Brisk broth with meaty bite - Tuna fish ball soup with wakame

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Tuna fish ball soup with wakame (Serves four to five)


INGREDIENTS

Tuna balls

200g tuna steaks, filleted and boneless, available frozen at supermarkets

Half a length of leek, tender white part only

6 fresh shiitake mushrooms

½ tsp salt

White pepper to taste

1 egg white to bind

1/2 cup dried wakame seaweed

A few sprigs of green garnish, such as radish, pea sprouts or sayur bermis

Dashi

1 sheet dried kombu (about 25g), available from Japanese stores

1 cup dried bonito flakes, about 25g

1 tsp salt

1 tsp light soya sauce

2 tbs mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)

4-5 cups of water

METHOD

1. Cut thawed tuna, leeks and mushrooms into smaller pieces.

2. Chop finely by hand or place the lot in a food processor and chop in short bursts till fine. Do not overprocess as you do not want a springy texture at the end.

3. Season with salt and pepper and add egg white to bind.

4. Shape into balls and leave aside covered in the fridge.

5. Now, make the dashi.

6. Bring the water to boil in a pot large enough to accommodate the tuna balls.

7. Wipe the white residue, which are natural salts from the kombu sheet, with a damp cloth. Place the kombu into the boiling water. When it comes to the boil again, remove the kombu.

8. Add the bonito flakes. Remove with a sieve after they sink to the bottom.

9. Reserve the kombu and bonito for a second brew with another four cups of water, adding another tablespoon or so of dried bonito flakes. The softened kelp can be cut into strips and used in salads.

10. Bring the primary dashi to the boil again and add seasonings of salt, soya sauce and mirin.

11. Lower the fire and place the fish balls one at a time into the simmering broth. When they float, they are ready.

12. Add the dried wakame and stir till they plump up.

13. Serve in individual bowls and add a clutch of sprouts to the bowl just before serving. Offer some chilli flakes if you wish.

 
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