Lion Head Meatballs

TOTAL TIME: 50 min
Prep: 30 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 20 min
 
YIELD: 12 servings
LEVEL: Easy

ingredients

  • Meatballs
  • 1 pound 2 ounces ground beef
  • 2 ounces Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Pinch freshly cracked white pepper
    • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, blended with 2 tablespoons cold water, optional
    • Sea salt and freshly cracked white pepper
    • 2 large spring onions (green), sliced
    • Basic Glutinous Rice, recipe follows, for service, optional
    • Basic Glutinous Rice
    • 11 ounces glutinous rice, rinsed
    • 18 ounces water
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    Directions

    This dish was said to be an imperial dish that the emperor ate. It is called Lion Head meatballs because, once cooked, the meatballs are surrounded by Chinese cabbage, and the meatball is said to resemble the head of the lion, while the long pieces of cabbage resemble the 'mane' of the lion.

    My mother can be quite superstitious and when she cooked this dish when I was younger she told us that we would be as strong as lions if we ate it. It worked. This is something I plan to cook and share if I have children one day.

    Serve with steamed rice, as the rice helps to soak up the juices of the broth.
    For the meatballs:
    Put the ground beef, rice wine, garlic, spring onions, egg, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch, salt, and white pepper into a large bowl to combine, stirring in the same direction.

    Using wet hands, scoop a large mound of the ground meat mixture, and mold it into a ball. The size should be a little larger than a golf ball. Transfer the meatball to a plate and repeat with the remaining mixture.

    For the assembly:

    Pour the groundnut oil into a large deep pan, and heat over a high heat. Using a metal ladle, carefully lower each meatball into the oil, and spoon some of the oil over the meatballs. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until browned.

    Pour all but 2 tablespoons of oil into a heat-proof bowl. Add the vegetable stock to the pan. Arrange the quarters of Chinese cabbage around the meatballs, curving them lengthwise around the sides of the pan, then add the mushrooms, and soy sauce. Bring everything to a boil. Cover the pan, reduce its heat, and cook gently for 15 minutes. Add the blended cornstarch slurry, if using, and stir until the sauce thickens.

    Remove the pan from the heat, and season with salt, and white pepper, to taste, and sprinkle over the spring onion slices. Transfer the dish to a warm serving platter, and serve immediately. Cook's Note: Steamed or glutinous rice is a perfect accompaniment to this dish.
    Heat a pan, add the rice and water, cover, and cook over high heat for 15 minutes.

    Reduce the heat to very low, and cook for an additional 3 minutes, making sure all the water has evaporated. Remove from the heat and, using a spatula, fluff the rice. It is now ready to serve.

    SERVINGS: 16 (appetizer)
    Calories: 285
    Total Fat: 14 grams
    Saturated Fat: 3 grams
    Protein: 12 grams
    Total carbohydrates: 26 grams
    Sugar: 2 grams
    Fiber: 2 grams
    Cholesterol: 45 milligrams
    Sodium: 408 milligrams

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    5

    Newest Ratings and Reviews

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    • on April 15, 2013

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      I LOVE all of Ching's recipes and have watched all of her programs. I really enjoyed the episode where she was surprised by her family coming for a visit. Concerning this recipe, for all of you wondering . . . 2 ounces Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry is roughly 1/4 cup. For some reason, due to federal laws and such, it is almost impossible to find Shaohsing rice wine here in Arkansas. So I use a good sherry. And don't use the "cooking sherry" found in the supermarkets. Rather, go to your favorite liquor store and buy a good quality sherry. I always get Taylor's Sherry. It's inexpensive yet of a high quality, especially to cook with. I've never been disappointed. Keep up the great work, Ching, and Xin Nian Kuai Le!!!

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    • on March 11, 2013

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      We had this for dinner tonight and it was wonderful! I cooked the meatballs ahead and froze them in the poaching liquid. All I had to do was thaw/reheat and add the napa cabbage. The meatballs were incredibly tender and moist. I served it with jasmine rice instead of sticky rice. It's a beautiful dinner to present to family and friends. This one is a keeper.

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    • on February 25, 2012

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      This dish was delicious. My meatballs were too soft, so I added a little more cornstarch before cooking them, and they turned out well.

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