quick(ish) vietnamese(ish) meatball soup

listen. this looks like a lot of work. but it isn't, i promise. really. get someone to hep you roll the meatballs and that step will literally take 5 minutes.

you could also make the broth from scratch to begin with and infuse it with the lemongrass and stuff, then have it on hand to make this soup...

(and yes, i know it's summer. but sometimes you still want soup.)

for the broth:
2 quarts chicken broth
1 stalk lemongrass
1 (2-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1/3 of a bunch of cilantro (about 1/3 cup)
3 cloves garlic
3 scallions, roughly chopped
Sriracha, to taste

for the meatballs
1 pound ground pork
1 egg
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon 5-spice powder
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1teaspoon shaoxing vinegar (or rice wine vinegar)
1 teaspoon Sriracha, or to taste

sliced scallions
chopped cilantro
bean thread noodles (about a bundle per person)
sesame oil and soy sauce

Combine the broth, lemongrass, ginger, and garlic, in a medium saucepan or pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and add the scallions and cilantro. Cover partially and let simmer while you make the meatballs.

Mix all of the ingredients until blended. Grab a little (about half a meatball), press it together, and drop it into the simmering broth. Let it cook and taste the mix for seasoning. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and taste it again. When it's seasoned to your liking, form the pork into 1-inch meatballs.

Remove the lemongrass, ginger and cilantro from the broth. Working in small batches, use a mesh strainer to lower the meatballs into the broth, swirling the strainer to keep the meatballs from sticking to it (this also helps make the meatballs less shaggy). Cook just until kind of set. (You're not cooking these through, you're just getting them started so they won't disintegrate when you add them to the soup.) Add the meatballs to the soup and simmer while you cook the bean threads.

Place the bean thread noodles into a large bowl, crunching them a little with your hands. Bring a pot of water to a boil and our it over the noodles, just to cover. Let them soak for about 3 minutes, then strain them and toss them with about 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and a little soy sauce.


Bring the whole pot of soup to the table, along with the bowl of noodles and the garnishes. Add noodles to each bowl and ladle the soup over. Sprinkle with garnishes and add sriracha to taste.