This is, apparently, a common dish in Northern China, especially in winter, when a vegetable similar to bok choi is the staple. Try to match the broth to the type of meat–chicken broth for chicken, turkey, or pork; beef broth for beef or lamb. Or use vegetable broth. Of course, use any other greens, just adjust the cooking times if necessary. The meatball ingredients are suggestions. I think tempeh, seitan, or extra firm tofu would also work here.

For serving, you can just distribute the meatballs and bok choi in bowls and pour the broth over, thus making a kind of soup meal; or you can put some cooked grain or noodles in the bowl first–still soupy but more substantial as a meal. I like the simplicity of the first option. I tried it with some cooked rice but felt the rice dampened the flavors of the dish. Your call.

1 lb ground meat
1 egg
3 T soy sauce, divided
1/2 t dark sesame oil
pepper, to taste
2 – 3 T flour
2 T sesame or other vegetable oil
2 c broth
1 medium head bok choi, separated, stem and leaf left whole, or coarsely chopped

1. Combine ground meat, egg, 1 T soy sauce, dark sesame oil, pepper and 2 T of the flour.  The mixture should be firm and fairly dry. If not, add another T of flour. Shape into 4 large meatballs or several smaller ones. Flatten them a bit.

2. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot. Add the meatballs and cook until the bottom is browned, about 4 minutes or so. Flip over and cook another 4 minutes.

3. Combine the broth with the remaining 2 T of soy sauce. Carefully pour the broth around the meatballs. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Uncover and add the bok choi. Don’t try to stir them in. Recover and simmer another 10 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through and the choi is tender.

4. Serve, as per headnotes. (You can also remove the meatballs and choi from the broth, add some flour or cornstarch, bring to a boil, and thicken it–so many options!)