Before you pick up the phone to order a takeaway, try this instead – I'm sure you won't be disappointed. It works well as a broth without meat balls too, for those who are vegetarian.
2 ¾ –3 ½ oz/80–100g fresh ginger
6 star anise
1 lemongrass stalk (optional)
8 ½ cups/2 liters weak hot chicken or vegetable stock
1lb 1 oz /500g pork mince
1 cup /50g gluten-free breadcrumbs
1/3 oz/10g coconut oil
7 oz /200g rice noodles
1 tablespoon tamari sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 red pepper (bell pepper), about 5oz/140g deseeded and thinly sliced
7 oz/200g carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
7 oz/200g fennel, thinly sliced
8oz/225g pak choi (bok choy) or cabbage, sliced
Handful of coriander (cilantro), chopped
Himalayan salt and ground black pepper
Spring onions (scallions), chopped
Red chili, chopped
Peel the ginger and grate the flesh (reserve for the pork balls) then add the ginger skin, star anise and lemongrass stalk, if using, to the hot stock. Leave to stand for 30 minutes or longer so it absorbs all the flavors of the spices.
Mix the pork mince, grated ginger and breadcrumbs together with some salt and pepper then, using your hands, form the mixture into about 40 balls. Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan, add the pork balls and cook for 8–10 minutes, turning so they brown evenly all over. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, strain the stock to remove the spices, then pour it back into the saucepan and bring to the boil. In a separate pan, cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet, then drain. Add the tamari, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and all the vegetables to the boiling stock and, when it starts to gently bubble again, add the pork balls and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the coriander (cilantro).
If you have space in the pan, add the drained noodles and stir, otherwise place the noodles in serving bowls and ladle over the pork balls, vegetables and stock. Serve with chopped spring onions (scallions), chili and sesame oil sprinkled over the top.Coconut Oil: Recipes for Real Life by Lucy Bee (Quadrille, £15) Photography by Dan Jones