The first documentation of Jewish community life in China can be found about 1000 years ago in the city of Kaifeng, one of the capitals of ancient China. The city is located in Henan Province and sits on the Yellow River, and there Jewish merchants settled in the 11th century AD, in this commercial center that was one of the ends of the Chinese Silk Road and was even considered the largest city in the world at the time. Over the years, few remnants of the ancient community in Kaifeng remained in China, although even today small traces can be found.
This recipe combines fish balls from this culinary community together with a Chinese spice chicken soup. Gefilte fish kneidlach in chicken soup in Chinese clothes, if you like.
Ingredients for Jewish-Chinese Fish Patty Soup
For the patties:
- 1.1 lbs (500 grams) fish fillet ground (carp, cod or any white-fleshed fish)
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons ginger grated
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 garlic cloves crushed
- 2 tablespoons coriander powder (optional)
For the chicken stock:
- 4 chicken thighs
- 2 carrots peeled and cut in half lenthwise
- 1 leek head Cut crosswise into rings
- 1 onion
- 1 piece ginger large, cut lengthwise into 3-4 segments
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 star anise
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- fish sauce to taste
- dried chili pepper flakes (optional)
- cilantro chopped
- Wheat noodles or rice cooked according to manufacturer's instructions
Prepare the Fish Patties:
1. Mix all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Cover in plastic food wrap and cool in the fridge for an hour.
2. Pour water into a pot and bring to a boil. While the water is heating, form the fish mixture into small balls with slightly damp hands. Add the balls to the boiling water, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the balls from the water and set aside.
Prepare the Soup:
3. Arrange the chicken thighs in a large pot and pour water up to 3/4 of the height of the pot. Bring to a boil while skimming the resulting foam.
4. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Cover and cook for an hour at least - preferably two hours.
Strain and Serve:
5. Discard the star anise and the bay leaf. Bring back to a slight boil and add the fish balls and noodles.
6. Serve garnished with fish sauce, crushed chili pepper, and chopped coriander.
In addition, at the end of the 19th century, extensive Jewish communities were founded in the port cities of the country, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Along with the famous Sassoon family of bankers and merchants – “the Rothschild family of the East” – thousands of immigrants of Russian origin also assimilated into these communities during the 20th century, including the family of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as well as Eli Marom, a former Navy commander.