It is perfect for a weeknight meal or lunch on a cold or wet day.

Asian Inspired Meatball, Shiitake and Red Bean Broth

Asian inspired meatball, shitake and red bean broth

{I did not have ginger when I made this. If you do, adding will create a lovely depth of flavor. Use about 1 tsp of minced ginger in making the broth}

1/4 lb ground beef

handful of shiitake mushrooms, sliced or whole

1/4 cup dry red beans {they will double in volume when soaked}

1 T of parsley

1 small red onion, diced fine

4 cloves of garlic, diced fine

1 tsp sesame seeds

1/2 tsp coriander seeds

3 whole peppercorns

a touch of sriracha

1 egg yolk

1 cups homemade stock

2 cup water

good quality soy sauce

salt and pepper

If you haven't already, soak the beans in boiling water.

In a bowl, add the meat, yolk, parsley, pepper, sriracha and half of the minced onion and garlic. Knead together and season with soy sauce. Make tiny balls of about 1 inch diameter and refrigerate until ready.

In a deep pot, sauté the remaining onion, garlic (and ginger if using) with the sesame seeds, coriander seeds and whole peppercorns. Add the mushrooms and let them lightly caramelize. Deglaze with a little soy sauce.

At this point you can either remove all of the sautéed stuff and cooking the beans and then add them back or just add the beans and all the liquid and let them cook together. I did the latter, it is a lot simpler.

Bring the water to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer until the beans are nearly cooked, about 30 minutes or so. Adjust the level of water adding more if too much has been soaked.

Gently drop the meatballs into the broth and simmer for another 10 minutes until fully cooked. Adjust seasoning.

Serve with a squeeze of lemon and sprinkle of parsley for brightness.


Share your creations tagging @ashafsk on Instagram and hashtag #MadeFromFSK