This Tibetan Meatball Soup is a simple dish made from a short list of ingredients that come together to create a delicious, nourishing and wonderfully comforting dish. The recipe is from Taste Tibet: Family Recipes from the Himalayas by Julie Kleeman and Yeshi Jampa and is typical of the traditional meals shared throughout the cookbook.
A short list of simple ingredients including ground beef, an egg to bind, and coriander leaves, onion, garlic, salt and Sichuan pepper go into the meatballs. The soup is nothing more than the broth created by cooking the meatballs in water. To make the soup, meatballs and their cooking liquid are supplemented by baby spinach leaves and coriander leaves.
We paired with another recipe from the book, giant fluffy sharing bread.
Find out more about this beautiful book in my full review of Taste Tibet by Julie Kleeman and Yeshi Jampa.
Tibetan Meatball Soup
- 350 g (12 oz) minced (ground) beef, ideally 15–20% fat content
- 1 free-range egg
- ½ small red onion, finely chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon crushed Sichuan peppercorns (yerma)
- 1½ teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Plain all-purpose white flour, for dusting
- 125 g (4½ oz) baby spinach leaves, washed
- Coriander (cilantro leaves), to garnish
Place the minced beef in a mixing bowl and crack in the egg. Mix together very well using your hand or a fork, then add the onion, garlic, Sichuan pepper, coriander and ½ teaspoon of salt and mix everything together thoroughly.
Sprinkle a little flour onto a chopping board. Pinch off a 2.5 cm (1 inch) piece of the meat mixture and roll it between your palms to make a ball, then roll it through the flour on the board. Don’t douse it in flour – you are aiming for a light coating. Pick up the meatball and roll it between your hands again, then give it another roll in the flour before setting aside. Repeat with the rest of the meat mixture, adding a little more flour to the board as needed. You should end up with about 30 meatballs all told.
Measure out 1 litre (4 cups) of boiling water into a large wok and place over a medium heat. When the water returns to the boil, add the meatballs and stir them around gently, adding a little more water if the meatballs are not fully covered. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt, turn the heat up as far as it will go and simmer the meatballs for 4–5 minutes, stirring occasionally. In the final minute of cooking, add the spinach to the soup.
Just before you take the wok off the heat, check that the meatballs are cooked by fishing one out and cutting it open: it should be brown all the way through, not pink.
Serve the meatball soup in bowls, garnished with coriander.
This is such a warming and comforting dish, a perfect soother if you are feeling cold, sad or poorly.
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Kavey Eats received a review copy of Taste Tibet: Family Recipes from the Himalayas by Julie Kleeman and Yeshi Jampa from publisher Murdoch Books. Book food photography by Ola O. Smit; Book travel photography by Keiko Wong.