Growing up, these were my favorite meatballs. I would have happily lived off these for all eternity. This is my take on that childhood favorite. I am pairing these incredibly tender meatballs with the subtle sweetness of the subtle sweetness of kabocha squash and the umami of the miso soup. This dish will warm your belly after a long day at work. —Jenny Huang | Hello My Dumpling
for the tofu meatballs
case silken tofu (approx. 6oz)
scallions, thinly sliced
inch nub ginger
freshly ground white pepper
for the miso soup
4-inch pieces of kombu
of dried sardines
shiitake mushrooms, sliced
medium kabocha squash (Japanese pumpkin)
salt & black pepper
small purple potatoes, cut into large chunks
shiro miso/white miso
aka miso/red miso
scallions, sliced thinly for serving
In This Recipe
Using a Japanese grater or a microplane zester, grate the ginger nub into a small bowl. Then cover it with about 2 tablespoons of hot water, set aside to steep.
For the dashi stock, rinse the kombu pieces under cold water to get rid of any extraneous salt. In a medium sized pot, rehydrate the kombu in 5 cups of cold water. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes.
While the kombu is rehydrating, preheat your oven to 400°F. Using a sharp knife, cut the skin off your squash and divide into 1 1/2 inch chunks. Do not cut too small or else they will not hold together well. Lay the squash on a large sheet pan, making sure not to overcrowd. Sprinkle with a few pinches of salt, freshly ground black pepper and grapeseed oil. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, flipping halfway into the cooking time.
After 30 minutes, set the pot with your kombu and water over high heat. Right before it reaches a boil, remove the kombu pieces. Add the katsuobushi and dried sardines. Bring to a boil, and turn off the heat immediately. Allow to steep for 15 minutes. With a fine mesh strainer, strain the liquid. Use a spoon to press out as much of the liquid as possible. Don't let any go to waste! Reserve the stock
For the meatballs, combine the pork, salt, white pepper, egg, and scallions into a medium sized mixing bowl. Put the tofu into a separate bowl and use a fork to gently mash the tofu so that only a few small chunky pieces are left over. Add the tofu and the ginger along with its water into your meat mixture. Mix using a large spoon until thoroughly mixed. Your mixture should be mixed to the point where the meat fibers are no longer separated and pronounced.
Since we are making four poached eggs, we are going to make them ahead of time. Set a medium sized pot filled 3/4 of the way with water to boil. Now gently crack an egg into a small bowl. Using a large metal spoon, stir in one direction until you make a rapid whirlpool. Quickly but carefully slide the raw egg into the water. As the water continues to turn, most of the egg whites should stay together. Cook for 2-3 minutes for a runny yoke. Remove the egg using a slotted spoon and place in an ice water bath to stop the cooking. Do this for the other 3 eggs. Reheat the eggs in warm water before serving.
Using a medium pot, bring your dashi stock back up to a boil. Add the shiitakes and potatoes, cook for 5-8 minutes over medium-high heat. Then, add your roasted squash. To form the meatballs, take a large metal spoon and scoop up about a tablespoon worth of meat. Wet your left hand so that the meat doesn't stick. Using the metal spoon and a scooping motion, roll the meat into a ball. The meat should stick together easily. Don't overwork. Gently place into the soup. Once all the meatballs are in the pot, bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to medium high. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.
While the meatballs are cooking, combine the two types of miso in a small bowl. Ladle some of the hot soup in. Use a spoon to work the miso into the liquid, making sure no clumps are left. Turn your stove off. At this point, I like to add about half of the miso liquid initially. Give it a taste. Add more of the miso little by little, until the flavor is perfect.
Serve immediately topped with a poached egg and scallions.