- First prepare the meatballs. Place the rice in a saucepan and pour in plenty of water to cover, then bring to the boil. Boil for 1 minute, then drain the rice in a sieve and leave to cool.
- Mix the pork with the ginger, spring onions, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, five-spice powder and chilli powder. Strip the green leaves of the pak choy off the thick white stalks. Finely chop the leaves and add them to the pork. Reserve the stalks for the broth. Pound the mixture with a spoon until thoroughly combined.
- Turn the drained rice into a large shallow bowl and separate the grains with a fork. Rinse your hands, then take a small lump of pork mixture, squeeze it together and roll it into a small ball about the size of a walnut. Roll the meatball in the rice, pressing it into the grains to coat it thickly. Press the rice firmly onto the meatball and set aside on a plate or dish. Shape the remaining pork mixture to make about 20 rice meatballs.
- Cover the bottom of a steamer rack with a single layer of red chard, leaving gaps between the leaves. (If using stacking bamboo steamer baskets, you will need 2.) Add the meatballs in one layer, leaving space between them for the rice to swell. Bring the stock and ginger to the boil in the steamer base. Set the steamer on top and cover. Steam the meatballs for 35 minutes.
- While the meatballs are cooking, cut the stalks of the pak choy across into 1 cm (½ in) pieces. Remove the steamer from the pan and set it aside on a plate. Add the sherry, soy sauce, baby corn, shiitake mushrooms, mange-tout, remaining red chard leaves, bamboo shoots and spring onions to the stock. Bring back to the boil, then replace the steamer rack and steam for a further 5 minutes.
- Carefully transfer the rice and pork balls to a warm serving bowl. Add the chard leaves from the steamer to the broth. Taste the broth and add more soy sauce, if liked, then transfer it to a warm tureen. To serve, ladle some broth and vegetables into 4 warm bowls and add a few rice and pork meatballs to each. Ladle in more broth and add meatballs during the meal as required.
Instead of steaming the rice and pork balls they can be poached gently in the stock for 20 minutes, then the vegetables can be added and the broth finished as in the main recipe. The rice tends to make the broth slightly cloudy, but the result tastes just as delicious.
Shiitake mushrooms contain lentinan, which is believed to help strengthen the immune system. These tasty mushrooms are also thought to help protect against cancer. * Pork is a good source of vitamin B1 and a useful source of several of the other B vitamins. * Green leafy vegetables are good sources of vitamin C, folate and beta-carotene.
Each serving provides
A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, folate, niacin, potassium