One hour. That was how much time I had to conjure a healthy lunch. Here’s the thing: I do not generally plan for lunches. I am usually the only one at home during the day and I am pretty easy to feed: oatmeal with wheat-germ and blueberries, leftovers from the previous night, cereal with a splash of milk, or in yesterday’s case, 2 juicy plums (thanks to a generous friend’s harvest) and a sweet nectarine (from the local farmers’ market). Today, I have mouths to feed.
Fish balls are one of my frozen staples. Back home, our families used mackerel to make them from scratch. Not having seen mackerel balls in the grocery store, my favourite substitute are those made from dace. There is a lovely springy, smooth texture, and just the right amount of chewiness.
The chicken soup used in this recipe can be prepared in bulk and frozen in advance (that’s a recipe for another day). Store-bought low-sodium broth can be used as an alternative. Chicken stock base can also be used but I suggest adding in small quantities and adjusting slowly as these tend to be high in sodium.
1 carrot, chunked
1 potato, cut into medium-sized cubes
½ Napa cabbage, roughly chopped
12 fish balls (dace fish)
Handful of cilantro, chopped
2 cups chicken soup
1 tbsp soy sauce (optional)
1. Place all the ingredients except cabbage, cilantro and soy sauce into a pot and bring to boil.
2. Add cabbage and cilantro after 5 minutes. Carrots and potatoes should be softened by then.
3. Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.
4. (optional) Add soy sauce to taste.