I often hear people say our bodies are a temple… But in this fast paced world of go, go, go, my temple starts feeling a bit more like 6 Flags on 4th of July weekend than a holy site of introspection. So I started working on a group of recipes I call restoratives. Contrary to what you may think, restorative food does not have to mean complicated. In fact, a complicated recipe works against the calm inner peace we try to achieve.
To keep it 100% honest, pretty much all of my restorative recipes started out as simple, easy pantry pulls dishes I can make when I’m hungover and/or under the weather. Funny enough I started working on this recipe after a long night of cocktails, and questionable decision making, with friends back in 2013 when I lived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
This recipe I’m going to share doesn’t really have a name exactly, but for the purpose of this recipe we’ll call it an Asian Inspired Vegetable Soup.
- 3 Dry Sataki Mushrooms, Re-hydrated and water reserved
- 2 Baby Bok Choy, Chopped Or Torn into 1/2 inch pieces
- 3-4 Frozen Asian Pork, or Fish, Balls (Replace with Tofu for a Vegan version.)
- 1/4 Cup Dried Seaweed, Re-hydrated and water discarded
- 1/2 Inch Fresh Ginger, Finely Diced
- 1 Garlic Clove, Finely Grated
- 1/2 Teaspoon Chicken Stock Powder
- 1 Tablespoon Light Soy Sauce
- 1/4 Teaspoon Flavorless Cooking Oil
- 1/4 Teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil, Optional - Garnish
- Salt To Taste
Note About Pork Balls: Pork balls are NOT the type of meatballs you typically see in a Swedish Meatballs or Italian dish. They're about the same size, but with typically made from a smooth-ish paste with very light seasoning.
- Heat 2 cups of water in a medium stock pot or tea kettle.
- Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and pour in about 3/4 cup of hot water. Let soak for about 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms soften enough to cut into 1/8 - 1/4 inch pieces. Make sure to remove the stem from the mushroom as it tends to be a bit tough and woody. Return the cut mushrooms to the soaking liquid.
- Place the dried seaweed in separate small bowl and pour in about 1/2 cup of hot water. Allow to soak for about 10 minutes and then discard the water. (I normally do the re-hydrating part while I take a hot shower and the coffee brews.)
- Add the flavorless cooking oil to a medium sauce pan and heat on medium high. Toss in the pork balls along with the ginger and allow to brown slightly. You're mainly going for a light browning to help flavor the broth. Add in the garlic and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients and allow to simmer on medium for about 15-20 minutes, or until the pork balls are tender to the touch and cooked thru. (Pork is fully cooked at 145 F/62 C.)
- Pour your soup into a bowl and top with a little of the toasted sesame oil and enjoy!