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Cambodian Spiced Pork Ball Soup

(Khao Poun)

A sloppy soup to eat, but fun and savory. Those crazy cellophane noodles slip all over the place, no matter what you try--the best strategy is a combination of spoon, chopsticks, and picking up the bowl and drinking it. Serve hot to 4-6 people as a first course.

Garnish: 2 Tablespoons green onions, minced

Boil the stock in a large saucepan and stir in the soaked and cut cellophane noodles. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together the minced ham, pork, and water chestnuts with the cornstarch and soy sauce.

Shape the meat into little balls and drop into the soup. Continue cooking over moderate heat for another 15 minutes. Taste. If the broth is too concentrated, dilute with a little water.

When ready to serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with scallions. Arm your guests with any tools they ask for and promise not to laugh as they slurp away.