Here's the low-down on making a proper Gong Wan:
1. Keep the pork really, really cold at all times (in fact, it's best to partially freeze the ground pork before blending it in the food processor).
2. Adding a little iced water to the ground pork while processing loosens the mixture and gives it a better consistency.
3. Nevah evah use LEAN ground pork. Fatty is good in this case.
4. You must NOT boil the pork balls. A low simmer helps them to achieve their bouncy texture. You should only bring them to a boil during the last 10-15 seconds of cooking.
2 lbs. ground pork (do not use lean), placed into two Ziploc-type bags, flattened, and frozen for 30 minutes to 1 hour before using
6 dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated in hot water, stemmed and finely chopped
1 tsp. white pepper
1 tbsp. rice wine
1 tbsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. cornstarch or tapioca starch
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 scallion, minced
2 tsp. minced or grated ginger
1 tbsp. minced celery
1/2 tsp. Hondashi (bonito fish powder), optional
1 egg white
1. Remove the two Ziploc bags with the partially frozen ground pork from the freezer. Break up the pork from one of the bags into pieces and place into the bowl of a food processor. Process/pulse for a few seconds and add a few teaspoons of ice cold water to the mix to loosen it up. Continue blending/pulsing for up to one minute or until the mixture is very smooth and pasty. Remove to a bowl and process the second batch the same way.
2. Place the pork paste into the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Add the remaining ingredients then turn on the mixer to medium speed (#4 on my KitchenAid) for 20 minutes, scraping down occasionally.
3. Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or even overnight.
4. In the meantime, make the soup base:
8 cups water
3 scallions, minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/4 cup fried shallots (or 2 tbsp. fried shallot oil)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. chicken base powder
1 1/2 cups finely diced celery (about 3 stalks)
1. Combine all the soup ingredients (except for the celery) together in a medium pan; bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
2. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. In the meantime,
Cook the Pork Balls:
1. Take the pork paste mixture out of the frig. Using 2 spoons, scoop out a tablespoon of the pork paste and shape into a rough ball. Drop into the barely simmering broth. Continue doing the same with the remaining pork paste (you may have to do this in two batches). Once the pork balls float up to the top, simmer for about 30-60 seconds, then bring up to a boil and cook another 10-15 seconds. Remove one of the pork balls from the soup and cut in half - if the inside is no longer pink, then it's done. Remove the remaining pork balls with a slotted spoon to a bowl or plate and set aside.
Assemble the Soup:
1. Bring the soup up to a boil and add the diced celery. Cook for 10-15 seconds, then turn off the heat.
2. Place a few of the pork balls into each serving bowl and ladle in some of the soup.
3. Serve piping hot.
for 20 minutes, scraping down occasionally.
Once the pork balls float up to the top, continue simmering for 30-60 seconds.
Bring up to a boil and cook another 15-20 seconds. To test for doneness, remove one of the pork balls and cut in half. If the center is not pink, then it's done. Remove the pork balls from the broth with a slotted spoon to a plate or bowl and set aside.