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Noodle soup with meatballs


I call this Asian-style because it does not really fit perfectly into any single Asian country's cuisine. I love the kinds of flavours that are used in Asian cooking, but I make no claim for authenticity. This is a pretty westernised dish.


It makes an enormous difference to use good chicken stock here - homemade is the best. There are plenty of stock recipes on the internet, but if anyone wants to know how I do mine, just ask in the comments section below.


Serves 4 as a starter, or 2 as a main


For the meatballs

300g minced pork

6 spring onions

a small piece of root ginger

a small bunch of coriander

1 stem of lemongrass

oil for frying


For the soup

800ml chicken stock (homemade is best here)

juice of 1large lime

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp fish sauce

2 tbsp rice wine

a few drops of sesame oil

a few small hot red chillis, left whole but pierced with a fork

a few dried shitake mushrooms

100g glass noodles

1 stem of lemongrass, chopped into rounds

2 spring onions, chopped into rounds



To serve

a bunch of coriander, roughly chopped

1 lime, quartered


Chop the onions, ginger, coriander and lemongrass and mix with the pork. Form into 8 little patties.


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium/high heat and fry the meatballs until browned on both sides, in batches if the pan is too small to take them all at once. Set aside.


In the same pan, bring the stock to the boil, add the lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, the lemongrass, onions, mushrooms and the whole chillis and simmer for around 10 minutes. Taste to adjust the seasoning. Fish out the chillis when you think the soup is hot enough.


Return the meatballs to the pan, and continue simmering for another 5 minutes or so, until they are cooked through. Add the noodles and continue simmering according to packet instructions (they usually only take a minute). Divide between four soup bowls, sprinkle with the coriander and serve with lime quarters on the side, to squeeze over for added zing.


Photo by Kristi Korotash

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