He Jia Tuan Yuan (Tofu Ball Soup for Lunar Chinese New Year)
Place the tofu into a large bowl, and mash it into a paste with a large spoon. Stir in the pork, cornstarch, egg, 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules, and 1 teaspoon salt until the mixture is very well combined.Advertisement
Heat the water and vegetable oil to a boil in a large saucepan, and reduce heat to an active simmer but not a full boil. Using gloved hands, pinch off about 1 tablespoon of the tofu mixture, roll it into a ball between your palms, and slide it carefully into the water so it doesn't break apart. Repeat with the rest of the tofu mixture. Without stirring the soup, let the tofu balls simmer until they rise to the top, about 30 minutes.
Turn off the heat, and stir in the dried shrimp, pea vine shoots, 1 teaspoon of chicken bouillon granules, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Serve hot.
You may substitute some of the water with chicken stock.
Snow pea shoots have a unique aroma, and they make the soup taste refreshing.
Good choices for substitutions for snow pea shoots: watercress (highly recommended substitution), cilantro, Taiwan lettuce, spinach.
To make good tofu balls, the tofu to meat ratio should be 2:1 (If you are meat lover, you can use a 1:1 ratio). The tofu and cornstarch ratio should be 6:1.