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A Season Of Soup And Friends - Bakso

One of the greatest things about this season, and this City, frankly, is the friendships and the warmth they bring, (of course, so does soup).

One of my friends, Anthony Parker, quite the foodie, shared this recipe with me a long time ago, but life gets in the way sometimes, and I had forgotten all about it. I’m sorry I didn’t make it sooner, because it’s wonderful. So, thank you, Anthony, my wonderful friend, for sharing your warmth with me so I can share it with others. I hope I see you soon.

Bakso  Soup  Indonesian Meatball Vegetable Soup



3 large boneless, skinless, chicken breasts *(or equivalent amount of beef, pork, veal, or combination)

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 inch knob of ginger, minced

1½ tsp white pepper

1 Tbl soy sauce

2 Tbl chopped cilantro

2 scallions, including greens, chopped fine

Peanut oil, to keep meatballs from sticking to hands


4-6 cups simmering water, or **stock (beef, vegetable or chicken)

3 diagonally thinly sliced carrots, 3 inch slices

4 baby bok choy, roughly chopped in large pieces

6 diagonally sliced scallions, including greens, about 1 ½ to 2 inch slices

2 celery ribs, diagonally sliced, 1 ½ to 2 inch slices

4 Tbl chopped cilantro

4 tsp thinly shaved ginger matchsticks, 1 ¾ to 2 inch slices

Sambal (hot chili garlic paste) to taste


* I chose to go with the non-chicken option but bought too much meat as you can see by the mountain of meatballs below. I think 1.5 pounds would work but I bought 2.5 :)

**Don’t use water - this needs a good, flavorful stock, homemade if possible. I used beef.

Fill a large saucepan with the broth and bring to a hard simmer.

Place all meatball ingredients in a food processor.  Grind to a paste.  This is important - grind everything together instead of just rolling it together to get the right consistency,

Using very lightly oiled hands, form paste into balls approximately 1 ½ to 2 inches in diameter.

Drop meatballs into the simmering water as you make them.  They will sink to the bottom; when they are done they will rise to the surface.   Keep the broth at a hard simmer.  The cooking meatballs will flavor the broth.

  Prepare four soup bowls by placing 1 Tbl (more or less to taste) of Sambal in each bowl. You can use Sriracha if you like, but I recommend trying some Sambal - get it on Amazon or any of the Asian markets nearby.

Combine all the vegetables and divide them into four equal servings.

When all the meatballs are cooked through, place a serving of the vegetables in a strainer over the broth.  With a ladle pour hot broth over them until just wilted.  Put the vegetables into a soup bowl.  When all four bowls are filled, ladle meatballs and broth into each bowl.

Serve hot.

Suggested additions below. I added eggs and rice noodles.

Halved boiled eggs

Noodles cooked in the broth

Any chopped Asian leafy vegetable

Lemon grass

Share with a friend and feel all warm and cozy. Especially if you add a lot of Sambal.

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