Chinese New Year: Noodle Bowls with Ginger-Garlic Meatballs


To celebrate the Lunar New Year I made Asian-inspired noodle bowls filled with veggies, piping hot broth and tasty mini ginger-garlic meatballs.  Reminiscent of the Hot Pot, this meal incorporates several symbolic ingredients for the New Year:  long noodles for a long life; ginger and scallions for prosperity and unity;  mushrooms for good fortune; meatballs for reunion/unity; cabbage and carrots  for prosperity and luck; cashews for gold/money; onions for cleverness.  Whoa, let’s hope this soup delivers all it promises!  For more good omens in the New Year serve fruit for dessert arranged on a round platter:  apples symbolize peace and wisdom, oranges and pineapple, wealth, good fortune and gold, dried apricots, gold and wealth.  The round platter symbolizes togetherness.  Fresh fruit is the symbol of new life, new beginnings.  (

Planning ahead lets this meal come together quickly with a simple assembly of the components.  It can be adapted for a crowd.  Essentially you will need a rich  broth,  meatballs and veggies.  Everyone tops their soup with add-ins of their choosing. At the end of the post I will share ideas for setting an Asian-inspired table.



  • Servings: Makes 2 1/2 dozen
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1 lb of lean ground turkey or pork

1/4 c hemp or chia seeds( can substitute a slice of bread)

1/4 c of milk

1 egg, beaten

2 T low sodium soy sauce

1 1/2 T minced fresh garlic

1 1/2 T chopped cilantro leaves

1/2 t sesame oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

Pinch salt and pepper


1-  Soak the hemp seeds in the milk for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 F.

2-  Combine all ingredients in a bowl and form small meatballs.

3- Bake the meatballs on a parchment lined pan for 20 minutes at 375 F.  Remove to a platter with a slotted spatula to drain off any cooking liquids.

4-  May be made up to 2 days in advance of the soup.



rice noodles prepared as directed, about 4 oz per person

2 cups of chicken broth per person, piping hot

10 oz sliced mushrooms, sautéed in 1 T sesame oil + 1 T olive oil

shredded cabbage coleslaw, a handful per bowl

1 T chopped cilantro per bowl

1 T scallions, per bowl

Ginger-garlic meatballs, warmed, 6 per bowl

Toppings:  lime wedges, hot pepper flakes, soy sauce, chopped peanuts or cashews


In deep soup bowls, stoveside,  layer the cooked noodles with the  mushrooms, coleslaw, meatballs, scallions and cilantro.  Ladle with piping hot broth to cover.  The hot broth will coax the various flavors into perfect harmony. Serve the extra toppings on the table for everyone to help themselves to.



Because we were celebrating Chinese New Year I wanted to bring some Chinese ambiance to our table, eventhough this was a casual weeknight supper.   Chinese tassels, chop sticks, porcelain soup spoons,  a Chinese fan and some river rocks were gathered to inspire this tablescape.  Picking up  on the colors of the fan, I used plum serviettes as placemats.  Simple beige napkins were tied with the Chinese tassels.  Chopsticks rested on  river rocks.  Everyday cream china was chosen because of the big size of the bowls.  Chinese soup spoons were enlisted to hold the extra toppings and placed on a narrow slab of marble, they became table art.  The fan was set to the side on a small tripod.  In a Chinese enamel bowl I floated a single cream orchid with a purple center, snipped off a houseplant.  A couple more orchids were strewn casually on the table.  Luminous jade wine glasses completed this setting along with some votives. To see another Asian-themed table setting please visit this post.

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Happy Chinese New Year! May the new year be an ausipicious one for you!


(Title photo courtesy of Google Images)

30 thoughts on “Chinese New Year: Noodle Bowls with Ginger-Garlic Meatballs

  1. I truly enjoyed reading this post. 🙂 Especially as I love Asian food and soups as well. This soup looks absolutely delicious and I love that you recommended the topping possibilities. I can really imagine trying this when I have guests the next time as most of the work can be done in advance and later everyone can top the soup to his or her liking. Reminds me a bit of tacos. 🙂
    Thank you very much for sharing this with us at Fiesta Friday. 🙂

    • Hi tina! Happy FF and thank you for hosting us! I am happy you enjoyed this post. I loved making this meal and trying to honor as amny CNY traditions I could in 1 dish! It was fun to have everyone make up their own creations. Very much like a taco bar! :))

      Sent from my iPad


  2. What a great looking, and tasting I am sure, noodle bowl. I love this kind of a meal especially with those yummy meatballs. Did you see that Dragon “float”? By the way is that a real orchid? Third question – where did you find those pretty red chopsticks? Thanks for sharing Johanne and Happy Fiesta Friday 🙂

  3. Pingback: Fiesta Friday #56 | The Novice Gardener

    • I’m happy you like those spoons too and noticed them! We use them when we do risotto tastings for a party. I pour uncooked wild rice in a platter. The I fill the spoons w a different risotto and seat them in the rice so they don’t move as we butler the platter around to our guests. I’ve never regretted buying 3 dozen of them. For risotto tastings, we make 3 kinds usually and a Chinese spoonful is just the right amount for a taste!

      Sent from my iPad


  4. Pingback: Fiesta Friday #57 | The Novice Gardener

  5. What a beautiful table. I love the sound of the meatballs, I have never tried using hemp or chia seeds with them but it makes sense! The broth looks so fragrant. Happy Chinese New Year, an amazing way to start it 🙂

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