|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 33g||42%|
|Saturated Fat 10g||49%|
|Total Carbohydrate 10g||4%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||5%|
|Total Sugars 3g|
|Vitamin C 32mg||159%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Shanghai lion's head meatballs are traditionally braised in a sand clay pot, but this version may be cooked in a Dutch oven or deep sauté pan. The name comes from the dish's appearance. The large meatballs represent the lion's head and the greens—typically bok choy or napa cabbage—represent the mane. The meatballs are subtly flavored with a bit of soy sauce, wine, green onion, and ginger. Lightly browning the meatballs adds to their flavor and color, and the broth is served with the meatballs and greens.
The big, baseball-sized meatballs are traditional, but you may shape the pork mixture into 6 to 8 smaller meatballs if you wish.
Serve lion's head meatballs with the tender braised greens and cooking broth along with hot steamed rice or noodles.
"I used napa cabbage in the recipe and the dish was super easy and delicious. The meatball mixture was fairly wet, so I added between 3 and 4 tablespoons of cornstarch. The texture of the meatballs was excellent." —Diana Rattray
1 pound bok choy, napa cabbage, or spinach leaves
1 to 2 medium green onions (spring onions, scallions), minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 large egg
1 pound ground pork
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons dry sherry, or Shaoxing wine
3 tablespoons light soy sauce, divided
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Freshly ground black pepper, or white pepper, to taste, optional
2 to 3 tablespoons cornstarch, or flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
Steps to Make It
Wash and drain the bok choy or other greens. Cut crosswise into 3-inch strips.
Mince the ginger and green onion.
In a small bowl, beat the egg with a fork.
In a medium bowl, combine the ground pork with the green onion, ginger, salt, sugar, dry sherry, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper if using, and the egg, using your fingers to mix together the ingredients thoroughly.
Add as much cornstarch as needed to make so that the mixture is not too wet, start with 3 tablespoons and then add 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
Form the ground pork into 4 large meatballs. Flatten them a bit so that they are not completely round.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
When the oil is hot, add the 4 meatballs. Cook for 5 minutes until browned on the bottom. Turn and cook the other side (adjust the heat if the meatballs are cooking too quickly).
In a flameproof casserole dish or saucepan that is large enough to hold the meatballs, heat the chicken broth and 2 tablespoons soy sauce to boiling.
Add the meatballs, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
Add the bok choy to the pot, either arranging on top of the meatballs so that it steams, or placing directly in broth if there is room.
Simmer for another 15 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through and there is no pinkness in the middle.
To serve Lion's head meatballs, serve each meatball on a small plate surrounded by the greens, or in soup bowls with some of the bok choy and broth. You can also thicken some of the broth with a cornstarch and water thickener and pour over the meatballs.
- When you remove the ground pork packaging, pat the meat lightly with paper towels to remove excess moisture.
- To keep the pork mixture from sticking to your hands when shaping the meatballs, wet your hands with water.
- For extra texture mince 6 to 8 water chestnuts and add them to the pork meatball mixture.
- Shaoxing rice wine may be used instead of dry sherry.
How to Store and Freeze
- Transfer leftover meatballs to an airtight container within 2 hours and refrigerate for three to four days.
- The meatballs may be frozen for longer storage. Put in an airtight container or zip-close freezer bag and freeze for up to three months.