Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chinese Lion's Head Meatball

Chinese Lion's Head Meatball is one of my favorite dishes. My grandma would make this for me every time she saw me since she knew that I loved it that much. Funny that I've made Italian meatballs but not the Chinese kind until now. It is just making meatballs with asian seasonings.

Traditionally, these meatballs are supposed to be as big as possible like a lion's head; however, I like to make them smaller since cooking time is shorter for browning them.

Chinese Lion's Head Meatball (Soup)
Prep Time: 20 min     Cook Time: 
1 lb ground pork
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 green onions
2 tsp ginger (minced)
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp cooking wine
1 egg
sesame oil (or peanut oil)

In a mixing bowl, put the ground meat in. Add salt, white pepper, sugar, cornstarch, cooking wine, soy sauce, green onions, ginger, and 1 beaten egg. Mix in a circular motion until all of the ingredients are incorporated. Wet your hands, then form the meatballs into the desired size. Traditionally, the lion's heads are to be as big as you can get it. However, it will take more time to cook if your meatballs are too big. I like to keep it to roughly 1.5 - 2 inches in diameter. 

In a pan, pour a couple teaspoons of sesame oil (usually it's peanut oil, but I don't have it on hand). Place the meatballs in the pan after you heat the oil. Brown the meatballs on all sides which takes about 10 minutes. You do not have to fully cook the meatballs since you will be braising it with the napa cabbage later.

To make the soup:

Put two cans of chicken broth in a big pot. Add as much napa cabbage as you like. I put in a whole small head of napa cabbage. Place the meatballs on top of the napa cabbage. If you would like, you can add other things. I cut some bamboo shoot to throw in along with some ginger to for the soup also. You can put mushrooms, etc. Braise on medium heat for about half an hour.

If you would like glass noodles, soak the clear noodles in a bowl with water for half an hour. Drain the noodles. Add them last when you are about done cooking.

I used lean ground pork. For a more authentic Chinese Lion's Head Meatball, use fattier meat.