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This recipe welcomes experiment when it comes to spices.

Chinese chefs grind far more pork than any other meat for various dumplings, savory cakes, meatballs and stuffed vegetables, and the meatballs bound with rice, egg, and watercress for this spicy Cantonese soup have to be some of the most delectable ever conceived.

Experiment with any number of spices to season the broth, if you like, and note that the ground meat of chicken legs makes just as good meatballs as the pork. Ground pork, chicken and even turkey can be found packaged in many grocery stores, but if they don’t look impeccably fresh, I buy parts and grind them myself.